Brighton Ski Resort
Big Cottonwood Canyon
*No official name.
To get there:
There are at least 5 ways to get to Pioneer Peak:
Ways to get there:
There are at least 5 routes to Pioneer Peak:
Albion Basin in Little Cottonwood Canyon via Catherine's
Pass and Sunset Peak.
Snake Creek from Midway City
Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon via Catherine's
Pass and Sunset Peak.
Brighton via 'Crest Express Lift' road from north
of Pioneer Peak.
Brighton via Pioneer Peaks northern spur ridge.
Pioneer Peak is a crystal white peak with views of 4
lakes in Brighton Ski Resort, Silver, Mary, Martha, and Catherine.
The peak is the most popular to photograph in the area, but
it is by far the least visited. Most people attempt it by going
to Sunset Peak first, but find themselves second guessing the
final decent and ascent to Pioneer Peak.Others have difficulty
finding the route from the Ski Lift on the northeasten end of
Crest Peak*. At first glance, it looks like there is no easy
way up without gaining the ridge, but there is a spur ridge
that offers a thin walkway to the top.
The area is abundant with wildlife. You can't look in any direction
without seeing a wildflower or two. It is common to see dozens
of ground squirrels. There were many interesting birds chirping
and singing along the way, including a woodpecker who pecked
his heart out trying to get a grubworm and a large red tailed
hawk, who was looking for a nice perch to finish his hard earned
The route we took was up the Northern Spur Ridge.
We started from the Brighton Ski Resort Parking Lot,
which is at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Park by the sign
with the big map on it on the eastern side of the parking lot.
There is a very clear trail that will take you on a one mile
hike up to Lake Mary. Proceed up this trail all the way to the
lake. You will know you are almost to Lake Mary when you see
the huge white wall or reservoir dam. Once you reach the lake,
you are about 2/3rds of the way there. From the lake, follow
the trail south, it will make a large S shaped switchback as
it climbs up the ridge toward Pioneer Peak. Once you get to
the top of this ridge, you will be able to look down to the
northeast and see Brighton Dog Lake.
To the south from this grassy ridge, you will see a steep, grassy
hill. You will want to cut left up this hill. See the picture
of this grassy hill below. There are only animal trails up the
hill, and it is very steep, but it isn't too hard. You are likely
to see more deer tracks than people tracks along this route.
An even shorter route would be to go via the Brighton Dog Lake.
To get there, follow the directions above but, about half way
to Lake Mary, there is a sign on the trail that has directions
to Dog Lake and Lake Mary. From there, follow the trail to the
left or east to Dog Lake. Before reaching Dog Lake there is
a faint trail that climbs up the steep hillside to the right.
Follow the trail or just climb up the hill cross-country until
you meet up with the trail from Lake Mary mentioned above. Then
you will cut up the grassy hillside also mentioned above.
This is prime time for the pollinating insects in the alpine areas.
Mr. Bumblesworth rushing franticly to get his nectar quota.
The flower contains nectar for the sole purpose of attracting bees.
A very old relationship.
Time to unload the pollen sack, Charlie.
There's only room for one bee on this bud, buddy.
Lupine wildflowers stretching their petals in the sun.
Nothing's better than laying out on a golden wildflower on a sunny
Lady Bug watching carefully for any pests, even on her day off.
Milkweed nectar feast
Lupine flowers near Lake Mary
Interesting granite... monozonite strata that has been uplifted...
or just parallel cleaving.
The northern spur ridge of Pioneer Peak.
From here, you cut up the narrow hill to the left of the trail, to
get to Pioneer Peak.
You always hear woodpeckers in this area.
I wonder if they ever get headaches.
From the thin ridge up to Pioneer Peak looking north toward Dog Lake,
not to be confused with the Dog Lake found between Big Cottowood and
They could rename this lake to Moose
Lake and there would be less confusion.
Wildflower Fest 2008
Letting it bee.
Busy bumble bee filling up her pollen satchels.
Can you see her probiscus or tounge?
Is there something in her grips below?
Red Tailed Hawk
This was a very large bird, he landed right in front of me.
He was just trying to find a place to eat his kill.
You can see the remains of a squirrel in his clutches. Notice the
blood on his stomache.
When he landed, he thumped it against the side of the log.
He only stayed there for about 5 seconds. I was lucky to get a picture
Looking south towards the summit of Pioneer Peak.
From the summit of Pioneer Peak looking west toward Mount Wolverine.
Looking northeast toward the Uinta Mountains.
Hayden Peak, Spread Eagle Peak, Bald Mountain, Agassiz Peak, Explorer
Looking northeast toward Clayton Peak.
In the distance is Kletting Peak in the Uinta Mountains.
Looking south toward Devils Castle.
Looking west down Cottonwood Ridge.
The tall peak in the middle is Monte Cristo.
From the far left to the right, Sunrise Peak, Dromedary Peak,
and at the western end of Cottonwood Ridge is Twin Peaks.
Looking north down the Wasatch Mountains.
Lake Martha and Lake Mary in Brighton Ski Resort.
From near the summit of Pioneer Peak looking west.
Lake Mary, it should be called Mary Reservoir.
Before they built the dam (Visible on the far right), there were two
Mary and Phoebe.
Uranium ore near the top of Pioneer Peak.
There is a mine right to the left of this boulder.
This is the real color of the rock.
Looking south toward Sunset Peak.
In the background is Mount Timpanogos.
Indian Paintbrush Wildflowers.
Looking northeast toward Clayton Peak as the sun drifts below the