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Hike of the Week: Lake Catherine

Published August 16, 2013 11:36 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Getting there • From I-15, take the exit for 215 East toward the ski resorts. After five and a half miles, take exit 6 for UT-190. Turn right onto 6200 South and follow the highway for a mile and a half. Turn left down Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, which takes you on a winding 15-mile path up the canyon. The road should lead you to Willow Loop Road. Stop at the Brighton main lodge. The trail starts about 500 feet up the hill to the right of the lodge

About the hike • Utah is known to nature-lovers as a land of contrast. Fortunately, you can pack some of the best of the Beehive's landscape in just a few miles on the Brighton Lakes tour. The 4-mile round trip takes you from fields with yellow, red and purple flowers sprinkled across them to lakes with rocky beaches and still, reflective waters. One minute you're climbing bone-colored boulders, then soon find yourself in cathedrals of tall, dark evergreens, walking over hundred-year-old winding roots.

The starting location is familiar to many Utahn skiing fanatics • Brighton resort's main lodge may be more popular when blankets of snow cover the mountainside, but what's underneath is just as rewarding. Walk on the trail that takes you underneath empty ski lifts and enjoy the wildflower-filled meadows. The trail eventually is swallowed up by trees only about a mile of a moderate climb before you reach the roughly half-mile detour to Dog Lake, a quiet stop. Only half a mile up is Lake Mary, arguably the most scenic of the lakes. On a sunny day, it reflects the mountains with portrait-like clarity, and you can find a few fishermen perched on the rocks. Lake Martha, another smaller sister, is just a few hundred feet further, surrounded by reeds and tall grasses. Journey up to see some breathtaking views of the lakes and mountain clearings below. Less than a mile away lies Lake Catherine, which is a secluded spot sitting at the base of Sunset Peak. The peak itself is reachable further up the trail — we made it about a half-mile away on our visit — as is Catherine Pass, which will take you to Albion Basin and Little Cottonwood Canyon. Destination • Out and back to Lake Catherine

Hiking time • 2 hours

Round trip distance • 4.4 miles

Elevation gain • 1,160 feet

Difficulty • Moderate

Trail head restrooms • Yes

Dogs allowed • No

Bikes allowed • Yes