Wasatch Walker Mountain treks near Salt Lake City

We've lived in the Salt Lake Valley now for 10 years and have made many trips into the mountains east of the city. Here are a few of the places we've explored. The following photos were taken with an iPhone.

Donut Falls in January
Donut Falls descent
Donut Falls in January

Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon

This is a great short hike to a beautiful waterfall. It’s just as fun in the winter and if you go in the snow you can bring sleds and hike up and then sled out. Our family does this hike at least once or twice a year. 3.7 miles round trip.

Directions: The turn off to the Donut Falls Hiking Trail is located approx 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Take a right and drive past the Jordan Pines Picnic Area and some private property to the trailhead parking lot. In the winter you just need to park off the road. More information here.

Cecret Lake trail
Cecret Lake in July
salamander

Cecret Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Great short hike with a fun lake at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Before we take our kids on this hike we usually go to the dollar store and pick up some butterfly nets because there are some cool salamaders in this lake and the kids love to catch them. This is another family favorite! 2.5 miles round trip.

Directions: Drive to the top of Little Cottonwood past Alta and then follow the dirt road to the trailhead in Albion Basin where you will see a parking lot. In the summer this place can be a zoo so you might have to take a free shuttle. More information here.

Lake Blanche pano
Lake Blanche in July
Moose in July

Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Beautiful hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon to several lakes. The trail is a little steep but there are great places to camp once you arrive. Snowshoeing is also a popular winter activity. 6 miles round trip.

Directions: Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon and turn off and the bottom of the S curve and park at the trailhead. The intersection is located 1.7 miles after exiting I-215. More information here.

Red Pine Lake in July
Rock at Red Pine Lake
Red Pine Lake

Red Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A great Little Cottonwood Canyon hike to a few lakes. This is one of my favorite places to go. The trail is a little steep but the view is worth it. There is also a lake or two above this one and if you keep going up you can get to the Pfeifferhorn. 6 miles round trip.

Directions: Head up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The White Pine trailhead is located 5 1/2 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon from the Y-Junction and 3/4 mile below Snowbird Ski Resort on the south side of the road. The trailhead is signed with paved parking, vault toilet and information kiosk. More information here.

White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon

This is a sister hike to Red Pine Lake. The hike is very rocky and somewhat challenging but beautiful. One of the nice things about this hike is it isn't heavily trafficed. 10 miles roundtrip.

Head up Little Cottonwood Canyon and the trailhead is just below Snowbird. The turnoff for the parking area is just after a turn so you can miss it. After the "White Pine Slide Area" you'll see a path that leads from the parking area to a footbridge across the stream.

Lake Mary, Martha, and Catherine pano
Lake Martha in September
Lake Catherine in June

Lake Mary, Martha, and Catherine in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Another great Big Cottonwood Canyon hike to a few lakes. You can probably tell by now that I love lakes. You can hike up to Lake Catherine from the Brighton parking lot and pass Lake Mary and Lake Martha and you can also get there from Little Cottonwood canyon if you pull over and park before you reach Albion Basin. 4.6 miles round trip from Brighton.

Directions: Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon and drive to the main Brighton Lodge and park near the Crest Express Chairlift. More information here.

Mt. Timpanogos in July

My daughter and I headed south after the summit so we could slide down the glacier!

Sunrise on Mt. Timp
mountain goat

Mt. Timpanogos in American Fork Canyon

Beautiful hike! It takes about 4.5 hours to reach the summit and it’s challenging. However, this is probably one of the most beautiful hikes in all of Utah. You can go up from the Timpooneke side or the Sundance side. I would recommend going to the trailhead really early, like 2am, and getting to the saddle (summit if you can) so you can watch the sun rise. It's breathtaking. This hike is a must! 15 miles miles round trip.

Directions: Drive up American Fork Canyon until the road forks. Take the right fork, which is part of the Alpine Loop. Continue driving until you reach a sign on the right side of the road that points to the Timpooneke campground. Take this paved side road 1/4 mile through the campground. Just past the campground the road reaches the trailhead which is identified by a large paved parking lot with a vault toilet on the left side of the road. More information here.

Guardsman Pass in September
Snow caving up Guardsman Pass

Snow Caving in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Good place with lots of deep snow. Best time to go is February or March if you want to do some snow caving. It's easy to put gear on sleds and hike a quarter mile or so and find a spot to dig. I’ve also head of people snow caving in the Spruces campground in this canyon.

Directions: Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton Ski Resort. Before you hit the resort you’ll see a sign for Guardsman Pass. Turn left and follow the road until you can’t go any further and park next to the outhouse.

Stairs Gulch in June

Stairs Gulch in Big Cottonwood Canyon

This is one of the more recent hikes I've done. The thrill of this trail is hiking up stream through piles of snow. The trailhead isn't hard to find and you'll basically hike up a narrow canyon. 2.5 miles roundtrip.

Head up Big Cottonwood canyon to the Storm Mountain ampitheater and pull over on the right side of the road. The trail ends at the river about .3 miles in but you can keep going. More information here.

Willow Heights in October

Willow Heights in Big Cottonwood Canyon

If you like backpacking with kids then this is the hike for you! The hike is short and the meadow at the top is huge and there is plenty of wood for fires. We went in October and loved the fall foilage. 1.5 miles round trip.

Head up Big Cottonwood canyon and you'll find the trailhead on the left side of the road shortly after passing both the Silver Fork Lodge on the right and the Canyon Vacation Rentals on the left. More information here.

Bells Canyon

I hope these pictures and trail tips are helpful. If you live in the Salt Lake valley, this is our backyard. If you don't live here, come and experience the wonder of these mountains for yourself. Just remember, great minds think a hike!

Good hiking websites

1. Climb-Utah.com - http://climb-utah.com/index.htm

2. Utah.com hiking - http://www.utah.com/saltlake/hiking.htm

3. WasatchHiker.com - http://www.wasatchhiker.com/

4. All Trails - http://alltrails.com/us/utah/salt-lake-city

5. Hikes and Lakes.com - http://www.hikesandlakes.com/utsnow.html

If you are looking for a good hiking/backpacking list check out REI's page here.

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