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September 11, 2009

Take a Break - Lake Blanche

Over Labor Day weekend I finally hiked to Lake Blanche. Lake Blanche is 3 miles up a side canyon up Big Cottonwood Canyon, just below the big S-curves. I regret to say that I have lived in Salt Lake City my entire life and this is the first time I have ventured here. I have been missing out! The trail is incredibly steep, which is part of the reason why I have shied away from it for so long, but it actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

The trail is absolutely beautiful and winds mostly through mixed pine and aspen trees. At the top there is steep red rock ridge that runs across the canyon. Lake Blanche is perched just over the ridge and Sundial peak (about another hour and a half to the top) looms above the lake. If you keep hiking west along the ridgeline, there are two smaller lakes beyond Lake Blanche. A small waterfall cascades from Lake Blanche into the first lake, and a slightly larger waterfall comes out of the last, and smallest, lake into the river that runs down the canyon.

As I was hiking up the trail, a few hundred yards from the top of the ridge, a friendly hiker informed me that there were some mountain goats on the cliffs past the smaller lakes. After resting up and eating my lunch, I set off to find them. After exploring for about an hour, I finally found them high on the cliffs above the lakes. Unfortunately, they were too small to see with my camera - so no pictures of them, but I enjoyed watching them bound up and down the cliffs with the greatest of ease - definitely a treat to see.

The trail switches back through many aspen groves.

First view of Lake Blanche

Lake Blanche with Sundial Peak high above.

The two smaller lakes west of Lake Blanche.

View down the canyon from the ridge line - the trail goes up this canyon.

Even though it took me way too long to get up there, I'm glad I finally did now rather than later. If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, or close by, I highly recommend this gorgeous excursion.

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