Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hiking Catherine Pass, Alta Utah

This week I am going to take you on a popular Wasatch Front trail.  If you live in Utah along the Wasatch front there is a fair chance you have already taken this beautiful trail.
If not, you might want to add it to your list of ones to do.



The unique part of this hike, it is accessible from both Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyons.
So if your a resident of Salt Lake County, you can be at this trail head from most places in less than 20 minutes.


If coming from Big Cottonwood, you'll locate the trail head up near the Brighton Ski Resort.  If coming from Little Cottonwood, you will locate the trail along the Albion Basin dirt road.


For this posts purpose, I will note I took the Little Cottonwood Canyon trail head.
Also, should note I took the trail toward the end of July when the Wild Flower Festival was going on, so depending on the time of year you visit it may or may not look a little different to you.


If you are hiking this in the summer or around a holiday.  Parking will be hard to find.  You can park and ride a shuttle run by Alta that comes by every 20 minutes and stops at the hikes and campground for anyone who would like to take it.  There is an information station if you need more information on this.


The trail starts off as a gradual hill as you start ascending the mountain.  To be honest, even though this trail does start climbing and is mostly all uphill on the way up.  I would still categorize it as fairly easy or at the low end of moderate.


Even kid friendly as there are no major drop offs.



You'll pass through small meadows and forests as you make the climb.


Just before what I would call the final climb, you will come across a larger meadow area.  Which if you are interested in backpacking in for a night of camping, I would imagine this to be a great spot and perfect for star gazing.

Ya that's me on the rock, being a fun dork:)
The final climb takes you up on top of the pass.  Where you will have a great view of Lake Catherine down below.


You do have a few options, you can hike up to sunset peak which is a short distance from here.  Or you can continue on down to Brighton passing a few other lakes (Mary, Margret) along the way.



You can also hike down to the lake, which I was told is stocked with trout.
You're also welcome to backpack in and camp in any of these area's as long as you follow the back country camping rules which are posted at the trail heads.



As you can see this is a beautiful hike, that is only a short distance from the Salt Lake Valley below it.  Well worth an hour or two out of your day to visit.


If you're hiking in the summer, it's well worth the visit just to see all the wildflowers in bloom!

OTHER TIPS
* There are bathrooms at the trail head, but you will need to bring your own water.
* Bring bug repellent, or wear a bug band as the mosquito's and biting flies can come out at times.
* Weekday's are far less crowded, weekends expect to rarely find time alone on the trail.
* Watch for deer and moose, they can be seen often in these area's.
* Definitely bring a camera!
* You are higher in elevation, 9,000+ feet.
* Great trails for trail running!  Perfect for working the legs and lungs!


Have you hiked in the Wasatch mountains before?  

22 comments :

  1. These pictures remind me of Breckenridge. We did cheat one day and took the chair lift up the mountain.

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    1. That's not cheating, thats just seeing it all from a different perspective:)

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  2. Wow- this looks absolutely beautiful! I just got back from a hiking trip out west, and this post made me want to go back asap and keep hiking!

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    1. Don't you just love hiking, so many beautiful places to see. I love it all!

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  3. Beautiful pics!! Looks like another great hike!

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  4. This really is beautiful! Nice that they offer a shuttle!

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    1. Ya it is, especially in the summer when it's so crowded and hard to find parking!

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  5. These pictures are gorgeous! I'd love to do this hike someday. I hike in Asheville, but none of our mountains are that tall.

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    1. Thanks! If you ever visit Utah, you definitely have your pick of lots of beautiful hiking! I have been to NC before, but ya it's a very different type of mountains out west vs back east:) But you still have some very beautiful area's too:)

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  6. These pictures are gorgeous! I'd love to do this hike someday. I hike in Asheville, but none of our mountains are that tall.

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  7. Oh my, the VIEWS! SO pretty :) I love how some sections of the trail look so smooth. Hiking elevation like that is on of my true loves, but I rarely get to do it.
    Stargazing in areas like that is always so amazing! You can see things so much clearer :)

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    1. I agree stargazing in places like this at night can be amazing!

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  8. oh.em.gee.

    Yeah, I really need to check this place out! SO MANY PRETTY COLORS! *-* <3 Those photos are gorgeous!!

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    1. Thanks! When you get done with Med school, you definitely should plan a little vaca to Utah:)

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  9. I think I would definitely need to go when the wildflowers are blooming. So pretty. Stunning views.

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  10. What beautiful flowers in the meadow! I've heard of the Wasatch Mountains but have never visited that area of the country. Looks like a beautiful place to hike or run!

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  11. What beautiful pictures! I loved hiking in Utah when I lived in Provo. Fall is definitely my favorite season there - the colors are gorgeous!!

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