Red Pine Lake Trail
The incredibly scenic Red Pine Lake Trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon takes hikers up a steep, sometimes rocky, trail for just over 2,000 feet to a high alpine basin surrounded by some of the Wasatch’s most iconic peaks. The shimmering green-blue, Red Pine Lake at the end of the hike and the stunning alpine scenery along the way draw thousands of hikers to this trail inside the Lone Peak Wilderness area every year.
Increasing pressure from hikers, steep, rocky terrain, and years of deferred maintenance combined to cause several sections of the trail to become highly degraded. Numerous side trails evolved through rocky sections. Because Little Cottonwood Canyon and its side drainages are a sensitive watershed area, this degraded trail was considered an erosional threat to water quality. The Salt Lake Ranger District, of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, identified the Red Pine Lake Trail as high priority for rehabilitation, and worked alongside Trails Utah in planning the project.
Trails Utah secured grant funding in 2018 to do heavy maintenance and some reroutes of the Red Pine Lake Trail which was completed in 2019. Trained hand crews from the Utah Conservation Corps spent several weeks during the summer working alongside Forest Service crews to get this needed project accomplished. The result of this work is a new, more sustainable trail section with flat, even tread that now switches back through majestic stands of fir and aspen, allowing for fantastic views up to peaks and ridges all around. Enjoy!