Cardiff Peak can be accessed from Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons. I hiked it from Little Cottonwood Canyon. While I enjoyed this hike for one of my quicker peaks, it's certainly not as picturesque as some of the other peaks I've done this year. Cardiff Peak is also known as Pole Line Peak which is evident with all of the power poles along the way which really is distracting to the overall beauty if the hike.
Drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon past Alta's entry 1. Look for Shallow Shaft Restaurant on the left side of the road. Just past this restaurant is parking on both the left and right sides of the road which is about 8.2 miles from the Y junction at the bottom of the canyon. I parked on the left side as the trail begins on this side. Park here and walk down the road past the Shallow Shaft Restaurant. Take the short paved road by the Alta Police Station and the Our Lady of the Snows Church. The paved road changes to a gravel road which I followed around the police building. Follow the road to the snow study plot. There are bunch of ropes around this area which is a training area. Turn left past the plot. Watch for a trail sign pointing left. Here the trail is still wide but will narrow.
After a short climb on this part of the road, the trail sits on the left. The day I hiked, there was a small cairn marking this trail. At this point the trail narrows which is how I knew I was on the right trail.
There are a few rocky switchbacks before the saddle but the route is pretty direct. My favorite part of the hike is the short trail through the trees before the saddle.
It is short hike at only one mile each way and the summit can be reached in less than an hour. I was able to do the round trip in an hour and half and that included the ten minutes I spent stopping at the top and exploring the summit.
At the saddle, the trail continues on the left along the ridge line and past the pole. Don't be confused by the trail that is just below the ridge line. While it is possible to summit from this trail, it is not the right trail and will add a more treacherous climb at the end. I know, I did this but I walked across the ridge line on the way back. As with many peaks in Utah, the ridge line is rocky and can be treacherous. I wore trail running shoes for this hike but the rocky terrain at the top is not something I would run on.
Much of the trail is steep with a 1360 feet of vertical elevation gain that takes you to the top of the 10,277 foot peak.
The views from the top are amazing. To the south are Alta and Snowbird ski resorts.
|View of ski resorts from Cardiff Peak|
Mt. Superior can be seen directly west of Cardiff Peak and can be summited the same day for those who are more motivated than me.
|Mt. Superior from Cardiff Peak.|
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