I wanted to share a few photos that I took on a recent (10/03/10) hike to Red Pine Lake, located in the Lone Peak Wilderness Area of Little Cottonwood Canyon. I found some really helpful information and directions for the hike here.
I started my hike at 10:00am on October 3rd (a late start, I know, but what can I say? It was a Sunday so I let myself sleep in a little). The weather in the city that day was unusually high for October in Salt Lake at 85 degrees, but the temperatures on the trail were comfortable. The sun was shining and there were only a few clouds in the sky. Most of the trail was shaded too, so that helped quite a bit. The weather, mixed with the fantastic fall colors made this one of the better hikes I had been on this year (and I have been on quite a few).
The trail is very well maintained and starts out fairly easy. It’s a good thing too, because my attention wasn’t on my feet, but on the amazing scenery and fall colors. The aspen were a brilliant yellow gold, complimented by the crisp green of surrounding pine. I couldn’t help but stop every few hundred yards to snap another photo – also, I just bought a new camera so I was eager to test it out. I finally decided that if I didn’t put the camera away, I’d never make it to the lake, so I packed it away and began making some progress in actually moving toward my destination.
After a short distance, the trail splits between White Pine and Red Pine. I took the right-hand route to Red Pine Lake. From here, you begin to gain elevation. There were two sections that were fairly steep, but they didn’t last too long. There are plenty of places to stop along the way if needed to catch your breath, get a drink, and enjoy the views. The hike to the lake is approximately 3.5 miles. You cross a few streams here and there and near the top you have to climb a little bit over some exposed boulders and rocks. Once you get to Red Pine Lake, you can continue on to Upper Red Pine Lake or for those that are really adventurous, you can even take this route to continue on to Pfeifferhorn. I hadn’t set out for such an adventure though, so I decided instead to stop at the lake and eat my lunch. The weather was perfect, the lake was calm, and my lunch was particularly good, because I felt like I had earned it. After taking about thirty minutes to enjoy the lake and my lunch, I headed back. By the time I reached the parking lot, the hike had taken me three hours total. Overall, this was a great trail and a great hike. As an avid hiker, I am never happy to see summer end, but this hike eased my min about the changing of the seasons and now, I can even look forward to winter because I have added this trail to my list of places I’d like to snowshoe.