Sunset Peak, one of the most accessible summits in the Wasatch, is one of several peaks along the ridgeline that terminates Big Cottonwood Canyon. This peak, while small, is very picturesque, offering fantastic views of the Brighton Ski area, as well as Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta's Albion Basin and American Fork Canyon. The open slopes are great for easily accessible backcountry skiing. This peak is also along the Brighton Ridge Run route and abuts Point Supreme and Catherine Pass, which have nice side trails and views themselves.
During the summer, the peak can be climbed via some vague use trails that follow the ridgeline from Brighton's Crest Express lift to Sunrise Peak. More commonly, the peak is hiked via a maintained trail that begins in Alta (Catherine Pass Trailhead).
Driving time from downtown Salt Lake City is approximately 50 minutes.
From I-15 southbound near downtown Salt Lake City, follow these directions
I-15 S toward LAS VEGAS/CHEYENNE. 8.3 miles
Take the I-215 exit- exit number 302- toward BELT ROUTE. 0.2 miles
Merge onto I-215 E via the exit- on the left- toward SKI AREAS. 5.1 miles
Take the 6200 SO. exit- exit number 6- toward SKI AREAS/SOLITUDE / BRIGHTON/SNOWBIRD / ALTA. 0.2 miles
Take the ramp toward SKI AREAS/SOLITUDE / BRIGHTON/SNOWBIRD / ALTA. 0.1 miles
Turn RIGHT onto UT-190 E/E 6200 S. Continue to follow UT-190 E. 1.6 miles
Turn LEFT onto E BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON RD/UT-190. 14.0 miles
End at Brighton UT
Alternatively, you can continue past the intersection with Big Cottonwood Canyon RD, and follow Wastach BLVD over to Little Cottonwood Canyon. Provided that you don't make any turns off of the main road, you will eventually drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon 8.3 miles to the Alta Ski Resort Lodge. To begin directly at the trailhead, one must drive past the lodge and up to the hikers parking in Albion Basin (see Red Tape Section).
None. Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon occasionally close due to avalanche dangers, but this is only during and immediately following some large snow storms.
If you are approaching from Little Cottonwood Canyon, you can park free in the Alta Ski lot, which is about 2 miles from the trailhead. If you want to start at the trailhead, you must continue up the road to Albion Basin. This road is closed in the winter, and a small fee of (TBA) is required to drive up it.
When To Climb
This peak is best climbed as a snowclimb or backcountry ski climb in late winter to early spring. It is best hiked in the fall once daytime temperatures are lower.
There are many walk-in campgrounds in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Alternatively, free camping is permitted in the nearby Mt Olympus, Broads Fork Twin Peaks, or Lone Peak Wilderness areas as long as it is done at least 100 ft away from trails.
Mountain ConditionsWasatch-Cache National Forest
Brighton Ski Resort
Utah Avalanche Center
The Avalanche Center
Wasatch Mountain Club
External LinksSilver Lake Trail