Has anyone been up to Albion Basin to checkout the wildflowers this year? How are they doing/ or when are they expected to bloom?
The Wildflower Festival is scheduled July 21 - 29..
Can't give you a firsthand report this year as we didn't make it over there yet and have now left the state for a few weeks. But given what we saw in comparable areas of the Wasatch in recent weeks at similar elevations, I would guess that things are ahead of normal given our lower snowpack and earlier spring. As a photographer who spends a lot of time over there, my guess is that it will be at peak now or shortly - which is a bit ahead of things.
As Connie noted, the Wildflower Festival is the last two weekends in July this year. That's usually a good indicator. I suspect you will be fine anytime in July. But now is not too early.
I was up there a week ago and some flowers are starting to bloom, though it's still very early. I really don't think this will be like the amazing display of last year, but I could be wrong. I meant to go up there again this weekend, but ended up in another canyon.
A couple of notes for this season... They are charging vehicles to drive on the dirt road past the Grizzly Gulch parking lot. The fee is $ 6.00 per vehicle, which is extremely reasonable. I wish they were charging a lot more to minimize congestion. They are also running the Sunnyside chairlift on weekends and holidays. Fee for adults is $10 and children were $5. This was another way they considered reducing traffic and is a great idea. I don't think they are running the free shuttle anymore. It may have become too cost prohibitive.
And a couple of reminders for anyone reading... It is a national forest, so permits must be obtained to even collect rocks. So please don't pick the wildflowers. If everyone that went there collected them, there wouldn't be any left. And almost worse, I saw parents allowing their children to catch the tiger salamanders at Cecret Lake, put them in a water bottle, and take them home. If you can't collect rocks, why would wildlife be okay? The forest belongs to everyone, so don't take what is there, as if it is your possession. It's weird I even have to mention these things, but if one person learns something, then great.
Drones are also banned at Alta. Don't bring them. And wedding photographers... please don't trample the flowers with your family. You choose this beautiful area to use as a scenic backdrop but some parties have no respect, trampling a whole area to get the money shot. The way I see it is, they are doing a commercial business on national forest service land and should pay permits and fees. If they are trampling through the flowers, fine them more than the permits and fees.
I go up their often and loved to ride the shuttle up and hike back down to the lot. I'm sad to see that go as going on the chairlift becomes cost prohibitive for large families like mine. So my question is . . . are they charging $6 a vehicle just to drive past the gate onto the dirt road or just to park? Collecting the money at the booth or at the parking lot? Also, is the parking charge only on weekends/holidays? I assume that parking/driving is free on weekdays/not holidays. The only statement I could find was the following and I found it vague.
U.S. Forest Service Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
June 29 at 11:32 AM ·
For the first time in Alta Ski Area’s 80-year history, we are offering lift-served hiking to Albion Basin this summer beginning June 30th through September 3rd. Lift rides for the Sunnyside lift can be purchased on weekends and holidays inside the Albion Grill. This is our first summer pilot program in conjunction with the Town of Alta and the Forest Service in an effort to enhance the collaborative efforts to maintain the diversified alpine experience in Albion Basin.
Our knowledgeable mountain hosts can answer questions at the top or bottom of the Sunnyside lift on weekends and holidays. There will be limited parking in the Albion Basin with an amenity fee per vehicle. Hiking into Albion Basin is available to anyone. We encourage all hikers to stay on designated trails.
They had the normal booth set up in the middle of the lot. You can park at the paved lots for free. If you want to drive up into Albion Basin, there is a separate toll both before you enter the dirt road portion. You must pay $6.00. My understanding was that it was everyday, starting at 7:00 AM.
They give you an Alta parking card with the date stamped on it, to place on your dashboard. Or maybe we just put it up there. Can't remember. But I'm pretty sure this will be an every day occurrence.
They have also blocked several of the small pullouts with large wooden logs, so that people aren't parking all over the place on the main road.
Good question. I haven't been up there yet, but based on previous years, it's still a bit early for the peak.
The notice does say "July 27th or until rescinded". I assume it is now open as I have have seen photos posted just today in a hiking facebook group from those trails.
I just emailed a friend who might know. Will post if/when I hear back.