For those looking for something truly unique along the Wasatch, Lake Blanche may be one of your best options. Be warned: this trail can be one of the busiest in the canyons throughout the summer, but if you time it right can be one of the most rewarding.
What Makes It Great
The hike itself covers approximately 5.5 miles, and gains over 2,600 vertical feet along the route. You’ll enjoy the hike along aspen groves and the typical Big Cottonwood alpine evergreens for the first half of the hike. The trail is consistently steep, but there are so many overlooks and scenic settings that you'll find a lot of excuses to stop and rest. Summer can make for some dry, dusty hiking, while winter snowshoeing can transform the hike into a totally unique off-season experience. Those looking to snowshoe should consider avalanche conditions and do your research before starting out. From the two-mile point up, the ridges are extremely exposed and could be prone to the Wasatch avalanches you come to expect living here. If conditions are safe, this hike is a year-round gem that even Backpacker Magazine featured in their 2013 Winter Guide.
The final three-quarters of a mile is steep, but once you reach the summit you’ll be glad you put in the effort. The trailhead summit at Lake Blanche (8,975’) shows you the amazing view of the 10,320’ Sundial Peak to the south. Lake Lillian and Lake Florence are just adjacent to Blanche to the south and east. The surrounding cirque includes Monte Cristo (11,132’), Dromedary Peak (11,107’) and Sunrise Peak (11,275’).
Those looking for a solid camping spot can set up shop anywhere along Lake Blanche. The glacier-grooved rock faces to the north of the lake are popular. Just keep in mind that most campfire restrictions in the Cottonwoods will keep you from getting a fire going. While many choose to build small fires in spite of the restrictions, we don’t condone and certainly don’t encourage it.
Who is Going to Love It
The hike to Lake Blanche is great for hikers seeking a unique hiking experience. Shutterbugs will appreciate the gorgeous views at the lake.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking is at the Mill B trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon. You’ll go about 4.5 miles up the canyon until you come to a very prominent S-Curve. There are a couple of free parking areas at the bottom of this curve.