Devil's Castle Summit

Albion Basin
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Wasatch Mountains - Salt Lake City, Utah

Devils Castle : 10,920'
The Sugarloaf : 11,051'
Hiking time : ~4 hours
Distance : ~2.5 miles
Difficulty : Short but Strenuous, Exposure

Albion Basin is only open from May until November.

Some say that Devil's Castle is the most exposed hike in the Wasatch. I don't know about that for sure, but it is very airy. And there are deadly drop-offs on both sides. If you aren't comfortable with heights, stop at Cecret Lake, a beautiful alpine lake in Albion Basin.

Albion Basin is known throughout the world by photographers, as one of the best spots to take pictures of wildflowers. The alpine area enjoys it's own springtime during July and August. That's when you'll see wildflowers everywhere.

Camping in Albion Basin:
If you like car camping next to screaming kids with loud parents, Albion Basin is just for you... Seriously though, I wish there wasn't car camping in Albion Basin, the car campers don't seem to respect natural areas.

It is Exposed on Top
I remember a couple years back a photographer fell off the south side of Devil's Castle. They say he got dizzy looking through his lens and lost his balance, but who knows. You can't make a mistake on top. If you fall, it will hurt for the rest of your life, all 10 seconds of it.

To Get to Albion Basin and Cecret Lake:
Follow Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to the very end. After passing Alta Ski Resort, you will pass a little ranger kiosk booth. There, they want to tell you the speed limit is 15 miles per hour. Continue on through the dirt road, it will curve back and forth. You will pass a parking area on your right, this is the trailhead to Catherine's Pass. Continue down the road, you will pass a 4-5 car overflow parking spot on your left, keep this in mind if the main parking area is full. Park and start hiking toward Cecret Lake, there are signs and maps along the trail. There are also lots of hikers to follow, if you get confused.

To continue to Devil's Castle from Cecret Lake:
There are two clear trails that leave Cecret Lake, one follows along Cecret Lake's east side and then on up to the switchbacks, the other starts by the drainage on the northeast side. The trail by the drainage is very overgrown, muddy and rocky at first. Eventually it finds it's way out and begins climbing up the ridge, it swings out eastward and then returns on it's course to the south and up to the switchbacks. A good pair of ski poles, or sticks will help you immensely through the steep switchbacks up to the top of the ridge.

Once on top of the ridge, you will notice that the rock is dark gray limestone. If you pay attention, you might find a marine fossil or two.

If you have time, hit the Sugarloaf as well, it's taller than Devil's Castle and it only takes about 15 minutes up from the ridge. There are many scenic trail systems below Devils Castle. One trail marches below the walls of Devils Castle before curving back north on the east side of Albion Basin. Many people erroneously take this trail on the way back because they get lost trying to get back to Cecret Lake. If you find yourself looking over a cliff edge, back up and find the right trail, which comes off the northern side of Cecret Lake.

Friday, July 26, 2008

Devil's Castle at the top of Albion Basin


Indian Paintbrush wildflowers below Devil's Castle

From the switchbacks up to the top of the ridge looking north down to Cecret Lake.

Sunset Peak

From atop the ridge to Devil's Castle looking northeast toward the Uinta Mountains.

Looking northeast toward the Uinta Mountains
Kletting Peak, A-1 Peak, Hayden Peak, Agassiz Peak, Bald Mountain.

American Fork Twin Peaks, the highest point in Salt Lake County.
These are the peaks atop Snowbird Ski Resort.

From near the beginning of the scramble up Devil's Castle,
Looking south toward Mount Timpanogos.

Looking northeast over Albion Basin

Looking north over Little Cottonwood Canyon and on into the northern Wasatch.

From the southern peak
looking northeast toward the middle and northern peaks of Devil's Castle.
Clayton Peak (Mount Majestic) can be seen in the background.

From the middle peak of Devil's Castle looking west toward the southern peak.
Behind is American Fork Twin Peaks, the Hidden Peak Tram
and behind is Thunder Mountain.

Looking back up some of the rock scrambling to the southern summit.

Walking back down the Devil's Castle Ridge looking west toward
Box Elder Peak and American Fork Twin Peaks.

Looking back at the firey, embered rocks of Devil's Castle

Mount Timpanogos, the summit is on the right.

The Sugarloaf and Cottonwood Ridge

Looking south as the lightshow hovers above Provo Peak,
Cascade Peak and Mount Timpanogos.
In the foreground on the left is Mill Canyon Peak.

American Fork Twin Peaks

Lone Peak (Far right) and North Thunder Mountain (Far left)

Golden light

A lone cloud peers onward as the sun sets behind Cottonwood Ridge.
Monte Cristo is the highpoint in this image.

Mount Timpanogos
To the left is Provo Peak and Cascade Peak, to the right is Box Elder Peak.

Blood red clouds usher in the night.

Looking southwest toward Box Elder Peak.

Cottonwood Ridge

Looking south toward Mount Timpanogos.
Below, Pittsburg Lake reflects the magenta clouds.

Looking north down the northern reaches of the Wasatch

Looking north as the light fades to black.

For a video of a first person view of a hike to all three summits:
Devil's Castle Summit Hike Video

For more pictures of this area:
Albion Basin Pictures

For a video of a mountain goat hanging out near the summit of Devil's Castle
Mountain Goat Video

Thanks to Ivan


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© Copyright 1999-2019 Dale Meier, unless otherwise credited. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.