Cecret Lake Hike

Just a heads-up for 2022: there is construction in this area, so sometimes the road and trail will be closed. There is no way to know when it is open and closed, so it might be better to try this one next year. Post where I saw the info: Facebook post.

We’ve had our eye on the Cecret Lake hike for quite awhile now. It’s short, rated “easy” by most books and websites, and it ends at a beautiful lake. This hike is not really a secret, so make sure to hike at off times and arrive early for parking.

Cecret Lake


First of all, this hike is all the way to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Albion Basin. Parking is extremely limited. There are only about 50 parking spots. In fact, there is a gate where you will be told lots of rules about not parking on the road. On the weekends, they will ask you to take the shuttle rather than try to park. Parking alongside the road anywhere is strictly forbidden, and they are serious about it. There was a snippy lady that told us we couldn’t even pull to the side and wait for a car to leave, but that we had to turn around and drive back! Of course, it was Saturday morning, which is probably their busiest time.

We recommend doing this hike on a weekday and earlier in the day seems to be better than later. We luckily found a parking spot. The shuttle operates on weekends and holidays from 9-5:30 and stops every 30 minutes.

The Cecret Lake Trail

The Cecret Lake hike starts at the campground, and it is definitely beautiful. You will wander through alpine meadows under the ski lifts and up rugged faces to the lake. As for it being rated “easy” we think it leans more toward “moderate.” It is nearly a vertical climb for most of the 1 mile to the lake and it is a bit dusty and rocky. Also, if your looking for a secluded getaway hike, avoid Cecret Lake. It’s certainly not a secret! It’s more like Grand Am Central Station. We probably saw 100 other hikers on the trail when we hiked on Saturday. When we tried this hike again on a weekday, we saw fewer hikers, but it was still busy, and every parking spot was taken.

Cecret Lake
The parking lot is right next to this sign. You’ll head over past the campground entrance, cross the bridge, and head up the trail.
This is the start of the hike.
This is the start of the hike.
The wildflowers are beautiful!
The wildflowers are beautiful in July and August!
The trail is beautiful. We enjoy the hike as much as the lake.
The trail is beautiful. We enjoy the hike as much as the lake.
The entire trail is very scenic since it is so high in the mountains.
The entire trail is very scenic since it is so high in the mountains.

Despite the traffic, we did see some wildlife. The boys chased squirrels and chipmunks, a yellow-bellied marmot sunned itself on a rock near us, and a hummingbird flitted about the meadow. Most interesting of all was the wildlife at the lake. In the water were tiger salamander larvae. They looked like a cross between toads and salamanders with frilly “hairs” all around their necks. Our boys spent awhile watching them. Lots of people tell us they have seen moose on this trail, so keep your eyes open. We saw deer, but no moose on this trail. We have seen moose in this canyon on the Snowbird Observation Point Trail.

We spotted this Least Chipmunk right at the beginning of our hike.
This Least Chipmunk was right at the beginning of our hike.
We saw the Yellow Bellied Marmot playing by the rocks near the trail.
We saw the Yellow Bellied Marmot playing by the rocks near the trail.
We couldn't figure out what this was at first, but it's a Tiger Salamander larvae.
Keep an eye out for the Tiger Salamander larvae.

The lake is beautiful, but wading and swimming are forbidden because Cecret Lake is a main source of Salt Lake’s drinking water. We liked this hike, and though our 3 year-old had to be carried much of the way, we’d do it again. The trail does climb up to the lake, but if you take it slow, we saw lots of young kids making it to Cecret Lake. Right at the end, you will climb up a few switchbacks and this is where there are lots of rocks and shale, so watch your little ones here.

Cecret Lake 2
There are a few river crossings in July. Very easy crossings, but water just the same.
Cecret Lake 3
It is an uphill climb, but a beautiful trail.
Cecret Lake 4
At the top of these switchbacks is a beautiful secret lake!
Cecret Lake 5
The lake is more green than blue.
Cecret Lake


Take Little Cottonwood Canyon road to the very end. You will come to a booth where the pavement ends. The summer road begins here and is dirt. You’ll follow it for 2.5 miles to the end and Cecret Lake parking is here. The Summer Road opens near the beginning of July. You will want to check when it’s open or you will end up hiking the 2.5 miles of dirt road to get to the trailhead.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Audree


    I can’t seem to find any information anywhere else about Cecret Lake being closed. Does that mean the entire hike is closed? Or just approaching the lake is blocked off?

    Also, your hyperlink to “check” (Discover Alta) 404s.

    Thanks for all the info!

  2. LaurieAlder

    Natalie–you are amazing to bounce back from a C-section so quickly!