Lake Blanche, Lake Florence, and Lake Lillian are three neighboring lakes up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Part of what makes Lake Blanche so picturesque is striking Sundial Peak behind it.
I already have a post about hiking to Lake Blanche and debated about just expanding it, but since this is one of the most beautiful hikes, it deserves it’s own post. The trail begins at the Mill B Trailhead next to the bathrooms. The beginning of the trail is paved and is the same as the accessible Mill B South Trail. A few minutes into the trail there is a sign and a trail that leads off to the right, towards Lake Blanche. This is a popular trail, so parking fills up quickly, especially on weekends.
The trail is easy to follow and a few minutes after splitting from the paved trail, there is a bench and a bridge across the stream. On the far side, head left to continue up the path. The path is consistently uphill through pines, aspens, and incredible mountain views!
There is one section where you have to climb very briefly up some boulders. In the left photo below, you can see the lower trail and the upper trail with the switchback over the rocks. If you look across the rockslide, you can see a view of the city over the canyon walls.
Wildlife are commonly seen on this trail. Last time I hiked it we saw three deer and a moose, but this time there were only chipmunks and a pika. The wildlfowers were stunning!
When you are on the boulders, this is your view looking up. Shortly after the boulders you get your first view of Sundial Peak. It is such a distinctive mountain!
Lake Blanche is the first lake you see as you come up the trail.
There is a meadow to the left of the lake you can explore. There is also the trail that continues on to Sundial Peak. There is a little waterfall/stream just barely back and the flowers and rocks are cool back there.
To get to Lakes Florence and Lilian, the easiest way is just to follow the trail that goes along the front on Lake Blanche towards the dam, so head right from the trail. Immediately after the dam you are looking down on Lake Florence. Do you see behind it, there is smaller Lake Lillian. The photo on the right is of the hillside next to the lake. Do see how there is a trail to go around the lakes if you wish.
I highly recommend heading down to the closest part of Lake Florence and then turning back towards Lake Blanche. You will see the most beautiful waterfall coming out of Lake Blanche!
Stats: Distance – 6.9 miler rountrip to Blanche, 8-9 miles roundtrip depending on how much exploring you do.
Approximate hiking time – 3 to 6 hours
Elevation gain – 2706 feet
Difficulty – Difficult
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks, boulders
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – No