It's that magic time of year in the Rocky Mountains, that time when the mountain meadows burst into colorful, lovely life. The alpine flowers reach through beyond their long winter nap as the snow finally begins to melt at the higher elevations, reaching towards the warm sun and the melt water that runs freshly. Everywhere you look, the meadows are abloom. The summer flowers arrive and are a feast for your eyes and for butterflies.
We went to Albion Basin July 8th, and we were told that the flowers still needed another week or so to be fully abloom, but we were more than satisfied with the display that was on display. The drive up the mountain, through Little Cottonwood Canyon and up Albion Basin Road, itself was worth the trip even if there weren't any wildflowers to see at the end.
There was a rushing stream to the right paralleling the road that provided a wonderful soundtrack for the experience. We could hear the rushing water as we hiked as well, crossing seasonal streams and rivulets several times. We saw people fishing as we drove and will have to return to try the fishing there ourselves.
We passed the various ski resorts and noticed the advertisement for helicopter skiing ("because it's all about the experience.") Alta, Utah is the small town at the end of the road, above 9000 feet.
There are two parking lots beyond Alta on a dirt road. The road may not be paved but it was not a rough ride at this time of year. I don't know if it's any different at other times. We parked in the second lot, which is a campground with bathroom facilities. There are several trails that you can hike from here. Some longer than others.
The hike to Cecret Lake (yes, that is the correct way to spell it) is one mile one way but fairly easy. Keep in mind that easy is not so easy when you are above 9000 feet. Besides potential breathing difficulties, the sun is very hot even if temps seem like it should feel cooler, and the climate is arid.
These really are wildflowers even though they look like someone must have planted them. They are profuse, colorful, and of all sorts of shapes and sizes. The photos posted here are only a sampling of what we saw on our hike. Enjoy the photos! If you want to make my day, ask me to come with you to photograph them some more. Please do not pick them!
Recent weekends at Albion have seen thousands of visitors. This article reports that on one day alone, Albion Basin had 1800 visitors! (https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45230130) Week days are much better but be prepared for other people who also want to see the scenery. We were recently at Maroon Bells (Aspen, CO) also and you could only view the flowers if you took the bus up the mountain - again, thousands of visitors. There were also crowds at Rocky Mountain National Park (of course), but not quite so bad.
ps - It's always a magic time of year here. Wildflowers in summer, golden aspen in autumn, sparkling snow in winter, and the pale, bright greens of spring.