“A steep run past Cecret Lake that's completely worth it for the beautiful views of upper Little Cottonwood Canyon.”
— Eric Eastham
Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Cecret Lake is beautiful, with great views of the surrounding mountains. The view once you get to the ridge is spectacular, and well worth the steep climb up from the lake. There's a small fort that someone has constructed on the ridge, and there are several cairns on the trail as well.
The first mile is shallow, with the sharpest climb up onto the ridge containing Cecret Lake. The trail at this point is wide, with only a few sections where it gets narrow. Past Cecret Lake the grade increases rapidly, gaining around 500 to 800 feet in just over a half mile.
The trail is a bit loose, but perfectly doable especially with hiking poles, there are also many great views of Alta, and of the mountains surrounding it. This section gets the steepest as it approaches the top of the ridge between Devil's Castle and Sugarloaf. Once on top of the ridge, you'll be surprise at the amount of room there, almost more of a mountain meadow than a ridgeline.
At this point you have a few choices, Sugarloaf to the right has a short ascent and is the closer, higher, and easier of the two peaks, however Devil's Castle is the more impressive of the two, but is farther and is more exposed, requiring some scrambling and bouldering depending on the exact route you take.
The trail leading to Devil's Castle initially is very calm and unexposed as you pass a rock fort built on the ridge. As you continue, the ridgeline narrows and the exposure increases. About halfway the scrambling starts. The easiest route is to stay close to the ridgeline on the south side, as the north is a straight cliff and a popular route for climbers, you'll see a sign warning you not to dislodge rocks.
As you approach the summit of Devil's Castle, you'll want to skirt around to the North side, climb up the gully partway and then skirt back to the west where you'll scramble up the rest of the way, where you'll find a flat section on top with nice boulders to sit on and a bulge on top about 10 to 12 feet high.
If you choose to summit Sugarloaf you'll want to switchback up the side of the ridge next to where you got on top of the ridge, and then make your way along the ridge to the top, which is marked by a circular metal marker on top of a cairn. You'll get beautiful views of Little Cottonwood Canyon to the North, the higher peaks of Big Cottonwood Canyon, as well as the peaks of the Wasatch Front such as Timpanogos and Lone Peak.
Flora & Fauna
Spotted on this hike were mainly insects and squirrels, however any wildlife known to Little Cottonwood Canyon would be spotted on the lower portions of the trail. There is a beautiful meadow of wildflowers on the way to Cecret Lake marked with a informative sign, as well as other flora on the lower sections of the mountain.