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Hiking in Alta
The historic ski town of Alta, Utah, offers fantastic hiking opportunities for summertime visitors in a rugged mountain setting rich with wildflowers, alpine lakes, and classic Wasatch views. In fact, there are over ten miles of trails in the immediate Alta area, including some of the most scenic of all the Utah hiking trails. Trail maps can be picked up at the Alta Community Center/Post Office, or at the information booth at the base of the summer road. Visitors can also view our hiking trail map below! Hiking is one of the most popular Alta activities in the summer, so feel free to browse the hiking trails below and pick the trails that sound best to you.
Weather can change quickly in the mountains, so remember to always be prepared for sudden summer storms and lightning. Make sure to bring plenty of water and layers for cold weather and rain when hiking, just in case. And don't forget your camera!
- Collins Gulch to Germania Pass Distance: 2.5 miles (one-way) Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
This route begins in the Goldminer’s Daughter/Wildcat base area, and follows a moderately steep to very steep service road up the Alta ski area. Hikers will enter wildflower filled meadows in a high, hanging valley, before turning steeply up to Germania Pass, rewarding determined hikers with incredible views of the Albion Basin and Cecret Lake. **DUE TO CONSTRUCTION THIS PATH IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE**
- Cardiff Pass Distance: 1 mile (one way). Elevation Gain: 1,360 feet
Beginning across the highway from Alta ski area near the US Forest Service Garage, this steep trail climbs through open meadows in this sunny basin offering fantastic views of Alta, and the Wasatch beyond. The pass at the ridge is a beautiful spot with a rugged, alpine feel. Adventurous hikers can continue west along the ridge for another 1.5 miles, and gain another 1,000 feet, to reach the summits of Superior and Monte Cristo Peaks. Hand and foot climbing is necessary. Mountain goats are often seen on these ridges.
- Twin Lakes Pass Distance: 1.75 miles (one way) Elevation Gain: 1,350 feet
While the elevation gain of this hike is substantial, the gradient is manageable. Following this trail brings you through grizzly gulch, with its interesting, rolling terrain features. The view into Big Cottonwood Canyon from the top of the pass is impressive, with Twin Lakes Reservoir below and to the east.
- Lower Albion Meadows Interpretive Trail Distance: .5 miles (one way) Elevation Gain: 100 feet
This short, easy hike between Alta’s two base areas features interpretive signs along the way, discussing the wildlife, geology, and history of the area. A nice walk for children, or anyone interested in the natural history of the area.
- Upper Albion Meadows Trail Distance: 1.5 miles (one way) Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
This scenic, moderate dirt service road is used to access the Albion Basin Campground. Fields of wildflowers highlight this beginner to intermediate hike.
- Catherine’s Pass Distance: 1 mile (one-way). Elevation Gain: 800 feet.
Parking for this hike is in the Sunnyside area. Fantastic views of Albion basin, keep your mind off of the steep first section of this trail. As the grade eases up a wetland ecosystem is encountered, and from the pass, Big Cottonwood Canyon presents Lakes Catherine, Mary, and Martha.
- Cecret Lake Interpretive Trail Distance: .75 mile (one-way) Elevation Gain: 420 feet
This is a moderately steep, short, and beautiful hike in a stunning alpine basin. Interpretive signs along the route provide information on the geology, hydrology, and plant and animal life in Albion Basin. Moose are known to spend time in this alpine valley.
- Germania Pass via East Greeley Distance: 2.5 miles (one-way) Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
Follow this old mining road from the Upper Albion Meadows trail, or the Cecret Lake parking area. Switchback up through flower filled meadows to an overlook above Cecret Lake. Continue on to the pass, for panoramic views of Alta. This trail is often done as part of a loop that includes Collins Gulch and Lower Albion Meadows trail.
Click on the following links for more info about the summer scene in Alta's Albion Basin: