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The upper section of Big Cottonwood Canyon is a glacier-carved valley with many side drainages that lead to picturesque alpine lakes. In the Brighton area you can access beautiful mountain lakes just a short jaunt from the highway. The elevation at Brighton's parking lot is 8,700 feet, so take it easy, rest often, and drink plenty of water. A beautiful hike is along the Brighton Lakes Trail past four alpine lakes and then ascending to Catherine Pass. From here you can choose to descend into Little Cottonwood's Albion Basin near Alta (but remember, you'll need a car for the 45-minute ride back to Brighton), or back along the Brighton lakes trail to Brighton. UT.
At Catherine Pass you have the option of continuing up to Sunset Peak, which, at 10,648 feet, is one of the most accessible summits in the Wasatch Range. It's another short grunt to the top, but well worth the effort for the unsurpassed, nearly 360-degree views. The breathtaking vistas include the Heber Valley, Park City, Mount Timpanogos, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and even a portion of the Salt Lake Valley.
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