Sugarloaf Mountain |

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain - Little Cottonwood Canyon Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain
Little Cottonwood Canyon

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Moderate Hike
MAPS: BRIGHTON, UT; DROMEDARY PEAK, UT

Thu

34 | 10

Fri

37 | 21

Sat

38 | 21

Sun

40 | 22

Mon

42 | 23

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Summer, Fall
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: Bring All You Need

Thu

34 | 10

Fri

37 | 21

Sat

38 | 21

Sun

40 | 22

Mon

42 | 23

View Full Weather Details
Sugarloaf (right) and Devils Castle (left) on the approach

Sugarloaf (right) and Devils Castle (left) on the approach

Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the easiest of the Wasatch 11.000’ peaks, and a great introduction to peak bagging in the Wasatch Mountains. The lofty summit has big views of the surrounding ridges and peaks, while the hike up passes the ever stunning Cecret (Secret) Lake. Sugarloaf Mountain is #27 out of a list of 30 peaks in the Wasatch with an elevation of 11,000’ or more, though just barely with its elevation of 11,051’.

Note: The short approach and easy navigation make it suitable for most, with a couple of caveats. First, beware of afternoon storms. They can build over the mountains quickly, and you do not want to be caught high on the ridge if a lightning storm approaches.

Second, the trailhead described here starts in Albion Basin. See the trailhead section for the details on this an alternatives if it is busy/full.
Cecret Lake and Little Cottonwood Canyon below Sugarloaf Mountain

Cecret Lake and Little Cottonwood Canyon below Sugarloaf Mountain

Getting There

Little Cottonwood Canyon is on the east side of the Salt Lake City Valley. Get there by following I-215 to the east, taking exit 6 off the interstate and heading east toward the mountains.

Follow 6200 South which becomes Wasatch Blvd for 1.8 miles to the stop light and signs for Big Cottonwood Canyon. Continue south (straight) through the light an additional 2.3 miles to a junction and light. Stay left here, reaching the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in an additional 1.6 miles.

From the mouth of Little Cottonwood, travel up the canyon 11.2 miles to the signed Secret Lake Trailhead parking, just before the Albion Basin Campground.

Note: The trailhead described here starts in Albion Basin. The area is incredibly popular, and the parking can fill up by 7AM on the weekends. Even during the week, I have seen it full by 8AM. You can alternatively start this hike from the base of Alta and use the Albion Meadows trail to reach the trailhead described here. This drops the parking issue but adds about 4 miles roundtrip to the hike. There is an $8 fee (2020) to drive the road to Albion Basin above the base of Alta.
Note: The Albion Basin road usually does not open until mid-to-late June due to snow. If in doubt, check with the Town of Alta.
Timpanogas from Sugarloaf Mountain

Timpanogas from Sugarloaf Mountain

Route

From the trailhead, find the Cecret Lake trail on the south side of the campground pay booth. It is wide, popular, and well worn. Follow it as it becomes a road, then back to a trail en route to Cecret Lake. Follow the trail all the way to the lake. Sugarloaf Mountain is the obvious mountain on the south side of the lake. Go left (east) around the lake. There are a few social trails here, but they generally coalesce into a more well-defined trail as this trail begins climbing south and up.

The trail begins a series of wide sweeping switchbacks as it begins climbing toward the ridge. As you get higher on the ridge, the switchbacks steepen and become shorter. Just before the ridge, the trail splits. Go right to continue to Sugarloaf Mountain, though my recommendation is to go left to the ridge, take in the views, and catch your breath first. The trail up the east ridge of Sugarloaf is rocky, but straightforward. The views of Little Cottonwood below, and Timpanogos in the distance to the south are stunning.

From the summit, the ski lifts of the ski resort are obvious to the west. Go west from the summit. Initially the rock makes finding the trail a tiny bit difficult, but within 1-2 minutes you should find a worn social trail working down the west ridge toward the ski lift. This is rocky and even a little brushy in spots, but easy to find and follow. It is only 10-15 minutes from the summit to Sugarloaf Pass and the top of the ski lift.

Follow the service road north as it contours to Germania Pass. Just before the pass, it splits. Go right, descending through a notch to another junction. Go right again, descending steeply. When Cecret Lake is visible on the right through the trees, follow a social trail to the lake. From the lake, re-trace your approach back to the trailhead.


Maps

Route / 4.53 miles / Elevation Range 9,412 - 11,051 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12T 448089mE 4492053mN

N40° 34' 40" W111° 36' 48"

Left

12T 447869mE 4491689mN

N40° 34' 28" W111° 36' 57"

Cecret Lake

12T 447402mE 4491384mN

N40° 34' 18" W111° 37' 17"

Summit

12T 447106mE 4490758mN

N40° 33' 57" W111° 37' 29"

Sugarloaf Pass

12T 446680mE 4490881mN

N40° 34' 01" W111° 37' 48"

Jct - Right

12T 446544mE 4491373mN

N40° 34' 17" W111° 37' 54"

Jct - Right

12T 447136mE 4491577mN

N40° 34' 24" W111° 37' 28"

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