Situated at an elevation of 9,500 feet at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Albion Basin sits above the Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort and is one of the most spectacular and renowned destinations in the Wasatch Mountains (and the US!) for wildflower Alta viewing.
The wildflower season in Albion Basin is world-famous and draws thousands of visitors to the summer slopes of the Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort. From early to mid-July through August, explosions of thousands of colorful alpine wildflowers fill the high-elevation meadows framed only by jagged mountain peaks, fragrant pine forests, and blue summer skies.
Over 120 species of wildflowers are found in the Wasatch mountain range and Alta’s colorful Albion Basin including mountain bluebells, vibrant red Indian Paintbrush, spikes of silvery lupine, purple columbines, rose-pink geraniums, bright yellow sunflowers, violet Wasatch Penstemon, and the white sego lily, Utah’s State Flower.
Walking through wildflowers in the Wasatch Mountains is a bucket-list experience for nature lovers, an experience that stimulates all the senses while reconnecting with friends, family and nature in a setting that is simply breathtaking. With only weeks remaining to the Albion Basin wildflower extravaganza, here’s our top tips on when and where to go wildflower viewing in Alta, Utah.
Where To Go Wildflower Viewing In Alta, Utah
The Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta Ski area appeals to all wildflower lovers! If you’re not a keen hiker you can drive the summer road up to Albion Basin and view the wildflowers from the parking lot at the top of Sunnyside lift near the Albion Basin Campground.
If you’re ready for a wildflower hike you’ll never forget with enough photo opportunities to fill up your phone – lace up your comfy hiking boots, grab a hat and load on the sunscreen (there’s not much shade in the meadows of Albion Basin), pack the bug spray (sorry, it’s summer in the mountains) – then head out on miles of wildflower trails in Alta’s iconic Albion Basin.
Alta Hiking Trails
In the Alta Ski Area, the Albion Meadows Trail is a favorite for wildflower viewing and is easily reached via the Lower Albion Meadows trailhead near Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge or the Albion Base Trailhead near the Albion Grill. These wildflower trails weave in and out of the Alta ski runs from the lower meadows to the upper meadows of Albion Basin with streams along the way, rugged alpine views, endless fields of wildflowers carpeting the landscapes, and the occasional moose!
The higher you climb in altitude, the more vibrant the display of wildflowers. Avid hikers can continue from the upper meadows of Albion Basin to Cecret Lake, a stunning alpine lake near the town of Alta. If you’re eager for more, continue on for a strenuous climb to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain, perched at an elevation of 11,000 ft overlooking the layers of wildflower meadows in Alta’s iconic Albion Basin.
Snowbird Resort Tram & Trails
At Snowbird Resort, the Observation Trail is ideal for families with little ones to experience the beauty of wildflowers with ease. For a bucket-list wildflower experience, take a scenic summer ride on the Snowbird Aerial Tram to the summit at Hidden Peak. Plan a little time to stop for a drink or lunch at the Summit Lodge atop Hidden Peak before walking the Wildflower Trail to the Snowbird Tunnel. You can ride back down on the Peruvian chairlift, or hike along the wildflower trails back down to Snowbird Center. The Snowbird Tram and Summit Lodge are scheduled to open July 15, 2022.
The Wasatch Wildflower Festival 2022
For the best wildflower experience in the Wasatch Mountains, plan to visit Alta-Snowbird during the amazing (and free!) Wasatch Wildflower Festival. The Wasatch Wildflower Festival began as a community effort in 1996 and is today a popular multi-day event hosted annually by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation.
The Wasatch Wildflower Festival celebrates the beauty and diversity of the wildflowers in the Wasatch range and is held over four days in the Cottonwood Canyons ski areas.
Saturday July 9th – Brighton Ski Resort, Big Cottonwood Canyon
Sunday July 10th – Solitude Mountain Ski Resort, Big Cottonwood Canyon
Saturday July 16th – Snowbird Ski Resort, Little Cottonwood Canyon
Sunday July 17th – Alta Ski Area, Little Cottonwood Canyon
Each event includes guided hikes with trained naturalists to learn about the ecology, natural resources, protected watershed areas, and colorful wildflowers indigenous to the Alta area. There’s a wildflower experience for every age and ability with easy, moderate and advanced hikes, or self-guided wildflower walks with a paper map or digital app. While the event is free, registration is required and some guided wildflower walks will require a Snowbird Tram ticket at your own expense.
Be sure to work up an appetite on your Wasatch wildflower walk as there is plenty of fun to follow with food, drinks and festivities at local restaurants, crafts and games for the kids, and live music amongst the Wasatch wildflowers. The Wasatch Wildflower Festival is so popular our small ski towns often sell out fast so plan well in advance!
Please respect the beauty of our protected areas and stay on the designated trails, don’t trample on or pick our delicate wildflowers (it may be tempting, but you’ll be heavily fined!), and finally leave no trace behind.
Where is Alta & Albion Basin
The Alta Ski Area and Albion Basin wildflower meadows are located only 45 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City on a scenic drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon Road. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, flying into Salt Lake City or planning a summer road trip, the town of Alta is easily accessible for a day trip, mid-week break or weekend getaway in the Wasatch wildflowers. Our Alta vacation rentals are also fully-equipped for a workcation trip with fields of blooming wildflowers for added inspiration!
Stay Near Alta’s Famous Albion Basin
Stay with Alta Chalets and you can hike through the Wasatch wildflowers right from your front door! The Alta Chalets team have been welcoming wildflower wanderers to the Wasatch mountains for over 30 years, we’ll guide you to the perfect home away from home, the best wildflower trails, and unique alpine experiences that will have you returning year after year.