Exploring the Natural Beauty of Salt Lake City: Hikes to Cecret Lake and Hot Springs

By Audrey Laine Seymour, MBA, Communications Manager at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Salt Lake City is a nature lover’s paradise. With its stunning landscapes, towering mountains and pristine lakes, the city offers a plethora of hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Two of the most iconic and picturesque destinations in the Salt Lake City area are Cecret Lake and the nearby natural hot springs. My husband, Jud, and I enjoyed these destinations in July, and in this blog post, I’ll take you on a journey through these incredible locations and provide you with all the information you need to embark on these memorable hikes.

Cecret Lake: A Hidden Gem

Cecret Lake, also known as Secret Lake, is a pristine alpine gem tucked away in the Albion Basin of the Wasatch Mountains. With its crystal-clear waters, lush wildflower meadows and stunning mountain backdrop, Cecret Lake is a favorite among hikers, photographers and nature lovers.

PAMN member Audrey Laine and her husband at Cecret Lake, Utah
PAMN member Audrey Laine and her husband at Cecret Lake, Utah

Getting There

To reach Cecret Lake, start from the Albion Basin Trailhead, which is approximately a 40-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City. The trailhead is usually open from July to September when the wildflowers are in full bloom. During the winter months, the road leading to the trailhead is closed due to heavy snowfall.

The Hike

The hike to Cecret Lake is relatively short, making it suitable for hikers of all levels, including families. The round-trip hike is approximately 1.5 miles and takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The trail begins at the Albion Basin Trailhead and meanders through a subalpine forest before opening up to a stunning vista of the surrounding peaks.

wild flowers
Wild flowers picked at Cecret Lake

As you ascend, keep an eye out for the colorful wildflowers that carpet the landscape during the summer months. Indian paintbrush, lupine and sunflowers add a vivid and enchanting quality to the trail. Additionally, the chance of spotting local wildlife, such as marmots and moose, adds to the excitement of the journey.

As you approach the lake, you’ll be greeted with the dazzling sight of Cecret Lake, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks. The calm waters of the lake make it the perfect spot for reflection and relaxation. You can also take a leisurely stroll around the lake to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this hidden gem.

Pro Tips

Be sure to bring plenty of water, especially on hot summer days. The high altitude can lead to dehydration, and there is no water source along the trail. Also, remember to pack a jacket, as temperatures at this elevation can be much cooler than in the valley. Lastly, please practice Leave No Trace principles and ensure that you leave the area just as pristine as you found it.

Hot Springs

If you’re looking to make your outdoor adventure even more memorable, consider combining your trip to Cecret Lake with a visit to the nearby natural hot springs. The Diamond Fork Hot Springs, also known as Fifth Water Hot Springs, offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience after a day of hiking.

Hot spring bathers in Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Utah
Hot spring bathers in Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Utah

Getting There

To reach the Diamond Fork Hot Springs, head south from Salt Lake City and take US-6 East towards Spanish Fork. After about 10 miles, you’ll reach the Diamond Fork Canyon Road. Follow this road for approximately 10 miles until you reach the Three Forks Trailhead. The trail to the hot springs is roughly 2.5 miles each way.

The Hike

The hike to the hot springs is a bit longer and more challenging than the Cecret Lake trail. However, the natural beauty and the reward at the end are well worth the effort. The trail takes you along the scenic Diamond Fork Creek, and you’ll pass by several beautiful waterfalls along the way. The contrast of the lush green surroundings against the red rock formations in the canyon is breathtaking.

Once you arrive at the hot springs, you’ll be greeted by a series of terraced pools, each with varying temperatures. The hot springs are perfect for soaking, relaxing and unwinding. It’s a popular spot, so be prepared to share the experience with other hikers.

Pro Tips

The Diamond Fork Hot Springs are clothing optional, so be prepared for a more relaxed atmosphere. Remember to pack plenty of water, snacks and a first-aid kit for the hike. It’s also a good idea to check the trail conditions and weather before you go, as the canyon can be prone to flash floods in wet weather.


Salt Lake City offers an array of hiking opportunities for those seeking to explore its natural beauty. Whether you choose to visit the enchanting Cecret Lake or relax in the nearby natural hot springs, your journey will be filled with breathtaking vistas and memorable experiences.

Remember to always be respectful of the environment, follow Leave No Trace principles, and be prepared with the necessary supplies and information for a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. The combination of pristine alpine lakes and soothing hot springs makes for a truly unforgettable Salt Lake City hiking experience. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera and embark on a journey through the stunning landscapes of this remarkable city.

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