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Utah Hike of the Week: Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Published March 31, 2017 9:33 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The hike begins in the Mill B Trailhead parking lot as you follow a paved road east along the creek. The Lake Blanche trail branches off to the right about ΒΌ mile from the parking lot. In a few hundred feet, you will cross the stream on a bridge. The trail steepens into a steady incline as you head southeast up Mill B South Fork. In the spring months, you are likely to encounter snow along the ascent, and crampons or snowshoes are recommended.

The straightforward trail follows along the creek for about 2 miles, then gradually veers off to the left into a set of switchbacks. At the final switchback, you will encounter a daunting scree field. Fortunately, there is no need to cross it as the trail resumes a few steps above to the right. The final stretch of trail boasts views of massive granite cliffs and, as you approach the lake, the iconic Sundial Peak comes into view.

Lake Blanche's scenery is one of the best rewards of any hike in the Wasatch range. There are plenty of spots to rest at the lake, and if you are still feeling the wanderlust, the trail extends along the right side of Lake Blanche down to two more lakes, Lake Florence and Lake Lillian.

— Lennie Mahler

Directions • Take Fort Union Boulevard east in Salt Lake City until you reach the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Follow Big Cottonwood Canyon road for 4.5 miles until you reach the sharp S-curve. The Lake Blanche Trail begins in the Mill B Trailhead parking area on the right side of the road.

Destination: Lake Blanche

Hiking time • 5 hours

Round-trip miles • 6.9 miles

Elevation gain • 2,746 feet

Difficulty • Difficult

Trailhead restrooms • Yes

Dogs allowed • No

Bikes allowed • No

Fees • N/A






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