This is a great little day hike if you want to catch an amazing view of the Wasatch Range, but you don’t want to hike all day to get there. The reason it is a fairly short hike, but still provides majestic views is because you have to drive all the way up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta ski resort to get to the trailhead. This drive knocks of a huge chunk of distance and elevation needed to get to the top of this mountain.
Once you arrive at Alta Ski Resort, you are going to continue driving east through a gate, up a dirt road, and around a few bends. You will then come to a parking lot with a restroom on the right. We parked here because at the actual trailhead parking (about a half mile up the dirt road) the lot was full and the campground charged $10 for parking.
So our hike began with us walking up the dirt road to the actual trail head. Once on the actual trail, wildflower lined the entire hike to Cecret Lake. The trail is popular and was wide. We saw a lot of people on the section of the hike to Cecret Lake, which was only about a mile I think. It took us 30 minutes following the large trail.
Despite the large amount of people, the lake was beautiful! We sat and tried to catch salamanders for a bit before we went around the East side of the lake and headed South up some scree and a small cliff/rock ledge. We continued South and upward and the trail eventually presented itself to us.
It took us up some switchbacks on loose scree and a steep incline until we came to a ridge line. The ridge was wide and grassy and would be one of the coolest camping spots in the Wasatch I think. On this grassy ridge you can see mountains to the North, South and East.
We moved on Westward, up the ridge line that narrowed and became rocky. There was a bit of scrambling, but nothing difficult or exposed. Before we knew it, we were at the top. From here you could see Mt Timp and Box Elder Peak to the North. To the East you could see Devils’ Castle, Twin Peaks and in the distance you could make out Kings Peak and the High Uinta Range. To the North you could see layers of mountains and I couldn’t make out what peak was what, but it was awesome!
The sun began to set, and we began our hike back down. We saw a few deer on the way back and a few more hikers and mountain bikers. It was nearly dark when we got back. The hike took us about 2 hours total and would be great for young hikers and new mountaineers that may want to see what it feels like to have a 360 view from the top of a mountain, but doesn’t have the stamina or comfort level to do something more exposed or difficult.
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