Backpack Lake Catherine and Bag Sunset Peak

Utah Lake Catherine Trail

  • Activities:

    Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1200 Feet

Lake
Scenic

Lake Catherine is a great trip for beginning backpackers. Set up your campsite right near the lake (remember to camp responsibly). For a short day hike, head to Sunset Peak (2 miles roundtrip).

Any chance to get into the backcountry of the Wasatch Mountains is worth it. Many people day hike in the area, but not very many backpack in. The trail meets up with the Great Western Trail and overlooks Lake Catherine. The best place to camp is in the woods next to the lake. Hike down to the lake using the main trail and spot a faint trail on your right that leads to a bunch of trees. You’ll find a rock pit to make a fire and plenty of flat ground to pitch a tent.

Once you have your camp set up, this is a great place to start exploring. I would highly suggest making the hike to Sunset Peak which is about 2 miles roundtrip. You’ll be rewarded with wide open vista views overlooking Lake Catherine, Lake Martha and Lake Mary below. Hike back up the way you came until you reach the ridge. Follow the trail along the ridge as it climbs toward the summit of Sunset Peak. Come back the way you came to get back to camp.

This is a great trail for beginner backpackers. The trail to Lake Catherine is 1.5 miles one way. Sunset Peak from Lake Catherine is 2 miles roundtrip and is a little more strenuous, but the views are worth the effort.

Once you're back to the car, head to Porcupine Pub & Grille (3698 Fort Union Blvd). It's a great place to stop after any adventure in the Cottonwood Canyons.

Getting there - There is a dirt road at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon that takes you to the trailhead. After about 2 miles on the dirt road you’ll reach a small parking lot with bathrooms on your right. Park there and the trailhead is across the dirt road. 40.583177, -111.618092.

Pack List

  • Backpacking gear
  • Camera
  • Water and Filter
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Reviews

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I did the hike in mid August and there were a surprising amount of wildflowers! The trail up to Lake Mary and Lake Catherine is very moderate and is covered with beautiful wildflowers. Sunset Peak was also worth the short hike. You get really incredible views both of BCC, LCC, and into Park City. It was really pretty!

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

I love this trip. I enjoy fishing and this was a great lake to do It at. I would use a clear bobber with a swivel on below it. Put some thin leader on the other side of the swivel. On the leader I would use a small dark ant fly or parachute Adams or a small caddis fly. That is what I use but almost any fly works. I caught a few nice brook trout. Have fun and good luck fishing!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Ug

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This was a great beginners backpacking trek! Took us about an hour and a half (we like to stop and take photos quite a bit). We went early July, and once the sun set, it got a bit chilly. But it was gorgeous! Utah is so green this year, thanks to the late rainfall. The only downside to this hike would probably be that it is very popular, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try this hike midweek.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Lindsay Daniels

I am a photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I shoot landscapes, and adventure lifestyle, as well as documentary style stories through both stills and motion. Find me on social media @lindsaydanielsphotography.

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