Hiking Mount Tuscarora
Here in Utah we are living the good life: numerous top-notch ski resorts are just a short drive from northern cities and towns. When the powder flies, just point your car up a canyon and you’ll get to the goods. In the summer, the resorts are also the perfect place to bag a big peak. High elevation trailheads mean shorter climbs to get your summit fix. We’ve told you about a number of great hikes near Brighton Resort, and now it’s time to add another to that list: the often overlooked Mount Tuscarora. If you approach this mountain from Brighton’s parking lot, you can bag not one, but three peaks over 10,000 feet!
The hike begins near the Millicent lodge and lift. Make your way up the resort service road and head left when you arrive at Twin Lakes Dam. Use our Mount Millicent hike to bag the peak of 10,452′. From this summit, you can see the full Brighton ridge line; Tuscarora is due south. Make your way down the rocky southern ridge of Milly. Soon you will begin to ascend a vast field of mixed talus and brush as you trend southeast towards Tuscarora. Once you gain the ridge dividing Brighton from Alta Resort, you should see a faint foot trail. Simply follow this trail to the summit of Mount Tuscarora; 10,600′ of elevation makes for some awesome views into Brighton and Albion Basin.
You could retrace your steps to your vehicle, but why not add one more big mountain to the hike? From Tuscarora, follow the foot trail northwest over the rocky terrain. The trail will lead you straight up Mount Wolverine’s east ridge. It’s a short but steep hike to the peak of Wolverine. Once you summit, pat yourself on the back- Wolverine tops out at 10,795′; you will summit three impressive mountains in the same hike! Complete the hike by following the ridge northwest around Wolverine Cirque. We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: this area is brimming with rugged beauty. The imposing chutes of the Wolverine headwall terminate in a mass of boulders and scree hundreds of feet below you. Impressive! Descend from the ridge via the talus slope and head towards Twin Lakes Pass to the north. The trail is clearly visible above Twin Lakes, as are the large power lines that run along the same route. The trail drops towards Solitude and Brighton resorts; ski run signs will help guide you the rest of the way back down.
Believe it or not, you can knock this hike out in under 5 hours. The total distance is approximately 5 miles with just over 2,000′ of elevation gain from the parking lot to the top of Mount Wolverine. This is a hike with very little exposure and minimum off trail scrambling, so hikers of all levels can enjoy the satisfaction of a multi-peak adventure. The hardest portions of the hike are the rocky slopes of Millicent and the steep climb from Tuscarora to Wolverine. If you’re looking for the goods during summer, look no further than this excellent tour de Brighton.
Getting There: Follow Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (UT 190) until it ends at Brighton Resort. Park near the Millicent lodge and ski lift.
Maps: USGS quad for Brighton or Hiking the Wasatch by U of Utah Press
Dogs: No dogs allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon (watershed area)