Explore the most popular birding trails near Alta with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike that really doesn’t go too far past Cecret Lake. Wasn’t as sketchy as I thought it was going to be either. Last half is very steep, but it goes by fast! DO IT!

This is a family favorite hike. We usually go the first week of July (after the gates open) and take nets from the dollar store to catch and release salamanders. We see a moose frequently on this trail.

The road is closed until 6/30/2018!

One of my favorite summer hikes. Wildflowers are spectacular. This is a fairly easy hike, the end gets a bit rocky and steep. The lake at the top is lovely and it’s nice to sit in the quiet.

hiking
7 days ago

So... Albion Basin road was closed and I'd promised three 4 year-olds were going to make it to the lake. We decided to take a shortcut instead of walk the entire road. Neither I nor my friend knew exactly where the trailhead was, but we figured we find it when we got to the top of the road. Still quite a bit of snow and a whole lot of mud.
What is listed here as 1.7 miles ended up being 7.3 for us. My little hikers-in-training were troopers, but I am sore.

on Cecret Lake Trail

12 days ago

Beautiful and easy hike. Busy though and lots of kids.

hiking
13 days ago

Decent trail that follow the valley in the trees. Goes past a nice cascade to lower Albion Basin

It was a little early in the tear to do this because of all the snow, but it’s still doable. I was able to complete it in tennis shoes. It’s important to note that the campground is not yet open, so there are a few extra miles tagged on from starting at the bottom of the paved road rather than being able to start at the trailhead. It was beautiful there, the lake was a big giant slushie, the first sign of buds were poking out of the ground, and you don’t have the business of summer. Being the first time I was up here, I lost the trail coming down baldy (I did sugarloaf first). I basically had to just run/slide down the ski slopes that were still there haha. I was able to see the main road coming up alpine so I just moved that direction until I got to the bottom. It was challenging, but to echo what others have said, it is a short hike for a summit.

hiking
18 days ago

Hiked this on 6/3, still knee deep snow covering most of the trail so plan on your feet getting wet. We hiked the summer road up to the campground since it is not open until the end of June, and there was no snow on that. We did end up making it to the lake and it was still mostly frozen. Then we slid on our butts down the snow where the switchbacks are, it was easier than trying to climb back down it. This is easily one of the most crowded trails in Utah in the summer, but this time we saw one other person the whole time so this was a plus.

hiking
25 days ago

I took my wife and kids up to this trail on a whim. I’d heard about it from a friend who raved last year about the beautiful flowers. I would have been well served to look up the details on the terrain this time of year. I didn’t realize how high the trailhead is. I expected to see snow, but I didn’t expect to see nothing but snow. It turned into a great little adventure. The dirt road to the trailhead was still gated, so it added just over two miles to our journey. I used my phone to point us to the direction of the lake and we meandered up. The snow was mostly crusted over so that walking on top of it was not a problem, but I post-holed up to my knees or deeper a few times.
The nice thing about going so early in the year was that when we got to the lake mid-day, we were the only ones there. A few other people showed up while we ate our snacks and took in the scenery.
My kids said it was one of their most favorite hikes ever.

snowshoeing
27 days ago

The forecast of rain drowned my hiking plans, but rising above the fog and drizzle, I soared up to 8,800' while the temperature dipped to 37 degrees at Alta. Snowshoeing solo on soft snow over two miles of abandoned ski runs and frozen road to the campground in a fine snowfall and steady breeze, and another mile beyond and above Cecret Lake to about 10,200', I quit after two hours of climbing a half mile from Germania Pass to conserve energy for today's activities. Backcountry skiers were spotted making their ascents, and Devil's Castle cliffs emerged frequently from the solitary mist. Cecret was still frozen, and the silent lift lines and snow making equipment detracted little from the majesty. My spirit was contrite as I rode the gusty breeze that chased me back down. Descending swiftly down a winding chute that forms the headwaters of Cottonwood Creek, I dropped into Albion Basin and reached my car in less than an hour, having covered 5 miles in 3 hours with 1,400' gain. Enough fun. There was 12 hours of work to do at home and the office, but nothing could detract from this excellent morning!

snowshoeing
27 days ago

Snow shoeing was so good last weekend that I returned with a new goal, to ascend above Cecret Lake to the col between Sugarloaf and Devil's Castle for a look at Pittsburg Lake on the south facing slope. A fantastic hike with Breck with boots, chains, and snow shoes. We met up later than usual, 7:00am, so by the time we drove up to Alta and reconnoitered the terrain, we got a much later start than usual. We were thinking of Davenport Hill, but it looked too muddy to me, while Albion Basin still had plenty of snow, and the ramp from Cecret Lake to the col between Sugarloaf and Devil's Castle looked possible. So we hiked off with snowshoes and chains strapped to our packs, following the newly plowed road, cutting off one switchback road corner, but otherwise, making good time to where the plow ended at the traditional Cecret Lake Trailhead in the campground. Continuing on a firm crust more frozen than it was during the warmer inclement weather of the prior weekend, we reached the switchbacks above the cabins below Cecret Lake before we remembered to eat and put on our chains, switching up the hill over the buried trail and reached Cecret Lake's northeastern shore where squirrels were already emerging to browse amongst the rocks, covering 3 miles in about an hour with 1,100' gain in elevation from the 8,880' parking lot at the end of the paved road to about 9,900' at Cecret Lake. We climbed up the next ramp kick stepping into the crust to gain only about 300' in an hour, then put on snow shoes at 10,200' and took another hour of slow determined ascent, making full use of the crampons on our snow shoes to scale the steep and frozen ground, closely following the buried route of underlying switchbacks until we emerged onto exposed talus at 10,800', stowed the shoes, and dropped down a bit to the col's grassy meadow. Taking in the vista along the ridge rewarded our effort, and peering down on Pittsburg Lake on the Mineral Basin side achieved our ultimate goal. Walking this ridge would be for us only a midsummer option, and reaching Pittsburg would be much easier on a traverse from Sugarloaf Pass than the steep descent from this col, except perhaps in mid-winter when the south facing slope might offer a snowy ramp. Having taken 2 hours to climb 1 mile with 900' of hard-earned gain on a more direct line than the underlying trail of switchbacks which is only marked on the Wasatch Mountain Club map and rated as 1.49 miles, we elected a slightly more easterly line and posthole-leaped straight down the snowy ramp, sometimes breaking through to our thighs, leaving a muddy path as we passed blackened snow stained by avalanche control rockets, and returning swiftly to the lakeshore in a mere 15 minutes on a direct line that was probably only 0.5 miles instead of the 1.0 mile we had ascended. From there, another straight line down Albion Basin brought us back to the car in 45 minutes, covering 1.5 miles swiftly on boots with chains. Three hours up, one our down, a perfect hike with challenging terrain, sufficient energy, warm blue skies over crusty snow, and our goal achieved in a partnership.

hiking
3 months ago

Catching up on some reviews, so recognize that I did this hike in early September. Went with some friends to hike this on Labor day. Quite possibly the worst day to do so. The parking lot closest to the lake was filled, so we had to park at the ski lodge. We could have taken a shuttle from there to the real trailhead, but the wait was 45min+, so we started our hike from there. Very sunny, hot, and exposed for most of it, so be prepared. Also, there were so many people! This would have been much nicer if the trail wasn't so backed up. Didn't stay long at the lake because of how many others were already there. Other than the heavy traffic, this would have been a nice, short, enjoyable hike.

The roads closed during the winter /:

Pretty lake, but it’s a super short hike

Cecret Lake is a beautiful place. One of my favorite hikes. In August this beautiful hike is home to thousands of wild flowers!

Beautiful lake and lovely hike. Summer wildflowers are stunning!

Really lovely. Very few people There when we went (2 days ago).

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. Kids loved it! Rocky and a little steep towards the end with a lot of cut backs but otherwise fairly easy hike. I did it with my 25 pound 2 year old on my back and I'm not in great shape. My 4 year old made it up by himself as well with little to no help. We went Oct. 9th 2017 later in the afternoon around 3:30. We got up right before the sun went over the mountain and it got cold real fast.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful. Worth the short hike!

Short hike a little difficult at the end because it is steep and you are climbing rocks. Also it was snowing and freezing cold today 08-October-2017

Very short, but gorgeous lake!

hiking
8 months ago

Easy walk with beautiful views. Can see glacier smoothing of rocks.Was muddy in many spots because of recent snow.

Saw beautiful moose

hiking
9 months ago

Easy kid friendly hike. Beautiful wild flowers at the end of summer. Lots of people so if possible go during the day on weekdays

hiking
9 months ago

I am not sure why this is marked as 'easy.' For those who grow up hiking, maybe it's easy for them. For newcomers to hiking, the beginning of the trail is relatively flat, but as the lake is at the top of the mountain, you will gain altitude and have to climb/walk through some rocky trails on the side of the cliff. If you aren't used to the altitude this can also pose an alternative challenge.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, not too long although with a very challenging second half, in which a lot of elevation is gained in a short distance (very steep). The summit is primarily very loose large boulders and sharp drop offs, but utterly fantastic views of the Wasatch range and of Alta/Snowbird ski resorts. Summit as at approx 11.2K ft so weather is very variable and can be very windy. Come prepared.

Oh not 6

hiking
9 months ago

I think this was given an "Easy" rating because it is short (if you start at the Cecret Lake trailhead). It has quick elevation change, especially near the end but it's like using stairs. Nice views and a pretty lake. Be ready to stop and wait in certain spots if you go in summer due to this lake's popularity. We went when there was construction, so we started at Albion Base, which added almost 3 miles round trip. Much of the trail from Albion Base was steep, which might warrant a "Moderate" rating. In fact, this hike from Albion Base was pretty similar to Horsetail Falls in length and elevation change (just a bit easier), and Horsetail Falls was given a "Hard" rating.

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