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Climbing Pfeifferhorn: 3rd tallest in Utah

Updated: Oct 9, 2018

This hiking thing is a love hate. Rarely do I wake up thinking, "oh all I want to do today is hike" but due to FOMO I decided I would have a go at Utah's 3rd largest peak, Pfeifferhorn. Apparently this peak has a nickname of "Little Materhorn" which I should have realized and taken a hint. It is about a 3 mile hike in to Red Pine Lake where we camped for the night then 1.5 miles in the morning to summit. Sounds doable right? It's a 3,800 ft gain so get on the stair stepper before if you get a chance. Pack your protein bars because the scramble at the end that goes straight up can be a whole different beast. I was on a #juicecleanse when I did this so I was not the happiest of campers and I almost turned around and went back to the car. Needless to say, it was amazing and if you are looking to take advantage of Utah's playground, you have to put this one on your list. 


Pfeifferhorn Trail Stats

Miles: 9 miles round trip from Tanner Flat Campground Total Hiking Time: 8-10 hours Summit Elevation: 11,326 feet Total Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet Rating: Difficult Trail Type: Out and back Permits/Fees: None required



Drive up Little Cottonwood and park at Tanner's Flat Campground. You will start at White Pine Lake Trailhead, it's a steady incline but make sure you stop to see the valley on your right. If you time it right, you will get emotional watching the sunset over the city, we did. 

When you get to a fork, make sure you take the skinny trail on the right that says "Red Pine Fork", the jeep trail to the left won't be any help. Cross the bridge over the river then follow that trail straight to Red Pine Lake. It should take about 2-3 hours depending how fast or slow you are. We hiked in at night and I was hoping for some flat trail but you better believe it ascends all the way to the lake. There are camping spots as you first come to the lake but if you take the trail to the left, there are more spots on the other side of the lake. We got in about 10 pm so we just put our tarp out and slept under the stars. 

Swarms of mosquitos woke us up in the morning and we instantly threw on our shoes and headed up the summit. There's a trailhead but we kind of missed it and went for the scramble to the top of the ridge. Once you get up there you will see the trail that gets you to the top, it looks straight up. Don't be intimidated, go for it. Once you climb up there, you have views of Utah County, Salt Lake County and even Park City. It made every mosquito bite worth it. 

Make sure you pack light. I took my Pa'lante pack with me and it was perfect. It's a thru hiking pack which weighs 16 ounces but is a 40 L pack. Talk about ratios. I definitely don't count my ounces when getting ready for a weekend trip but it's really nice bring extra goodies when your pack is about as heavy as AIR. It looks flimsy but we took this thing out for 3 months across South America and Europe and it's still in action. It easily fit our sleeping gear and food but kept us moving fast because compared to other backpacking packs, it feels like a Jansport (RIP rollie backpacks). Pa'lante was started by two #local #boiz who have conquered just about every mountain so I figured supporting local biz was a win win. Don't let their lack of words fool you, these guys are hiking goals. 



  • Juicing and hiking don't mix, amateur move.

  • People had head nets on for the mosquitos, those could be rad.

  • Sleeping on tarp is great until it rains. Make sure to wrap yourself like a burrito if it does. 

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