Red Pine Trail

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Elevation gain: 2,000 feet
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Overall: 7
  • Reference: North-central Utah, southeast of Salt Lake City, in the Lone Peak Wilderness.
  • User groups: Hikers. No wheelchair access.
  • Permits: No permits are required. Parking and access are free.


Wasatch Boulevard and 9400 South meet a Y junction at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. From the Y, drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon about 5.5 miles to the trailhead.


Trails Illustrated's Wasatch Front/Strawberry Valley. For a USGS topographic map, ask for Dromedary Peak.


Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Salt Lake Ranger District; 801-466-6411.

Trail notes

Here is the best access to the northern end of the Lone Pine Wilderness, and a pleasant hike to a couple of beautiful and popular mountain lakes. For about a mile, the trail is an old jeep road, a pathway shared with the hike up the White Pine Trail. Crossing White Pine Fork Creek on a footbridge, Red Pine Trail traverses a ridge and enters Red Pine Canyon where it starts to climb. If you don't have adequate water at this point, you might start wishing you did--the trail doesn't meet the creek in Red Pine Canyon for quite a while, about 1.5 miles. To compensate for lack of water, there are splendid views of the canyon you're ascending. At about 2.5 miles in, the trail to Maybird Gulch leaves to the west, crossing the creek on another footbridge. From here the last mile passes swiftly, and soon you're looking down at Lower Red Pine Lake, nestled in a forest just below treeline. The trail circles the lake, allowing you to chose a campsite, should you wish to. Remember to camp at least 200 feet from water. From the southeast corner of the lower lake, a fainter but easy to follow track leads up about 400 feet in elevation gain to Upper Red Pine Lake, tucked neatly into a small cirque above treeline.

Special notes: It is possible to scramble with some difficulty through a notch high in Red Canyon and over the ridge separating Red Pine from White Pine, and complete a perfectly satisfying loop.

Information courtesy of Buck Tilton, author of Utah Hiking.

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