Cecret Lake is a beautiful mountain lake at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. It has salamanders in the lake and amazing wildflowers in the late summer.
There are two trails. This post is on the shortest, easiest trail. for the longer one from Alta, click here.
Most people, pay ($10) to park at the end of the Albion Basin road, next to the campground. On your way you will pass Catherine’s Pass, which is the trailhead to Lake Catherine, Sunset Peak, Mount Tuscarora and Mount Wolverine. It is also immediately next to the Albion Meadows if you don’t want to have to hike. Keep your eye out while you drive to see wildlife and wildflowers from the Albion Basin road.
The peak season 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.
The road above Alta doesn’t open until July 1 and often there is still snow then. Be careful about going during peak times during wildflower season. On Sunday in late-July we tried to hike Cecret Lake as a family, but it was too crowded. They had capped the number of cars that could go into the Albion Basin. (Update, we went the following Sunday arriving at the booth at 7:45 am. We still had to wait for a bit at the booth, but the parking wasn’t quite full yet.)
When it was too crowded we hiked around Lisa Falls instead.
This trail is mostly a very gentle incline. There are a couple informative signs.
For 2023 they updated the informational signs.
Cecret Lake is so popular due to the prettiness and relative ease of the hike. It certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on beauty, wildlife, or wildflowers, as so many hikes can give you those. The Albion Basin wildflowers are incredible though! They can also be seen on the nearby Albion Meadows Trail and you pass through many on the longer hike to Cecret Lake from the Albion Base.
The hike is easy until the very end, but then there is one steeper hill of switchbacks before the lake. It is a short enough section that this trail is still classified as easy. These photos below are from the bottom looking up and then the top looking down.
One of the coolest things about this lake are the salamanders! It is a watershed, so be sure not to wade in or try to catch them. 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.
I love the patterns of the mountain reflected perfectly most years in the water!
If you go early or late you are likely to see lots of wildlife, including moose, deer, ground squirrels, marmots and more!
This is a great family hike, as long as you avoid peak times.
Stats: Distance – 1.8 miles round trip (4.5 from Alta)
Approximate hiking time – 1-3 hours
Elevation gain – 459 feet (1,213 from Alta)
Difficulty – Easy (Moderate from Alta)
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – July – September
Permits needed – $10 to park in Albion Basin (free from Alta)
Pets allowed – No