Sunset Peak

Elevation: 10,648
Location: Wasatch Range, Utah

Sunset Peak above Brighton (and Alta somewhat) is one of the easiest to climb peaks in the Wasatch range. It offers a couple of routes, and gives a good view from it's summit. It is fairly popular with locals, but the ability to go from downtown Salt Lake to a summit some six thousand feet above in literally about two hours is unique.

I've climbed the peak five times, all are from either Brighton via their Brighton Lakes trail which leads to Catherine Pass, or from Alta via the trail to the same pass from that side. The Alta approach is very short, climbing about 1,250 feet in 1.5 miles. From Brighton, the trip is longer but more scenic, climbing just under 2,000 feet in 2.5 miles. Both routes are enjoyable.

Squirrel near Catherine Pass From Brighton, follow the trail a mile to Lake Mary, a popular trail that is easy to follow. From here, Sunset Peak is barely visible behind a closer ridge, looking like a near-perfect pyramid. A hike of another mile or so leads to Lake Catherine, and quickly to Catherine Pass. Here you meet the route from Alta. All along the way is beautiful alpine scenery and excellent places to relax and enjoy nature. This will be snow-covered however well into June in most years.

From Alta, drive up to the trailhead which is just a little before the Albion Basin parking area. In summer 2000 the trail was re-located and the trailhead was on the right side of the road, well-marked. Follow this trail for a quick mile to Catherine Pass. This is an excellent trip to do after a long day of work.

From Catherine Pass, Sunset Peak is obvious to the east. A trail leads up the steep slope, and soon bends behind (south) the mountain. It passes through a sandy area, then to a narrow section of the ridge where the trail has a steep drop below you. Might want to watch little kids here. From here it is a quick, but steep ascent to this popular peak. From the fairly small summit, the Brighton Lakes are easily seen, and you'll have good 360 degree panorama. The evening hike I did in August 2000 did infact give a wonderful sunset as I headed down back towards Alta of the sun setting behind Mount Superior in the distance.

From Catherine Pass- Lake Catherine, Pioneer Peak and Sunset Peak (right) The picture here shows the peak from Mount Tuscarora's summit area (see Mount Wolverine trip report). Left is Pioneer Peak, right (higher) is Sunset Peak. Variations of the hike would be to return to the saddle and climb the other ridge up over Tuscarora to Mount Wolverine. I've also headed north from the peak down a steep slope over to Pioneer Peak and back to Brighton that way. Both are more challenging terrain than the standard climb up Sunset, but nothing very difficult for most people. From Alta, about two or three hours. From Brighton more like four hours.