Emerald Lake, a small snow-fed, crystal-blue lake, rests in the cirque just below the summit, often surrounded by a small herd of mountain goats. Snow fields can be found on the mountain throughout summer and wildlife is abundant.
To reach the summit, a steep and narrow one-way trail climbs from the cirque across a rocky ridge to the peak. The views from the summit are unsurpassed, overlooking Emerald Lake in the cirque, Heber Valley to the east, and Provo and Utah Lake to the west. The entire hike can be done in a very long day-hike or open meadows in the cirque offer several campsites for an overnight backpack trip; however, campfires are restricted. This trail is a difficult hike recommended for experienced hikers. Shorter hikes from Theater in the Pines to various points on the mountain are also possible. Parking and restrooms are available at both trailheads. For more information and detailed maps on this trail, contact Pleasant Grove Ranger District at 801-785-3563 in Pleasant Grove.
This hike can be done in several different ways. Two trails access Emerald Lake from State Route 92: one trailhead is just past Sundance Resort at Theater in the Pines; the other trailhead is over the ridge in American Fork Canyon at Timpooneke. Both trails are 9 miles one-way to the summit and 7 miles one-way to the cirque. With a vehicle parked at each trailhead, hiking up from Timpooneke and returning at Theater in the Pines is the best of both worlds, as each trail is markedly different. An out-and-back hike from Theater in the Pines is the closest access from Heber and results in the same total distance.