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Red Pine Lake - Including Lower and Upper Lakes - Utah, United States

by zielle  
with a Windows Mobile PDA
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Trip stats, data, and additional information can be found below this summary

The trip to Red Pine Lake can easily be enjoyed as a day hike, and is definitely one of the top places to visit each summer.  I've done it before, but it had been about 9 years and I didn't have the time or energy during that trip to hike up to the upper lakes.. which is a very rewarding experience.
So a buddy and I decided to make it a camping trip, with an ambitious goal of climbing atop the Pfeifferhorn the next morning.

This is a very well-used trail and begins high up in Little Cottonwood canyon, just below the ski resorts.  Two miles up comes the split for the Red and White Pine trails and a small rest area by the river.  This is where the trail really begins, and it hastily brings you around the side of the mountain so you can look out to the west and watch the road slowly vanish along with the last miniscule glimpses of civilization.  You won't be seeing them again at all on this journey, but you will have a much greater view of the Salt Lake once you make it to the top.

As with all good trails, the last stretch of this is certainly the most taxing.  The trail slowly fades away into a steep riverbed with multiple routes intertwining together as you continue up, and up.  But soon enough, you'll arrive at the posted rule sign which means you're only a few minutes away from the shoreline.

We set up camp on the eastern ridge overlooking the lake, next to a few large patches of snow and a stream.  I wasn't surprised to hear the sound of coyotes off in the distance shortly after midnight.. and the moose seemed to treat our camp area as a highway, trudging back and forth all through the early-morning hours.

My friend had a several-hour start ahead of me when I finally set off for the upper lakes at noon.  There is no real trail for this, and most people just have their own preferred method of reaching the top.  I found a place to scale up the mountainside which put me at the north-east corner of the first upper lake.  From there I had to boulder-hop around to the western side of the lake and over the waterfall that feeds down into the lower one.  This was NOT the quickest way to get up there by any means, but it worked.

I met up with my buddy in between the two upper lakes and we chilled and enjoyed the tranquil beauty for a while before heading back down to pack up camp.  We didn't make Pfeifferhorn (this time), but this was definitely the experience we were looking for.  The upper lakes are apparently so rarely ventured to that even during the peak of the afternoon, we saw not a soul -- and we were up there for at least a good few hours.

After finally getting all packed and geared up, we set off for the very bottom again.  And despite the irritating delays caused by my shoddy equipment and its issues, we made it back down to the parking lot in record time ... considering all the weight that came back with us.  It was an awesome experience and anyone who has not yet seen the beauty of Red Pine Like ought to do so as soon as possible.  Oh, and do this before you do White Pine Lake... trust me.

Information and Details

There is no track from the upper lakes *back down* to the camp site because my GPS unit's battery died and my spare was in the tent.  However, the estimate for this in the following charts are extremely accurate.

The lower Red Pine Lake itself was 230 degrees and .07 miles from where we camped, so you can subtract the .07 mi for accurate info to the lake's shore.

This data includes the missing track so disregard EveryTrail's Statistics reporting 8.7 miles.  That is incorrect.  Below is the complete trip information:

Entire Red Pine Lake Trip Stats (including upper lakes)

Length: 9.7 miles RT
Duration: 9 hours, 23 minutes, 50 seconds (we had 70 lbs of gear on our backs!)
Vertical Up: 5439 ft
Avg Climb per Mile: 1120 ft
Rating: 9.5

Lower Red Pine Lake Campsite (subtract .07 miles for just the lake)

Length: 8 miles RT
Duration: 6 hours, 48 minutes
Vertical Up: 3627 ft.
Avg Climb per Mile: 907 ft
Rating: 6.9

Hiking From the Lower Lake to the Upper Lakes (south of the first upper lake)

Length: 2.2 miles RT
Duration: 2.5 hours
Vertical Up: 1808 ft
Avg Climb per Mile: 1644 ft
Rating (only for the hike from lower red pine to upper and back): 4.1
There is plenty of water access throughout the entire length of the Red Pine Lake trail.  You should take this into consideration when packing your water.

As with all canyon trails running alongside rivers, the flies and mosquitoes are pretty intense.  Strong bug repellent is definitely needed.

Towards the end of the trail, a path will split off over a bridge to the right.  This is the way to Maybird Gulch.
Red Pine, White Pine, lake, Pfeifferhorn, Maybird Gulch, Little Cottonwood, canyon, wasatch
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Red Pine Lake - Including Lower and Upper Lakes
Comments (1)
Great Trip Report, Good Pics!
by anabisdelta9 on Oct 19, 2011
Trip Info
by zielle
July 14, 2010
Trip Location: Turramurra Lodge Condominiums, Utah, United States
Length: 8.7 miles
Duration: 8 hours
Activity: Hiking
Trip viewed 11,554 times
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