Sunset Peak via Brighton Lakes is a well trafficked trail, totaling 7.19 miles with 1975 feet of elevation change. The trail is rated as moderate, and is best used from May until October. This route features three lakes, with an additional 0.2 mile roundtrip to a fourth lake if desired. It also features several scenic turnouts, and a final summit atop Sunset Peak, which stands at 10,666 feet, according to my tracking device. Dogs are not able to use this trail as it takes place entirely in the Salt Lake watershed area.
Need to Know
This trail is pretty exposed for the first 0.75 miles, and starts out on a ski slope at Brighton Mountain Resort. Once you get past this area, the rest has pretty good coverage, with bald spots here and there. Three lakes are featured in pretty quick succession! One at the first mile, another in 0.2 miles, and a third at the 2.0 mile marking. From there, you climb up a relatively exposed trail through rocks to Catherine Pass. Make sure you take the right route! There’s two ways to get to the summit – one will take you through Sunset Pass, with spectacular views of Little Cottonwood Canyon and Timpanogos, and the other will feature views overlooking Sunset Peak and Lake Catherine.
If you have the time once you reach Catherine Pass, take the trail to the right. You’ll have an easier time getting up the steep slope, and see the spectacular views in Little Cottonwood Canyon, as well as the views at Sunset Pass. Take a small break for some photos here, and then continue onwards to the Sunset Peak summit. The last stretch from Sunset Pass to Sunset Peak is pretty difficult, as it’s steep and at elevation. Take it slow! Once you reach the peak, take a snack break (and water!) before heading back down. When you reach a fork to continue on to Sunset Pass, or back to Catherine Pass, take the trail to Catherine Pass, as it’s shaded later in the evening.
Take A Hike!
For this, you’ll definitely want a backpack with ample water and food. It’s a grueling hike and should be treated as one! We were all very grateful to have lots of water – I alone packed five liters, but I usually sandbag myself, just in case. The top can also be quite windy, and since it’s at elevation, sometimes chilly! Bring a small layer, just in case.
If you’re looking for a less intense hike, check out my guides on Lake Catherine and Lake Mary! Both are part of this loop, and quite beautiful! Or, check out the Cecret Lake Trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon by Albion Basin. Wildflower season starts in late June and goes into July!
Next blog: What a summer it’s been already. It’s getting hotter here in Utah!