Little Pfeifferhorn

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 40.53624°N / 111.69697°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Bouldering, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 10897 ft / 3321 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Standing tall at 10,897 feet The Little Pfeifferhorn (aka Red Bird Point) has one of the most beautiful alpine settings in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Located on the Alpine Ridge inbetween White Baldy and Utah's famous Pfeifferhorn, this peak is treated more like a promince by climbers enroute to the Pfeifferhorn and therefore never gets the respect it deserves. From the summit outstanding views of the Pfeifferhorn, the Cottonwood Ridge, Maybird Gulch, Red Pine Fork, and Box Elder Peak can be seen.
The Little Pfeifferhorn in Mid Winter Form
The Little Pfeifferhorn from the Lower Red Pine Lake
Red Pine Lake & Pfeifferhorn East Ridge
The Little Pfeifferhorn from the Lower Red Pine Lake. Photo Credit Kendrick Taylor
Red Pine Lakes
The Little Pfeifferhorn from one of the Upper Red Pine Lakes

One of the major attractions to this peak is the lower and upper Red Pine Lakes. Each lake has thier own unique beauty as well as vista. The lower Red Pine Lake is the largest and most scenic of all the lakes in Red Pine Fork. When hiking up from the White Pine Trailhead, it is at this lower lake where you get your first uninterupted view of The Little Pfeifferhorn. If you are lucky enough during the summer months, choose a windy day and the color of the lakes can appear bright turquise insted of dark blue. Swimming is NOT allowed in any of the Red Pine Lakes so please resist the temptation.
Red Pine Lake
Lower Red Pine Lake from the summit
The Little Pfeifferhorn
A summer view of The Little Pfeifferhorn through the trees (Red Pine Fork side)

In the summer the trail is easier to find as well as hike making this the recommended season for people who are new to this area. In the winter months the trail travels along several avalanche paths and eventually sends you climbing right up a release zone shortly before the summit. Caution should be used on the most dangerous of avalanche days and of course carry a beacon, probe, shovel, avalung, and common sense along with you during your winter travels. In the spring time ice axes and crampons are not a bad idea for the upper ridge section. Because of the high elevation (10,897 feet) this mountain receives over 600 inches of snow during an average year. This means that snow on the route during the summer months (june, july and even august) is not uncommon. Whether you are a climber looking for an impressive view of the Central Wasatch, or just passing by this peak on your way to the Pfeifferhorn, stop and check out this mountian for yourself. Trust me it will be worth the 5 minute detour. 
Skinning up Red Pine Fork
Troy skinning up Red Pine Fork enroute to The Little Pfeifferhorn
2010 Fall Colors in Little Cottonwood Canyon
2010 Fall Colors from the Little Cottonwood Canyon Overlook

Getting There

Starting at the White Pine Trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon is the easiest route to the Little Pfeifferhorn. The trail is long (3.3 miles) but gradual (2,200 vertical feet) to the lower Red Pine Lake. If starting from the White Pine Trailhead start by crossing the Little Cottonwood Canyon river. About 1 mile in you will come up on the White Pine Fork river and the trail will split. Choose the right/upper path that crosses the river and continue hiking across White Pine Fork. Soon you will enter Red Pine Fork and get an excellent view down Little Cottonwood Canyon of the Salt Lake City Valley. Keep to this trail while it climbs up/across Red Pine Fork. At an old mine dump you will see a bridge. Do NOT cross the bridge. Keep hiking up Red Pine Fork until the Lower Red Pine Lake comes into view. From here climb up through the boulder fields to the upper Red Pine Lakes. Just before you reach the upper lakes an obvious ridge will lead you up to the summit ridge. From here make a right and the rest of the climb to the summit is simple and scenic.
North Cirque, Box Elder Peak, Utah
The mellow south facing terrain of the Little Pfeifferhorn (Dry Creek Canyon) with Box Elder Peak in the background. Photo Credit maranders
Point Release Avalanche in Red Pine Fork
Me skinning past an avalanche that covered the skin track 4-6 feet deep


Red Pine Fork and Maybird Gulch are both apart of the Lone Peak Wilderness area so snowmobilers and Wasatch Powder Bird Guides are thankfully not allowed here. With 600 inches of snowfall a year The Little Pfeifferhorn is a backcountry skiers paradise. The climb is easy, the runs legendary and the views of the Southern and Central Wasatch Range are breath taking to say the least.
Skiing The Little Pfeifferhorn
Troy skiing The Little Pfeifferhorn

Usually this peak is acended by the standard summer trail via Red Pine Fork. There are 3 main options for decent which are Maybird Gulch, Red Pine Fork and Dry Creek Canyon. The main Northeast Bowl back into Red Pine Fork can get tracked quickly but first tracks here is a must do for anyone backcountry touring in the Central Wasatch. Avalanches are a common threat on and around this peak. Be sure to use safe route travel. Always carry Beacon, Probe, Avalung, Shovel and take a partner with you during your winter travels. 
A backcountry no no
Two idiots breaking the Golden Rule of Backcountry skiing, which is, ONLY 1 at a time on the slope
Troy skiing Red Pine Fork
Troy skiing The Little Pfeifferhorn
Troy vs Little Pfeifferhorn
Troy heading out to drill some of the 1st and only holes of this years ice fishing season.
Lower Red Pine Lake
Me holding your average Cutthroat Trout at Lower Red Pine Lake


Both the Upper and Lower Red Pine Lakes offer outstanding fishing oppertunities. Although the fish rarely exceed 15 inches there are healthy populations of mainly Cutthroat Trout. Every now and then an angler finds a Brook Trout on the end of their line. Because of their mainly insect diet, and high elevation life style, their colors are absolutely beautiful, especially during the spring and fall spawn. Bait is allowed, and the trout limit is only 4 trout per day. A fishing licence is required in the state of Utah. Ice fishing is also possible for the most dedicated of anglers....and it is well worth the effort.
Troy vs Little Pfeifferhorn
Troy heading out to drill some of the 1st and only holes of this years ice fishing season.
Lower Red Pine Lake
Me holding your average Cutthroat Trout at Lower Red Pine Lake

Red Tape

NO Dogs
NO Snowmobiles
NO Groups bigger than 10 (without a permit)
NO Camping within 200 feet of any river, lake and/or trail
NO Fires
NO Swimming in any of the Red Pine and Maybird lakes