Thursday, July 25, 2013

Alta this Weekend

Alta and Little Cottonwood Canyon will be busy this weekend so you will want to plan ahead to make the most of your trip to the mountains. On Saturday morning there will be a 6:30 start for the 50K Speedgoat Race at Snowbird.  The three-day Wildflower Festival will be at Alta on Saturday, with  guided hikes beginning at 9 am; come early as they fill up fast.  An early start is recommended to ensure parking and a spot with a guide.

If you want to view wildflowers on your own, there will shuttle service available from the Albion Day Lodge. There are limited refreshments available at the Day Lodge.  Alta Lodge is open for lunch on Saturdays from 11 am-2 pm. If you prefer to attend the Wildflower Walks on Sunday at Snowbird, consider stopping at the Lodge afterwards for a relaxing Sunday Brunch.

Here's the schedule for the Wildflower Festival in Little Cottonwood Canyon this weekend:

Saturday, July 27th
Alta: Meet at Albion Day Lodge/Parking Lot, Albion Base, Alta Entry #2

Beginner Walks:
Walk takes place along gentle terrain along base area, through willows, meadows and along streamside to allow for excellent variety of wetland wildflowers and other species. About 1 hour
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
Hikes depart as groups fill.

Beginner/Intermediate Wildflower Walks:
A walk up the Albion Meadows Trail at a gentle grade. This walk allows for wonderful variety of flowers blooming in habitats including meadows, shaded spruce-fir stands, nears streams, and sunny, rocky slopes. About 1 1/2 hours.
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
Hikes depart as groups fill.

Advanced Wildflower Walk:
Walk takes place up the Twin Lakes Pass trail. Trail is very steep and rocky in sections.North-facing slopes allow for wildflower viewing through a variety of habitats. About 1 ½ hours.
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
Hikes depart as groups fill.

Kids Wildflower Walks:
Especially designed with kids in mind and with fun and interactive wildflower activities along the way!
A gentle walk route along the base area.
Discover what wildflowers need to grow! We'll look for wildflowers and wildlife of Albion Basin. Less than an hour in duration.
9:30am and 10:30am
Hikes depart as groups fill. Kids should be accompanied by an adult.

Live Music by Lerraine and the Soul Vibrations

Kids Art & Entertainment We will have ongoing art activities for kids of all ages.

Sunday July 29th

Snowbird: Meet at Plaza Deck, Snowbird entry 2

8:30 - 9:15AM Sign up for Wildflower Walks
$5 donation to the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation for Tram hikes

9:30AM Tram departs for Wildflower Hikes, beginner and advanced
- Advanced Hike: rides up tram with a hike down the mountain. Hike is all down hill, but several miles in length, with some steep sections and loose footing. 3-4 hours, 9:30 start time only.
- Easy Walk: rides up tram with gentle walk at top of tram with ride back down. 1 ½ to 2 hours. 9:30 and 10:30 start time.

10:00 AM Tram leaves for Geology Hike- moderate, 2-3 hours, 10:00 start time only.

10:30 Second Departure for Easy Walk with Tram (ride up tram, explore top,ride back down). 1 ½ to 2 hours.

*Please note, hikes involving the Tram depart early and only at listed times, in order to accommodate the Tram and long duration of the hikes.

9:30 - 11:30 AM Lower Mountain Wildflower Walks
Along gentle terrain.
Hikes depart for lower mountain walk every 20 minutes as groups fill.
Duration: 1 hr to 1 ½ hours. Does not involve tram.

10:00 AM Kids Walks
Especially designed with kids in mind and with fun wildflower activities along the way!
Gentle walk along lower mountain trail.
Less than an hour in duration. Does not involve tram. Kids should be accompanied by an adult.

Special thanks to partners for this event:
Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, Alta Community Enrichment, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Brighton Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, US Forest Service and Salt Lake City Watershed!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hikes Around Alta

Cecret Lake's name is well deserved as it would be hard to find the lake without a trail. This pretty little lake is flanked by rock cliffs on the south side where skiers have access to Devil's Castle in the winter season.  Erika Wiggins has a great hike description and photos of the area if you are interested in locating this hidden gem.

Catherine's Pass
Right now a hike to Catherine's Pass will reward you with meadows covered in colorful wildflowers. Being so close to Salt Lake City, it's easy to take a hike after work and share a picnic dinner with friends. The hike to the pass is an hour or so from the parking area at the top of Sunnyside lift or you can take the shuttle from the Albion day lodge on most weekends. Once you reach the pass if you want to extend your hike you can follow the trail to Catherine Lake and beyond where you will end up at the Brighton ski area, located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. From there you can retrace your steps back to where you started or if you shuttled a car, it will be waiting for you at Brighton.

Looking back towards Mt. Superior
Looking towards Devil's Castle

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wildflower season has arrived!

The wildflowers at Alta are in full bloom right now and if you haven't experienced Alta's wildflower season, there's no time like the present. The slopes are covered with assorted shades of yellow, blue, red and white flowers. According to the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, there are 300 species commonly found in the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. 

This year the annual Wasatch Wildflower Festival is July 26, 27 & 28. The Festival offers guided wildflower walks for beginner, intermediate and advanced walkers.  There are also Kids' Walks.  These walks take place on Friday in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Saturday at Alta and Sunday at Snowbird. The web site provides a complete schedule of events and times and places to meet. 

If you join the festival on Saturday, remember we are open for lunch. Hikers are encouraged and welcome to enjoy a relaxing lunch under an umbrella on the sunny deck.