Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Brighton Lakes, Utah

Lakes Catherine (near), Martha (middle), and Mary (far) from Sunset Peak.  Lakes Dog and Silver are barely visible.  July 2017.
     The Brighton Lakes hike to Sunset Peak was a last minute decision for me, and it became my first true "summit" for me, Sunset Peak tops out at 10,640ft.  From the Brighton Ski Resort its roughly 2.5mi with about 2,000ft of elevation gain to the Peak.  Its a very pleseant hike, and while Lake Mary gets super crowded, the lakes above get progressively less and less busy and by the time you reach the peak there is basically no one.  I did this hike the morning of the 4th of July 2017 and saw a couple dozen people at Mary, a hand full at Martha, three at Catherine, and five at the top. 

Lake Mary, July 2017
     Lake Mary is the first lake to be reached.  Its the largest, albeit the only man made lake.  This lake is part of the Salt Lake water supply and posted signs ask that you dont bring pets or swim in the lakes.  The hike to Lake Mary from Brighton is about a mile and climbs about six hundred feet.  Its a very obvious worn trail up to the lake.  At the lake the trail levels and climbs gradually up to Lake Martha.

Lake Martha, July 2017
     Past Martha the trail switch backs up the saddle to the east and then continues its steady climb up to Lake Catherine.  The trails become less and less defined and more varied.  One can follow along Catherine or go high.  Either way one eventually climbs another several hundred feet up to Catherine Pass, at 10,200ft.

Lake Catherine with Sunset Peak behind it, July 2017.
     From the top of Catherine Pass, heading east the trail follows the ridge line and then drops suddenly down towards Alta to the south.  Here you keep along the ridge line west and the trail climbs a very steep final 400ft to Sunset Peak where one is rewarded with an impressive and expasive view in 360 degrees.  To the north are the Lakes and Brighton, south looks into Albion Basin and Alta and eventually Mt. Timpanogos.  To the east is Heber City.  It is very much worth the hike.

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