Maybird Gulch is a rugged piece of the Lone Peak Wilderness in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Less crowded, but certainly not less beautiful than nearby Red Pine and White Pine Canyons, Maybird Gulch draws hikers with great views, summer wildflowers, and Maybird Lakes, a group of small lakes surrounded by high peaks. Here the majestic Pfeifferhorn (11,329 feet) towers overhead, and to the north, the skyline is punctuated by a row of eleveners across the canyon: Twin Peaks (11,328 and 11,330 feet), Sunrise Peak (11,275 feet, called “O’Sullivan” on USGS maps), and Dromedary Peak (11,107 feet).
The route to Maybird Lakes starts at the White Pine Trailhead. One mile from the trailhead, the trail meets White Pine Creek. Take the footbridge to continue into Red Pine Canyon and on to Maybird Gulch. After the Lone Peak Wilderness sign, watch for an overlook a half-mile from the stream crossing, at about 8,200 feet. This overlook offers views down Little Cottonwood Canyon and into the Salt Lake Valley.
Another mile of hiking from the overlook gains 900 feet of elevation and brings you to Red Pine Creek. The trail to the left leads to Red Pine Lake (and the easiest hiking route to the Pfeifferhorn). Cross the creek on the footbridge to continue to Maybird Lakes. After the stream crossing the trail climbs steadily and continues to the west toward the top of the ridge. The trail turns to the south after crossing into Maybird Gulch, then continues climbing up the drainage until reaching the upper lake. Above the trail the ridge is topped by jagged pinnacles of granite (actually quartz monzonite) known as the Maybird Palisades.
From Maybird Lakes it is possible to hike to neighboring Hogum Fork to the west. This requires either spring snow hiking or crossing a rough boulder field to reach the notch in the ridge just north of the Pfeifferhorn. An alternative approach to climbing the Pfeifferhorn involves climbing the Maybird headwall south of the lakes. This steep scrambling route accesses the Alpine Ridge east of the Pfeifferhorn.
At Maybird Lakes, watch for pikas, which are abundant in the surrounding boulder fields and scree slopes. In summer, wildflowers such as columbines, lupines, and Indian paintbrush flourish in the grassy margins around the lakes. Watch for moose in this area as well; they are occasionally spotted in the meadows near the trailhead and further up the drainages.
This hike will take experienced hikers just under six hours round-trip. Expect to find snow in the higher elevation areas into mid-June. In winter, Maybird Lakes can be reached on snowshoes or skis. The route crosses several active avalanche paths, however, so attention to conditions is critical.