The Cecret Lake trail from the Albion Base passes through the Albion Meadow wildflowers up to gorgeous a mountain lake filled with tiger salamanders. It is at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon and begins at Alta Ski Resort.
The peak season for wildflowers depends on the snow pack, but it’s typically July – September. There is snow there most of the year, but mid summer through early fall it is a wonderful family hike.
There is also a shorter and easier trail to Cecret Lake if you pay the $10 fee and take the road above Alta to the Albion Campground Trailhead. That road doesn’t open until July 1 as there is usually snow until then.
Be careful about going during peak times during wildflower season, especially if you are hoping to drive up beyond Alta as there is limited parking, so they cap the numbers and it’s very popular, especially on weekends.
This trail begins at Alta Ski Resort between the Albion Grill and Alta Ski Shop. There is a well-marked trail to follow up through the trees.
Soon you will get to some amazing lupines!
After 15-30 minutes of hiking you will arrive at the the Albion Basin wildflowers! They are incredible and hiking from the base you walk right through the Albion Meadows!
During wildflower season, the entire hillside is covered with wildflowers!
Here are a few more photos of those gorgeous wildflowers!
As you hike through the Albion Meadows, Catherine’s Pass parking lot will be on the top of the hill to your left. Ahead you will see Devil’s Castle ahead in the distance, with an “X” of snow on it. That mountain is just past Cecret Lake.
This hike is fairly easy to end of the wildflowers and then get a steeper, going from an easy to moderate hike. As you continue you will see Sugarloaf Ski Lift in the distance. If you go to the left you will take the longer route to the lake that goes to Albion Basin Campground and then continues to the right along the same trail as those who paid for the closer parking. If you want the shorter, but less scenic route, head to the right of Sugarloaf lift up the hill.
The Longer Trail to the Left
This trail is about 0.5 miles longer, but is far more beautiful. It will be more crowded this way too. At the Albion Basin Campground this trail merges with the shortest route to Cecret Lake.
There are beautiful wildflowers and mountain views.
For 2023 they updated the informational signs.
There is one hill with switchbacks to get to the lake.
When you arrive at the top of the hill, this is your view!
The Shorter Right Path
The shorter way is definitely not as pretty, heading up a dirt road, but bypasses all the crowds going the other way. Here are photos looking ahead and behind along the road.
Near the end there is another option to switch over to the other path, but it connects right before the switchbacks, so it’s probably not worth it.
Keep heading up the path as it shifts a little to the right and it will come out on the side of Cecret Lake, with Devil’s Castle in the background.
I love seeing the reflection of Sugarloaf on Cecret Lake, so head around the lake clockwise until you see it.
One of the coolest things Cecret Lake is the salamanders! Don’t wade in the water to look or try to catch them since this is a watershed, but you can usually see them from the shoreline.
Cecret Lake is filled with Tiger Salamanders!
There was an avalanche this past winter that left a lot of debris in Cecret Lake, so the water this summer of 2022 the water is cloudier and the salamanders are hard to see.
In 2023 it was clear again, but this photo was taken on a windy day.
I have also visited in the rain. It was nice to have it all to ourselves!
I love the patterns of the mountain reflected perfectly in the water on a calm day!
If you go early or late in the day you are likely to see lots of wildlife, including moose, deer, ground squirrels, marmots and more!
Here are a few more of beautiful Cecret Lake!
Stats: Distance – 4.5-5 miles round Approximate hiking time – 1-3 hours
Elevation gain – 1,213 from Alta
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – July – September
Permits needed – free from Alta
Pets allowed – No