The three Brighton Lakes are Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine. Of course there are really other lakes at Brighton, like Silver Lake, Lake Solitude, Twin Lakes and Dog Lake, but this hike is to the first three I mentioned. If you want to do a loop of even more lakes and peaks, click here.
You begin at the top of the Brighton Loop next to the Lodge and head up the gravel path. Shortly after it turns into a dirt path that switches back and forth under the ski lifts.
It is moderate, but there isn’t much shade, so plan accordingly. This is the hardest part of the whole hike, so don’t get discouraged.
Near the end, after you get more into the pines the trail heads off to the right. You will see a sign that shows the tiny detour to Dog Lake. It is more of a pond, but since it doesn’t add much time, it’s still worth a stop if you have time.
Return back to the path and continue up to Lake Mary, the real show-stopper! If you are here in June-September, you will probably see wildflowers along the path.
Don’t forget to look behind you for views too!
Sometimes that last section walking up has a bit of water along the trail, but nothing you can’t step over.
Soon you will get to picturesque Lake Mary. It is big and beautiful! It looks a little different each time depending on the sky.
When you get to Lake Mary, you are halfway to the top of the trail. To get up to Lake Martha, you will need to follow the trail on the close side of the lake. There is one part that you have to kind of climb up the rocks, but it is super short and most kids could do it with help. As you get above Lake Mary, you can look back and still see it.
Often there is snow between Lakes Mary and Martha even when it has melted most other places, so be prepared, especially if it’s before the 4th of July. The trail here is a little bit hard to follow. It looks like there are two trails, one that veers off to the right between the lakes and one that goes mostly straight. Take the straight one. Lake Martha is much smaller than Lake Mary. It looks more like a pond, but it’s still a great place. It looks prettier when you look down on it from above.
The trail gets a little steeper for this last section, so if you have tired kids you might save it for another time, but it’s not too much farther to head up to Lake Catherine. The trail heads up the hill and then switches back and then heads again up to get to Lake Catherine. Once I saw a few deer on this section and often see squirrels or chipmunks.
You can also look over to the left after the switchback and see Dog Lake.
Last time we hiked it we saw marmots.
Continue up the path.
Lake Catherine is a beautiful lake, even though it’s a smaller lake too.
Be sure to walk around the lake for some amazing views!
Sunset Peak will add less than a half mile to summit that as well or you can head off to the right and summit Mt. Tuscarora or Mt. Wolverine, which are also short and moderate difficulty detours. From Mt. Wolverine you can see the lakes and also Twin Lakes.
Distance – 4.4 miles there and back
Approximate hiking time – 2-3 hours
Elevation gain – 1243 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks,
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – June-October
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – None