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Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn in Little Cottonwood Canyon is a peak baggers dream! This peak sits at an elevation of 11,329 ft!

About

The trail follows forested route that passes an alpine lake, Red Pine Lake, before reaching the ridge, and then hiking across a knife-edge right before the summit!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn is NOT for the beginner hiker. This 11 mile hike is long and steep, and generally requires a full day to complete. You should be comfortable hiking across big boulders along the ridge. For many people, this is a turning point where they decide not to continue. However, it is really not that bad and I highly recommend you go with someone who has done it before to show you the way. While the knife edge itself is not steep, I would consider this a class 3 scramble since all fours are needed. Everything you carry should be tucked inside your pack so things don’t fall out.

The best time of year to hike to the Pfeifferhorn is generally June through October. Dogs are NOT allowed in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) at all, so leave the pups home for another hike.

Directions

From the mouth of LCC, drive up 5.3 miles and turn right at the sign for the White Pine TH. Here’s a driving map. Arrive before 530am on weekends to get a parking spot, otherwise you can park along the main road.

Trail Info

Distance: 11 miles RT
Elevation gain: 3500 ft
Time: 7- 9 hours
Dog friendly? No, dogs are not allowed in LCC at all due to watershed laws
Kid friendly? Ages 12+ with peak bagging experience
Fees/Permits? None

 

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

The trail starts behind the port-a-potty, and you will follow a very wide old dirt road for the first mile.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

When you reach the first trail split, stay right and the trail curves around the big brown sign.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Cross the bridge!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

First group shot of the morning at the Lone Peak Wilderness sign! Mack and I did NOT plan on matching with out neon yellow shorts lol! We got lots of comments about them being bright….please keep those to yourself – they’re not funny.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

The trail is pretty well shaded under Aspens.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

After you hike up a few switchbacks the trail gets steep.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Second trail split – stay straight for Red Pine Lake & the Pfeifferhorn!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

The trail turns into what feels like steep stair climbing. Big steps, over medium sized boulders.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Red Pine Lake! But we’re not done…continue to the other side of the lake to keep following the trail for the Pfeifferhorn. From here, you will basically be aiming for just below the peak in the distance along the ridge in the sun.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

On the other side of the lake cross the really small stream.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

There are several trails but keep to what seems like the main one and look for shoe prints. If you’re not sure where to go, there’s typically always people hiking this since the Pfeifferhorn is so popular and you can tag along with others.Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

The trail is pretty steep, but stays in the shade, especially if you start really early.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

You’ll come to this spot where you can now see the ONLY clearly defined trail ahead. Up to this point, the trail is not this well traveled looking. DO NOT GO STRAIGHT! Turn right, and follow the spine-ridge leading up to the trees. You will see a dry pond to the left. This is how you will know when to turn right (West).

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Thought the trail was steep before? Now it’s extra steep as you make your way up this spine to meet the next ridge.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

You will start to get really good views of the area. I put my poles away in my pack at this point so that I could use my hands if needed.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Finally up on the main Little Cottonwood Canyon ridge! Now you should be able to see Utah Lake, Mt.Timpanogos, and Box Elder Peak!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Turn right and follow the trail.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

This is where the fun begins – the knife edge. Make sure you put everything in your pack that could potentially fall out, as well as your phone and poles. You WILL need to use all-fours.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

I highly recommend wearing compression socks – they will save your calves on this steep hike!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Stay high on the ridge – the lower you drop the more sketchy it gets plus you will just have to hike right back up. Gloves are useful to protect your hands.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Once past the ridge, the next section is also quite steep but turns to dirt. Slowly work your way up, leaving some space in between people in case you kick rocks down accidentally. Always alert others if you do kick rocks out.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

On the summit of the Pfeifferhorn woot woot! This is looking South West.

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

The “famous” spot to get your picture on the summit of the Pfeifferhorn. This is looking East.Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

I never leave home without my ZOLEO satellite communicator! You never know when or if something will happen, plus its always good just to check in my partner to let him know we made it ok!

Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

On the way back down we stopped by Gloria Falls – a great way to end the day after summiting the Pfeifferhorn!

Check out my video!

Trail Map

My track via Gaia GPS – the best tracking app! Get your app here for a discount.

 

Recommended Gear

Nearby Hike

Hiking to Lone Peak via Cherry Logging Trail

Hiking to Lone Peak via Cherry Logging Trail

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Hiking to the Pfeifferhorn, Little Cottonwood Canyon

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