Hiking

With over 13 miles of Forest Service trails, there are plenty of trails to distance yourself from others.

The Summer Road is now closed for the season. Thanks for a great summer.

Wildcat Base Trail Closures >

Summer Hiking at alta

Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty and serenity of Alta in the summer. Little Cottonwood Canyon is famous for its snow, so be patient and wait for the slopes and trails to melt. Once the snow melts, Alta is a beautiful place to explore alpine lakes, rugged mountain peaks and midsummer wildflowers painting every valley in between.

With over 13 miles of Forest Service trails, there are plenty of trails to distance yourself from others. Generally speaking, lower elevation trails and trails on the north side of Highway 210 will be the first to melt out and become hikeable.

We are all stewards of these lands and it is each hiker's responsibility to stay on designated trails, leave the flowers for the bees and leave behind only footsteps.

Please refer to Summer Trail Map for trailhead parking locations and trail descriptions >

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a protected watershed—providing up to 14% of Salt Lake City's drinking water. Although most of the land in Alta is public land and part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, many parcels of private land exist within the National Forest. Please respect the rights of private landowners and stay on designated roads and trails. Note that the use of motorized vehicles on trails is prohibited.

As you hike, please consider the following:

  • Stay on designated trails and roads - Cutting switchbacks leads to erosion and loss of wildflowers
  • Leave no trace - carry out everything that you bring in
  • Refrain from picking wildflowers or damaging plant life
  • Do not disturb the wildlife - for your own safety and the safety of others
  • Respect the watershed - no swimming or wading in Alta's alpine lakes
  • Dogs are not allowed in Little Cottonwood Canyon - not even in your vehicle

Please respect closed trail signs and do not pick or trample the wildflowers.

Hiking to Cecret Lake and Catherine's Pass via the Summer Road

Since 1938, Alta Ski Area has been a steward of Little Cottonwood Canyon, working to revegetate the mountains left barren from late-19th and early-20th century miners. Alta works to balance year-round recreation in the mountains. In order to balance the number of visitors to Cecret Lake and the Albion Basin, Alta charges a fee for use of the Summer Road that accesses the Cecret Lake and Catherine’s Pass trailheads. The fee this summer is $10 per vehicle.

Cecret Lake at sunset | Photo: Rocko Menzyk

Cecret Lake, Catherine’s Pass, Supreme Point and the Devil’s Castle Loop are some of the more popular hikes originating from the Cecret Lake and Catherine’s Pass Trailheads.

Parking at the Albion and Wildcat base areas is always free. Follow the Summer Road 1.6 miles to Access to the Catherine’s Pass Trailhead. Access the Cecret Lake Trailhead following 1.4 miles on the Upper Albion Meadows Trail.

Hiking from the Albion base area

The Albion Basin is a beautiful place to explore once the snow melts. Home to wildflowers and wildlife, there are plenty of great trails for beginning and advanced hikers.

Hiking in the Albion Basin | Photo: John Howland

The Upper Albion Meadows Trail connects to the Cecret Lake and Catherine’s Pass trailheads are perfect for intermediate hikers. While more experienced hikers will enjoy the East Greeley/Backside hike.

Hiking from the Wildcat base area

Hiking access from the Albion base area is the best bet for families this summer and those new to hiking at elevation. The Collins Gulch trail is for advanced hikers looking to gain 2,000 feet of elevation over 2.6 miles. The Collins Gulch is one of the last trails to melt, often home to skiers seeking out summer turns well into July.

Hiking access from the Albion base area is the best bet for families this summer and those new to hiking at elevation. The Collins Gulch trail is for advanced hikers looking to gain 2,000 feet of elevation over 2.6 miles. The Collins Gulch is one of the last trails to melt, often home to skiers seeking out summer turns well into July.

Town of Alta trails

Averaging 540” of snow each ski season, it takes a little while for the snow to melt and trails to dry. South-facing trails on the north side of the Town of Alta are some of the first to melt each spring. These make for some sunny hiking trails through aspen trees.

The Grizzly Gulch/Twin Lakes Pass trail is a great hike to enjoy views of Alta Ski Area on the way to the ridgeline dividing Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Keep an eye out for historic remnants of Alta’s mining history.

The trail to Cardiff Pass (and on to the top of Superior) is perfect for experienced hikers.

View the Summer Map with Trail Descriptions

Additional Hiking resources