I am so thankful for friends that motivate me to get out and get hiking! This weekend my friend Jean asked if I wanted to go for a Sunday hike. We decided to leave the dogs behind and summit the Pffeiferhorn which is in Little Cottonwood Canyon, a watershed that doesn’t allow dogs. Peak bagging is one of my favorite things to do and I was happy to have Jean, and my friend Jaime, by my side since she had hiked it before. Otherwise, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have gotten lost or off track.
We parked at White Pine Trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which is on the right before you get to Snowbird/Alta. From here, you will hike approximately 4 miles to Red Pine Lake. This first section of the hike is in the trees so it was nice and shady. The water was really low at Red Pine Lake, but it’s beautiful and would be a great place to do an overnight backpacking trip. Disclaimer: you can’t see the Pffeiferhorn from Red Pine Lake!
From Red Pine Lake, hike on the trail that is on the left hand side of the lake. This trail is lined with patches of wildflowers. Once the trail leads back into the woods, it will become steep and exposed as you head up a rocky trail, towards the right, to the top of a ridge that you can see from Red Pine Lake. Keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, we saw a herd of approximately 7 of them! When you get to the top you will see the summit of Pffeiferhorn, Utah Lake, Mount Timpanogos and more. Here is the view looking back at Red Pine Lake (on the left) and a couple other small lakes. This was my favorite view-point during the whole hike.
Once you’re up on the ridge take the trail to the right. Within 10 minutes you will arrive at the most exhilarating part of the hike, the knife-edge spine. If you are afraid of heights, this might be hard for you. Navigate the spine by staying on top of the large boulders. It helps to have friends near-by as you navigate the spine, and spot you in tough spots but you won’t need any technical gear. Once you get across the spine you will see the trail that leads straight-up to the peak. From the other side of the spine, this looks straight up and almost impossible to climb. When you get closer, you will see that it’s really not that bad.
The views from the top are probably the best in the area and you can see for thousands of miles, since this is the third highest peak near Salt Lake City. It took us 6 hours total, was about 13 miles and was 3,750 feet of climbing. It was one of the most strenuous hikes I have done so make sure you pack plenty of snacks and water for this one!