If you’re in the mood to challenge yourself, let us introduce you to the Pfeifferhorn Trail, aka “Little Matterhorn.” A beautiful, rewarding and strenuous hike — with some rock scrambling thrown in for good measure — Pfeifferhorn is one of the most iconic hikes along the Wasatch Front. The view at the top is out of this world, but you’ll have to work for it.
Trail Head: 40.57547, -111.68127
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 9.6 miles roundtrip
Location: Little Cottonwood Canyon
Elevation Change: 3668 feet
Most hikers summit Pfeifferhorn via the Red Pine Lake. The trailhead for Red Pine Lake is found 5.5 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The first 3 miles of the trail are moderate and shady with a steady climb through aspen groves, leading to a gorgeous alpine lake. A lot of trekkers prefer to split the hike into a 2-day backpack trip, camping overnight at Red Pine Lake.
From Red Pine Lake, the climbing gets steeper and more strenuous, and the trail isn’t as well-marked. There is a point where hikers will start traversing the ridgeline with some boulder scrambling. Head toward Alpine Ridge and follow the path to the top. This section can be a little daunting for some, so make sure you’re prepared — bring lots of water, snacks, and extra layers since the weather can change quickly. And remember: No dogs allowed. It’s a watershed area.
Pfeifferhorn was named after Chuck Pfeiffer, who was a local climber and the head of the Wasatch Club.