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Hiking Devils Castle, Utah: Your Complete Guide

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Article Categories: Hiking

Devils Castle is located above Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It has a relatively straightforward option for hikers, as well as a technical ridge that will get your heart going (Devils Castle Traverse). Here’s everything you need to know about this peak. This is one of our favorite hikes in this area due to the fun scrambling, large cliff drop offs, and incredible 360 degree views.

Distance – 4.08 miles round trip (6.6 km)
Height – 10,850 feet (3307.1 m)
Elevation gain – 1,796 feet (547.4 meters)
Duration –  3.5 – 4 hours
Difficulty – Difficult
Hike Class: “Easy Route” is Class 2 hiking, ridge traverse is Class 5
Trailhead Locations – Cecret Lake Trailhead (other options below as well)

Quick Navigation:
Routes | Trail Map | Lodging Info | Weather | Directions | Pictures

 

Need To Know Information

  • Dogs are not allowed on this hike.
  • Best hiking season: Late June (after the snow melts) through first snowfalls, usually early to mid October.
  • Swimming is not allowed in any of the lakes in this area.
  • The easiest route (starting from the upper trailhead) requires paying for a day parking pass. Options are explained below.
  • There is overflow parking on the road (explained below).
  • Camping is common, and there are no fees or permits required. Camping information and regulations below.
  • This summit is high and exposed to the elements, if poor weather is coming in, avoid the summit.
  • Camping is common, as there are campgrounds near this lake. Camping information and regulations below.
  • The route options below are from the upper trailhead, we will explain below that parking lower will add mileage and elevation gain to your hike.
  • Either route takes hikers past Cecret Lake, a popular destination. Many hikers also want to combine Sugarloaf Peak into this hike.

 

Devils Castle Traverse

For the adventure seekers that want to travel the ridgeline of Devils Castle, this is your route. We want to warn those afraid of heights, or without much scrambling experience, this route has a lot of exposure to big cliffs where falls would be fatal. The route is considered class 5.

 

Full Traverse Stats

9.9 miles round trip (15.9 km) – 3,933 feet (1198.8 meters)

Hikers begin at the Cecret Lake Trailhead but head towards the road as opposed to the trail to Cecret Lake. The road heads all the way up to Point Supreme. From point supreme, hikers simply follow as close to the ridge as possible. From the ridge, hikers start to experience class 3 scrambling at various points and need to find there way around rock spires, trees, loose dirt, and more. The going is relatively slow, the trail isn’t a maintained trail, but rout finding is easy as hikers are basically staying along the ridge, and following what often appears as the most traveled parts of the terrain around them.

Hikers will begin experiencing sections where using your hands are required, but most of this remains quite straightforward, even though some larger drops on either side become present.

Quite simply, the ridge seems to progressively get more challenging and more beautiful. Areas cycle between easy walking and difficult scrambling before eventually hitting the most difficult parts of the trail. Hikers will be climbing up and over each of the major spires along the ridge. It looks terrifying from a distance, but does get a bit better when you are actually on the sections that look the scariest from the beginning. Images include here are to help you with route finding along the ridge.

Looking at the upcoming ridge

Views after point supreme looking towards the upcoming ridge where hiking gets more difficult.

Hiking along the ridge before getting to the main traverse features a lot of terrain like this.

Hiking along the ridge before getting to the main traverse features a lot of terrain like this.

Standing atop the first spire along the Devils Castle traverse.

Standing atop the first spire along the Devils Castle traverse. The hike to the first spire is a lot simpler than it looks from the distance, but caution is needed for just about every step on this hike from this spire until getting off of the traverse.

Epic views along the traverse

Epic views along the traverse

Incredible castle cliffs

Incredible castle cliffs from a viewpoint between the first rock spire and the second rock spire.

There are a few spots where different paths are possible, but some are clearly easier than others.

There are a few spots where different paths are possible, but some are clearly easier than others.

Excitement from friends along the ridge!

Excitement from friends along the ridge!

A funky but necessary move over a boulder along the traverse.

A funky but necessary move over a boulder along the traverse.

Down climbing section along the traverse. Hikers are exposed to a dangerous fall, but the terrain has great foot and hand holds for a slow and steady climb or descent.

Down climbing section along the traverse. Hikers are exposed to a dangerous fall, but the terrain has great foot and hand holds for a slow and steady climb or descent.

Devils Castle Traverse near the summit

Devils Castle Traverse near the summit.

Once hikers reach the final spire, the hike becomes a very straightforward hike. Hikers descend on the north side of the summit, dropping 20-30 feet before the trail cuts across to the south side of the ridge towards Sugarloaf Peak. From here, simply follow the obvious and well traveled trail back down to Cecret lake and out to the car.

Devils Castle Summit: Out and Back

Out and Back Stats

4.08 miles round trip (6.6 km) – 1,796 feet (547.4 meters)

This route is far simpler than the traverse. Hikers have several options towards Cecret Lake, and they tak ethe trail that goes east of Cecret Lake and heads up to the saddle between Sugarloaf Mountain and Devils Castle. This is well traveled and easy to follow, but doesn’t have any trail signs leading the way. Often, hikers will take a small detour to Cecret Lake, or to Sugarloaf Mountain when combining this route.

Hiking Devils Castle In Winter

Devils Castle is located above Brighton Ski Resort. This is not a winter hike, though there are those that ski off of portions of the mountain and nearby mountains.

Trail Map

Devils Castle (easy route)

We have created an online map of the easy route that doesn’t go along the traverse: Download The Route Here

Devils Castle Traverse

We have created an online map of the traverse loop: Download The Route Here

You can also look at our trail map image here:

Devils Castle Trail Map

Devils Castle Trail Map

Camping Info

There are campgrounds within Albion Basin that can be reserved when they are open. This campground contains 24 camping sites, each with picnic tables and campfire rings. Vault toilets are also on the premise. Information and availability can be found here.

Fishing Cecret Lake

Cecret Lake does have fish in it. With our most recent trip, the lake was drained, and therefore we suspect fish have died. We will release more information when we know regarding when this lake will be fishable again. This is a catch and release fishery.

Current Weather Conditions:

Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out local weather the morning of your hike.

Alta, UT

Today
A slight chance of rain and snow showers after 3pm. Sunny, with a high near 48. South southwest wind 14 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight
A chance of rain and snow showers after 9pm. Partly cloudy. Low around 32, with temperatures rising to around 34 overnight. South southwest wind 12 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Thursday
A chance of snow showers before noon, then snow showers likely and a chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy. High near 40, with temperatures falling to around 36 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 12 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Thursday Night
Snow showers likely and a chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. West wind 9 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Friday
Snow before noon, then snow and a chance of thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a high near 31. West southwest wind around 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Friday Night
Snow likely and a slight chance of thunderstorms before midnight, then snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Saturday
Snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 30. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Directions & Parking

The first trailhead is the lower trailhead that is free to park at. There is free parking along the main road, across the street, and in various locations. Parking is relatively easy, and marked, but the trailhead starts right behind the Alta Ski Shop. The most common trailhead is the Cecret Lake Trailhead which does require passing a gate, which is open on most weekdays and weekends. On these days purchasing a parking pass for the day can be done via the kiosk, or via a person managing the small building hut. Read the signs for any updates on the day you are there.

This is the Albion Base Trailhead:

The most common trailhead is the Cecret Lake Trailhead (usually requires purchasing day pass):

Hikers can also choose to park at the Catherine Pass Trailhead if they choose. This also requires a day pass. This trailhead is between the lower trailhead and the Cecret Lake Trailhead, and hikers can join the trail system from this parking lot:

Additional Pictures

Panoramic views of the Devils Castle Traverse

Panoramic views of the Devils Castle Traverse

Downclimbing the traverse

Downclimbing the traverse

Views of the traverse

Views of the traverse

Views to the north of the traverse

Views to the north of the traverse

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

2 Comments

  1. Max DesMarais September 17, 2023
  2. Max DesMarais September 13, 2023

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