Alta’s Cecret Lake is an hour-long, round-trip hike through some of the most amazing wildflowers you’ll ever see. Be sure to check it out.
Albion Basin, the start of the short hike is only a 40-minute drive from the Convention Center, so you can turn it into a dawn patrol before the show or sneak it in when you have a few free hours.
Albion Basin is famous for its wildflowers and rightfully so. The variety and abundance of color is jaw-dropping—you can’t help but to stop and admire along the way. Your inner Julie Andrews is sure to come out in these mountain meadows, even if you don’t remember The Sound of Music—don’t fight it.
The hike itself climbs a gentle slope with about 300 feet of elevation gain—easy stuff. Along the trail, there are interpretive signs with information about the basin, its plants, animals, and geology.
The peak of the wildflower bloom is mid-August, but with an early spring and lots of rain this year, flowers should be out in force by early August. Remember to bring plenty of water even though it’s a short hike as you need to stay hydrated to fend away altitude sickness and impending hangovers.
The weather changes quickly up here and thunderstorms roll in hard and fast, so bring a shell just in case. Swimming is not permitted in the lake as it is a watershed and SLC doesn’t need to drink your grime with their coffee.
Bring some snacks and your selfie sticks (please don’t bring your selfie sticks). You’ll definitely want to snap some photos though, so don’t forget your phone in the car. If you get the chance, you could turn a meeting into a wilderness picnic—bringing delicious local cheeses and fine whiskey to brighten the day.
The Cecret Lake hike is short, so if you’re looking for a workout you’ll need to add a bit of mileage and can instead hike to Catherine’s Pass, which is also right in the area.
To get to the Cecret Lake hike, drop “Albion Basin Rd, Alta, UT” into your GPS and hit the road, it’s 30 miles from the Convention Center. From the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, drive 11.1 miles to a parking lot on the left side of the road just before the entrance to Albion Basin Campground. The road is paved all the way up to Alta Ski Resort, and then the last 2.4 miles of road is a well-maintained gravel road. There is an information booth at the end of the paved road to help you with any questions you may have.
Parking can get sparse by the trailhead, especially during the weekend, so be early (before 9:00am) if you want a parking space by the trailhead. If you get there when the mob does, there is a free Alta shuttle service that transports visitors from the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon road, in the town of Alta, for 2.5 miles to the upper end of Albion Basin road.
This shuttle service operates from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the last van departing from the Cecret Lake trailhead at the upper end of the road at 4:30 p.m. Typically, the wait between shuttles is around 10-20 minutes.
There are three pick-up and drop-off points for the shuttle: Just west of the summer information booth, Sunnyside Parking Area/Catherine’s Pass trailhead, and the Cecret Lake trailhead at the Albion Basin campground.