Hike Mt. Superior and Monte Cristo

6.25 miles 2500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Sam Watson

Mt. Superior and Monte Cristo are Iconic Wasatch peaks with amazing panoramic views. The trailhead is easily accessible from Salt Lake City. 

Mt. Superior, and its close neighbor, Monte Cristo, are two of the most iconic peaks in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Looming over Alta and Snowbird Ski resorts from the north side of the canyon, these two peaks dominate the Little Cottonwood skyline. Mt. Superior tops out at 11,132 feet, and Monte Cristo at 11,040 feet.

Prime hiking season occurs when all the snow has melted off the trail, typically mid June through September. The trail begins in the Town of Alta (8,950 ft.) behind the Sheriff's office. It starts as a double track dirt road. After several hundred yards, a single track trail branches off to the left; this is the trail you will want to take.

The trail switchbacks several times, and leads to Cardiff pass, also known as Telephone Pole pass. This is due to a prominent telephone pole and associated telephone wires that crest over the pass. Once you are on Cardiff pass, head west along the ridge line. The trail is not as well defined in this section, but still easy to follow. Here hikers will be able to see that the ridge they are on leads directly to the summit of Mt. Superior. As hikers approach Mt. Superior, the terrain becomes increasingly steep and rocky. Some sections of trail become somewhat of a scramble, with a bit of exposure. It will be very apparent to hikers when they reach the summit of Superior. It is the highest point on the ridge at 11,132 feet. Hikers are rewarded with incredible 360 degree views of the Salt Lake Valley, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and the rest of the Wasatch Range.

To the west, the ridge drops into a saddle before ascending to an equally prominent, but slightly lower peak. This peak is Monte Cristo. There is only several hundred yards of scrambling that separate the two peaks, so summiting them in quick succession in very easy. The route back down is exactly the same as the route up. The higher, rocky sections of the Superior and Monte Cristo are a favorite habitat of mountain goats. These large, white creatures are amazing to see in person, and can easily be observed from the trail. Be sure to respect them in their environment, and do not attempt to approach them. The wildflower displays in July and August are not to be missed, and the fall colors in September and October provide amazing colors as well. This is exclusively a day hike. There are no good camp sites along the trail, not to mention camping is not allowed in Little Cottonwood except in designated sites. The hike only covers several miles, but gains over two thousand feet in elevation. Hikers should be comfortable with physical exertion, as well as scrambling with exposure. During late summer and fall, hikers can cap off their adventure with a brat and a beer at Snowbird's Oktoberfest, located around Snowbird's Tram Plaza.

Read More

Tags

Photography
Hiking
Food Nearby
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Fun Scramble, Amazing 360 View

Mt Superior is one of the most beautiful summits in the Wasatch. Some easy scrambling and steep rocky trails, but an experienced hiker should be perfectly fine on this trail.

Keep an eye out

Excellent description and even better trail. I've lived in salt lake my entire life and had never done this hike. I summitted around sunrise and it was spectacular. Definitely a good idea to know where you're going, though. The trail is easy to lose. But that shouldn't be a deterrent, just something to be aware of.

Stay Nearby

Sandy, Utah

The Cliff Lodge

Within walking distance to Snowbird’s pedestrian village, The Cliff Lodge offers comfortable lodging for the whole family or group. An on-site ski rental and repair shop and complimentary ski locke...

From $300/night

Albion Basin Road

Albion Basin

Overview Albion Basin Campground, just 15 miles from Sandy, Utah, is set among shady white pines and aspens in its beautiful namesake basin in Little Cottonwood Canyon at an elevation of 9,500 feet...

Salt Lake City, Utah

Walk To Lift! Cabin W/ Mountain View & Fire Pit

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Perched on the mountainside, this 1BR log cabin, affectionately named “The ...

From $225/night

Salt Lake City, Utah

Redman Campground

Overview Redman Campground is located in scenic Big Cottonwood Canyon at an elevation of 8,300 feet. Salt Lake City is conveniently close. Visitors enjoy hiking, biking and fishing.Recreation Hikin...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike and Scramble Mount Superior

    This is an intermediate to advanced hike. Scrambling up the ridge is more difficult but can be done by anyone with patience and a few maneuvering skills. It is best climbed in the summer months when the ridge is free of snow. However, it makes for...

    5 miles

  • Cross Country Ski Alta Ski Area's Nordic Track

    Drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon until the first entrance into Alta. Park in the Collins lift parking lot, throw your boots on, and head over to the nordic track. Its just next to the tow rope that runs through Albion Basin. Now thats left to do ...

  • Ski Little Cottonwood Canyon

    It's no secret that Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the lower 48, if not North America. What many people are not aware of is the extremely easy and quick access from Salt Lake City.Enter the Da...

  • Milky Way Astrophotography At Alta

    Early spring is a unique time to photograph the Milky Way due to its low angle and the distinctive perspective of its galactic core. The low angle position of the Milky Way arc during the early morning hours, prior to dawn, allows for some strikin...