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Lake Blanche & Sundial

Lake Blanche
Mill B - South Fork

Big Cottonwood Canyon
Wasatch Mountains

Hiking

          Located in the center of the Twin Peaks Wilderness Area, Lake Blanche is a great objective for weekend hikers. A well-maintained trail climbs through beautiful canyon scenery to a photogenic basin containing Lake Blanche, Lake Florence and Lake Lillian.

          The view of the 10,320' Sundial above Lake Blanche is dramatic and is the emblem of the Wasatch Mountain Club.

          The smooth rock slabs located around the lakes show evidence of the glacier, which formed the basin. Look closely at the polished rock slabs near the lakes and you can still see the grind marks left as the glacier formed this high alpine cirque.

          The rugged summits of 11,132' Monte Cristo, 11,107' Dromedary Peak and 11,275' Sunrise Peck surround the lakes.

General Information:
Click Here for Map           Lake Blanche is a fun and popular hike. Lake Blanche, Lake Florence and Lake Lillian are all located next to each other in the upper reaches of the South Fork of Mill B. The trail to Lake Blanche is 3 miles one-way and it will require approximately 2 1/2 hours to reach the lake from the trailhead. This is one of the more popular hikes in the Wasatch Mountains.

          All hikers in your party should carry a minimum of two liters of water. Water is plentiful in this area, but all water taken from lakes and streams should be filtered before drinking. Insect repellent is a good idea as mosquito's can be bothersome during certain times of the year. A mosquito repellent that contains DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is highly recommended.

          The route contains no real obstacles. Experienced and intermediate hikers will have no problems with this route. Novice hikers will need to pay attention to their map and route description. Lake Blanche is rated 1 III using the Yosemite Decimal System.

          Navigation for this route is easy. A GPS is useful in identifying waypoints and verifying your location. Good map reading skills and the USGS 7.5' Maps titled "Mount Aire" and "Dromedary Peak" are helpful. All waypoints and maps for this route use the WGS84 datum. It should be noted that due to new trail construction and trail realignment the USGS maps are not accurate in relation to trail location. The trails are correctly located on the map provided.

          Big Cottonwood Canyon is within Salt Lake City Watershed, therefore special restrictions apply and are strictly enforced. No domestic animals (dogs, cats, horses) are permitted in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

          During the winter months the Mill B area is a popular snowshoe destination. Avalanche danger should always be a major priority and proper precautions should be taken when enjoying Utah's winter wonderland.

Trailhead Information:
Stream into Lake Lillian
          From anywhere in the Salt lake Valley take I-215 East until you reach the 6200 South Exit (Exit 6). Signs are marked for the ski areas, you will be heading towards Brighton and Solitude Ski Resorts. Drive east on 6200 south and the road will become Wasatch Boulevard. Follow Wasatch Boulevard south to an intersection with Fort Union Boulevard (7200 South). The intersection is located 1.7 miles after exiting I-215.

          All mileage is taken from the intersection of Wasatch Boulevard and Fort Union Boulevard. This is known locally as the "Mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon". There is a large Park and Ride lot with restrooms located near the northeast corner of the intersection.

          From the intersection drive east up Big Cottonwood Canyon. After 4.4 miles you will reach the signed "Mill B Trailhead", which is located at what is locally known as the "Bottom of the S-Curve". There are two parking lots. The first is located to the south of the lower bend in the S-Curve. (the trailhead begins at the east end of this lot). The second is located to the east inside the upper bend of the S-Curve.

          The Mill B Trailhead is the beginning of several popular hikes and fills up early on weekends during periods of good weather.

Route Information:
          The Lake Blanche Trail begins at the east end of the lower parking lot behind the toilet (N40 38' 00", W111 43' 26"). Walk 1/4 mile east on the paved path until you come to a stream entering the main drainage from the south (right), this is the stream that flows out of Lake Blanche. The well maintained dirt trail to Lake Blanche begins next to the Lake Blanche stream and is signed "Lake Blanche" (N40 37' 57", W111 43' 10").

          From here it gets really simple. Just follow the well maintained trail for 2 3/4 miles to Lake Blanche (N40 36' 23", W111 41' 29"). The maintained trail ends at Lake Blanche, which is the highest of the three lakes in the cirque. Lake Florence and Lake Lillian should not be missed, and can be reached by following various footpaths west for 1/4 mile.

 Lake Florence and Lake Lillian


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