Mt. Tuscarora Summit
Summit Elevation: 10,795
Elevation Gain: 1,881
Distance: 5.24 miles
Date: July 13, 2019
Mt. Tuscarora is a relatively obscure peak that doesn’t get a lot of press despite the fact that it is quite accessible. I would classify the bottom half of this to be a Disneyland hike because the Brighton Lakes Trial commences at the base of Brighton Resort resulting in large crowds. But don’t let that deter you from hiking this trail and summiting Mt. Tuscarora because the crowds start to dissipate the higher you climb.
The bottom part of the trial travels under the Crest chairlift and then it takes a right (west) towards Lake Mary. 2019 was an epic snow year so even in mid-July I encountered a few snow fields before Mary’s Lake. After Mary’s Lake the trail flatness out to the next sister lake, Martha, and then there a short incline to the final sister lake, Catherine. Once you pass Catherine Lake, it gets steeper up to Catherine’s Pass. Catherine’s Pass is a 3 way junction that offers a route to Sunset Peak (south), you can head over the pass and down Catherine Pass Trial towards Alta (west) and Mt Tuscarora is to the north. Catherine Pass is at 10,260 so you only have about 500 more vertical feet to climb but the final 1/3 of a mile is steep. Fortunately, the final push to the summit isn't rocky, technical or risky.
The primary summit vantage point is facing east to northeast which gives you a great view of Brighton Ski Resort and across the Big Cottonwood valley you can see the backside of the Park City Mountain. If you look to your right while facing Brighton (east) you will have a great shot of Clayton and Pioneer Peak.
My one regret of this hike is that I didn’t continue along the ridge beyond Tuscarora to summit Mt. Wolverine. Wolverine is only 150 feet higher than Tuscarora and it would probably only have added an additional 30 minutes to the hike. I guess I will have to summit Wolverine another day and maybe approach it from Patsey Marley.
As for skiing, the “pro” line is off the east face right from the top and it is called Seagull Couloir because the chute resembles a Seagull with its wings spread. This is definitely the tightest and steepest line on Tuscarora but other lines exist off the southeast face that are not as steep and are more open. Both of these options will drop you back down to Lake Mary or Lake Martha. And if you want a gentler, open run – the southwest aspect drops you into Little Cottonwood.