The Catherine trail starts high in Little Cottonwood Canyon, climbs over Catherine pass and leads down to Catherine Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trail is a good day or overnight hike.
To access the trail head drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon past the Alta ski resort to Albion Basin. There are a few trailheads and parking areas in this area so keep your eyes open for the Catherine trailhead. It is the one of the first parking areas as you come into the Albion Basin area. You will be able to see the trail climbing to the east of the parking area.
The trail does most of the 900 ft. climb to Catherine Pass in the first third of a mile.
Not to worry after the switch backs the trail flattens out as it wanders through green meadows. The area around the trail is very pretty. I did this hike on a Friday evening in August and the trail was deserted and very peaceful.
After passing through the meadows the trail takes a short climb to Catherine Pass at an elevation of 10,240 ft. The trail you are standing on is now part of the Great Western Trail. If you want an even better view of the area (and you still have the energy) you can take the trail to Sunset Peak. It is about half a mile and 430 vertical ft. to the top. From Catherine Pass the trail descends into Big Cottonwood Canyon. Another half a mile and you will be hiking past lakes Mary, Martha, and Catherine. I camped the night at Lake Martha and started back in the morning for Albion Basin. The trail does continue on to Brighton ski resort.
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