Last month I finally took the opportunity to go on a hike that has been on my list of "to do's" for years. Hiking to Blanch Lake.
It's a beautiful hike in the Wasatch Mountains, the trail head is about 6.5 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. You'll take the South Fork of Mill B Trail head.
This is a very popular hike, if you go on a Saturday you'll likely see lots and lots of people. If you are looking for a little less people on the trail, visit it during the week.
A few things about this hike. If you are only hiking to Blanch Lake it is 3 miles in and 3 miles out for a total of 6 miles. However, the first 3 miles are all uphill, you are doing a lot of climbing. You are on maintained trails, however I am ranking this as strenuous because of the several thousand feet in elevation that you are climbing.
Take as many breaks as you need on the way up, besides taking a few seconds to catch your breath. You can also catch one of the many views on this trail. If you are not surrounded by tree's, or next to the river early on. You are usually in view of the many different peaks in the area.
The trail is pretty maintained, the only portion that may discourage some is the rock slide (seen in the picture above.) You are in switchbacks in this area, so when you get to the point that large boulders are blocking the trail, just start climbing up them, and keep your eye to the right, eventually you will see the trail start again after the slide area.
As you get closer to the top near Blanch Lake, take a few minutes to step away from the trail and look out over the views down the canyon you just came up. On a clear day if you look out you can actually see the Great Salt Lake and valley in the distance.
When you get to Blanche Lake, take a rest and enjoy the view.
Don't forget to look down at the rock your standing on, if you are into geology all those little cracks are from when this was all once a big glacier. They are the grinding marks the glacier formed as it moved and melted, almost giving the rock a polished look.
Above is one of my favorite views. This is of Blanch Lake, and you can see Sundial Peak in the background. This is the main attraction to the lake.
However, for the hiker who loves to hike this doesn't have to be the end.
If you keep heading past lake Blanche, you will see a trail (above) that will take you to Lake Florence and Lake Lillian. They are both pictured below, even though the one in the distance is a little harder to make out in this picture.
It's not just lakes, there are lots of other short trails, water falls and things to see. Let adventure be your guide.
Don't forget your camera. If you like to backpack camp, this is also a great area to hike in and camp overnight. You can even fish the lakes for trout for your dinner.
IF YOU GO:
* Make sure to bring plenty of water, especially in the hot summer months
* Trail is located up Big Cottonwood Canyon at the South Mill B Trail head
* No dogs allowed hiking in this canyon
* You can hike this in the winter with snow shoes, however there is high avalanche danger so make sure you pay attention and take every precaution
* Trail is 6 miles round trip but if you are like me and go out and explore the other lakes and surrounding areas at the top, you might actually be closer to 10 miles by the time you get back.