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Lake Blanche Trail

Central Wasatch Mountains, Utah

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Lake Blanche Trail

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  • The first feature you come across is a short bridge and a small memorial to a man who frequented the trail.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • The Twin Peaks Wilderness awaits.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • As you begin the hike the south rim of Big Cottonwood looms overhead.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • A pair of fishermen heading home along the Lake Blanche Trail.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Aspen groves along the upper part of the trail.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Looking south across the canyon toward Broad's Fork Trail and Twin Peaks (11,300') with Sunrise Peak (11,275') to the left.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • The scree field where the trail gets tricky for just a bit.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Fireweed in the foreground with Dromedary Peak (11,433') in the distance.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Great views of Sundial Peak (10,320') open up as you make the final approach.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Sundial Peak (10,320') and Dromedary Peak (11,433') over Lake Blanche.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Great to see the wildflowers still going strong into mid-August.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Taking in the view.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • The poles are helpful during the steep descent.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Sundial Peak (10,320') aglow at sunset.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Backcountry campers enjoying the view of Sundial Peak (10,320').- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Backcuntry campers near Lake Blanche.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • A fellow photograher capturing the sunset and looking toward the Cottonwood Ridge.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • You can see all the way down to Salt Lake City, almost 5,000 feet below.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • A beautiful sunset from near Lake Blanche.- Lake Blanche Trail
  • Heading back down with a headlamp, the stars shining over Broad's Fork Canyon.- Lake Blanche Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views down canyon. Beautiful lake. Wildfowers. Easy access to the trailhead.
Cons: 
Steep. Can be a little crowded. No dogs. Exposed at times.
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Region:
Central Wasatch Mountains, UT
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,600.00 ft (792.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.60 mi (9.01 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,300.00 ft (1,920.24 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

An absolute must-see for the aspiring Wasatch adventurer, Lake Blanche Trail is the perfect mix of challenge and accessibility. The ascent is steep, as is the case with many trails in the Cottonwoods, but the reward at the end of the hike keeps a steady stream of people coming to give it a try. Nearly 4 miles up the trail lies a serene lake with a towering peak known as the Sundial. The jagged dual-spire reflecting in the water below creates a unique and breathtaking scene.

From the parking lot the trail begins a few hundred yards up a paved pedestrian road heading east. The start of the actual trail is on the right and is easy to miss; if you reach the waterfall at the end of the road you have gone just a bit too far. The waterfall is worth checking out, however, if you are visiting for the first time.

The trail starts with a fairly steep grade and continues steadily. A few flat areas pop up throughout the hike, but they become less frequent as you near the end of the journey. Take your time if you aren't used to the dry, thin Utah air, and remember that you will be close to 9,000 feet by the end of the trek. Stop at the meadows that pop up occasionally, enjoy the down-canyon view, and use these stops to rehydrate.

The grade increases during the last third of the hike, and the scenery becomes even more impressive. After passing through some thick aspen groves, the views of Broad's Fork Canyon to the south begin to pop up. Dromedary and Sunrise peaks emerge, and the very tip of Sundial begins to make an appearance toward the east.

After the final ascent you'll make your way across a short retaining wall and toward the lake. From the large, smooth rocks that surround the area you'll find yourself gazing at Sundial Peak sitting directly above Lake Blanche, a rare and stunning sight. The canyon opens up toward Broad's Fork, creating a large panoramic view. This is a true jewel within the Wasatch that is not overcrowded given its beauty and access.

Note that there is one point near the end of the trail where the path seems to dead end at a boulder field while heading west. The trick is to head up the boulder field facing north and then to turn right after just a few yards. The trail begins again to the east, facing Sundial Peak in the distance, 180 degrees from the direction you faced as the trail met the scree field.

  

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

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(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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