Mount Superior via Cardiff Pass Trail

HARD 73 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Mount Superior via Cardiff Pass Trail is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sandy, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September.

5.3 miles
2,769 feet
Out & Back



nature trips


trail running




wild flowers





no dogs

20 days ago

I hiked this in August 2 years ago and I am dying to go back again. It was a fairly easy hike, we started early around 5:00 and hiked through the sunrise. The sketchy part was after you get to the pass, then there is a lot of rock scrambling. We had a lot of exposure due to not being able to find the marked trail. The lose rocks made it difficult to navigate which way we needed to go. But we finally scrambled our way to the top and the view was amazing! We saw a couple of mountain goats and deer. Will hopefully make it back next summer to finish Monte Cristo as well.

1 month ago

The view is always great, but this is my least favorite hike/summit in SLC. The loose shale rock sucks, and makes me worried the entire time. The good thing is looking over Alta and Snowbird, and almost always seeing mountain goats.

1 month ago

AMAZING! Very technically challenging with scrambling required especially on the approach to the summit. The wildflowers stretching up the side of the mountain face in July is a sight not to be missed! :-) _/|\_ <3 When you reach the summit, you see great views of the Salt Lake Valley and neighboring peaks. I will have to come back to conquer Monte Cristo another time ...

1 month ago


1 month ago

Rock Climbing: 5/5
Views: 5/5
Defined trail: 2/5
Overall adventure 4.5/5

I love this hike, but people should be aware that there is a good amount of rock climbing/scrambling involved. I saw 2 people turn around because it was too hard for them. That’s the only reason I gave it 4 stars.

1 month ago

Mt Superior is an iconic peak in Little Cottonwood canyon. Was not aware that dogs are not allowed in Little Cottonwood so a note to others - don’t bring your dogs. The first 1.5 miles were smooth sailing despite it being steep. Around the 1.5 mile mark, you make a turn that goes from trail hiking to hiking on rocks and loose shale. It is hard to follow the trail and the trail spilts with various different routes that merge a little father up. The last half mile is definitely a scramble and can be sketchy as you hike along the ridge which has some exposed points. Definitely a no fall zone. With that said, my 14 year old son powered up it ahead of me. We had great weather and limited winds at the top. Amazing views of Alta/Snowbird and Big Cottonwood canyon. Very rewarding.

1 month ago

First part is pretty steep but doable. Make sure to stay to the left and look for a trail once you reach the top by the electric pole. You should not have to start scrambling yet. We ended up taking a much harder route than necessary. We found this very hard to navigate. The last part has a lot of more climbing involved than expected. Not for beginners. Over all very tough but beautiful views.

1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. The wildflowers above Alta were beautiful in the morning before you get to the saddle. Trail is now crowded, but enough friendly hikers along the way to feel safe. Lots of scrambling but it’s all easy if you take it slow. At the Superior summit, Monte Cristo looks intimidating, but it’s a quick 15 minutes walk over that’s worth it. I saw a beautiful buck in the morning, a wild turkey and lots of little critters. Reports of goats but I missed them. The round trip took me 3:20 with some trail running on the way down.

2 months ago

Steep trails with great views. got close to the top but didn't like the exposure so I didn't make it to the top

3 months ago

Round trip 3:40. Fantastic hike!! Stay on the ridge once you meet powerline pass at ~1.3mi in
Will absolutely do again. No snow / need for traction. Class 3 scramble for last half mile. Too much snow for Monte Cristo without traction.

3 months ago

Start early and don’t worry, it’s honestly not that bad. I recommend gloves so you can grab the sharp rock better.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

some very tough stretches. A lot of climbing. Really cool

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Great day hike. Good intense elevation gain with a great view at the top. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hiked the East Ridge today and it is awesome - wildflowers in full bloom and outstanding views! There is some exposure toward the summit - but very manageable during the summertime with no snow. Final push is a scramble - but just keeping going up and you will find the summit.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I wouldn't do it again because it was a lot steeper and more cliffy then everyone says but if you are looking for a hard long adventure then this is for you

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Only saw one other person on the hike. It's strenuous and there are lots of scrambles. Spectacular views!

Monday, June 19, 2017

This is one of my favorite hikes in the Wasatch! Yesterday, we went up the South Ridge and down the Cardiff Pass trail. The South Ridge was as exposed and spicy as ever, and totally dry. And aside from a couple snow patches along the Cardiff trail down, which were easy to maneuver, the trail is clear and ready to be hiked!

FAVOR - if anyone is hiking to the top of Superior please keep an eye out for a brown leather wallet. The person I was hiking with lost his, and he thinks it fell out on the summit when he was grabbing a jacket out of his bag. If you find it - please contact me at Thank you!!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Great hike. Absolutely beautiful on top. Weather was a bit hit or miss. We hiked this trail about 4 weeks prior as well. Same route. Snow conditions made some portions a little sketch. We used a combination of snowshoes, crampons. Definitely recommended in the winter. Be sure to check the UAC website and bring your beacon, probe and shovel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This was an incredible and intense hike. The last half of the hike was a scramble and at times a bit sketchy. At time it can be difficult to find the trail. If you're at all inclined, the views are well worth it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

favorite hike so far. pretty tough, scary at times, but absolutely incredible. literally as good as it gets

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Not bad but not great.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Confused if the mailbox is the top of Superior or if you need to continue to take the ridge West. Seems like most photos on google indicate that to be Monte Cristin but it didn't seem to take enough time to get to top of Superior based on other reviews and the interactive trail map shows the mailbox to. E short of final destination.

Any thoughts fellow peak baggers?

Monday, August 29, 2016

After reading reviews on another blog site, I decided that I would knock out two peaks in one day as Mount Superior (11,032) and Monte Cristo (11,140) are relatively close (Monte Cristo is 30-60 minutes past is the taller of the two peaks within hiking distance).

I went by myself on a busier day starting right behind the a town office in Alta- just across the road from some breakfast/brunch place. The trail is easy (anyone can do it) until you get to a quarter mile past the Pole (telephone pole?) and it took about 1/2 hour- hour to get to this point). Theres a trail that leads to the summit of Mount Superior but is very hard to follow and the majority is free clmbng a half hour after you pass the pole and reach Mount Superior. Took around 3 1/2 hours to get to Mount Superior. You will know you got to Mount Superior when you see a mail box full of notes and a pen on the peak. Other people I met at the peak said it took them 2 1/2-3 1/2.

Getting to Monte Cristo takes around 30-60 minutes depending on skill level, and Monte Cristo is not on the Map at the parking lot in Alta, or the free distributed one. These were my first major/tough ones so it took me closer to 60 minutes while the guy I met, it took him about 30-40 minutes. Again, all up hill and all free climbing with no trail- just rock. From Mount Superior there are two peaks (I guess the first one is what is called a false-summit?) in the distance and connected. Monte Cristo is the second one. You essentially go around/over the first one and climb up to the taller one.

I made the mistake of thinking that I would be able to do both by myself- but went on a busier day (Sunday) hoping that I would meet people a long the way. I met people on the way up and way down who had done similar terrain (I had not done any previously anywhere close to as challenging). and without them I may not have hit both as I would have likely played it safe and turned around at some point.

On the way back down around 7:45 I heard another group that had gotten lost/turned around coming down to Alta as they went up another route and lost the trail in the dusk.

While it's not impossible to do if you're inexperienced or not from the area, I strongly recommend (for all considering unless you are well experienced) finding a group to go with, packing a lot of water (not hot but it's all up hill free climbing) and going as early as possible. The elevation and physicality of the two are also something to consider so having done a few moderate peaks is something that helped me (I did Sunset Peak a week before and while it helped mentally, the free climbing was something else).

I have attached two pictures, the first of the summit and the second of the terrain climbing up- shortly before the trail runs out before reaching Mount Superior. The guy I met strongly suggested climbing on the rock opposed to the trail on the way down (and most of the way up) as the rock provided better footholds and didn't wobble like the sand (when you could pick up the trail)- and I found this incredibly useful and helpful.

Overall a 5 Star Hike, but proceed with caution and with at least 1 other person if possible. Be read yo to free climb the majority of both peaks and allow enough time.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I found that the trail wasn't clearly marked at the final push. When the trail becomes less apparent, you want to scramble up the rocks about 100 ft. This scramble doesn't appear to be that difficult, but a fall would be dangerous (Class 2); however, if you continue on the lower path below the ridge line, you are forced to climb up a steep, loose rock area, or if you prefer a rock climb. This area, although not hard is probably a 5.6. If you chose this route, if you were to fall, serious injury or death would occur. Again, not hard but something to be cognizant of. Overall, I found the hike beautiful, and the hiking moderate in steepness and difficulty. Great views. Done in summer. Exposed most of the way, so wear sunscreen. We started early in the morning.

7 days ago

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