Crest Utah’s (Little) Matterhorn


The Pfeifferhorn, colloquially dubbed “Little Matterhorn,” is an isolated triangular goliath nestled within the Lone Peaks Wilderness Area. At 11,331 feet, this peak secures its position in the Wasatch Range’s 11,000-foot collective, and is an essential ascent for indomitable mountaineers seeking to test their endurance and unwavering grit.

By no means inaccessible to the standard seasoned hiker, this peak is doable with adequate resources and good judgment. Broken by numerous divergent paths, the route to the Pfeifferhorn alternatively yields access to several pristine alpine lakes for a shorter, less unnerving experience in the sticks.


The trail begins at the easily discernible White Pine Lake Trailhead, approximately 5.5 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon on the right side of the road. Continue along the trail until you reach the divergent path to Red Pine Lake about a mile in, and veer toward Red Pine Lake. Bug repellent is recommended while traversing the proceeding alpine forest.


With Red Pine Lake’s opalescent waters and sheer magnitude, it is an opportune place to seize your breath, have lunch or even call it a day and return.


From here, the trail becomes progressively fainter as you continue south to the ridge. This path is riddled with guiding cairns built by well-intentioned hikers. While one should always approach these markers with healthy skepticism, virtually any route on this section is justified.


When the incline has finally ended, you will reach the two remaining subsidiary alpine lakes, both unnamed. Shown here is the overlying White Baldy, accessible from this position with intermittent scrambling and a long stretch of precarious ridge-walking. En route to the Pfeifferhorn, traverse the sloped ridge directly to the right of the lake.


The transitional ridge allows for an unobscured perspective of each lake. Red Baldy looms in the distance (right).


While the daunting realization of being atop a mountain ridge may be discomforting, the equable final stretch of trail allows for well-needed respite as you approach the peak.


The final ascent is preceded by an approx. 50-foot knife-edge ridge. This extension is easily traversed with applied consciousness, composure and common sense.


The peak of this mountain must be experienced empirically — where the individual is truly able to perceive the sheer depth and unmitigated grandeur unique to this place.

Doubtless, a hike to catch before the snow falls; best of luck.