In an attempt to be more active and be outside while the weather was pleasant this year I found a “moderate” hike listed on a tourist website. I’m not a tourist and I should know better than to trust the first review I read but never the less I suggested to my family that we hike to Lake Blanche. I try not to be a whiner but moderate this hike is not. The views at the end are amazing but this hike is a little more strenuous than I was lead to believe.
You get to Lake Blanche from the Mill B south trail head, which is just past the S curve in little cottonwood canyon. There is a large parking lot at the bottom which despite it’s size can still get very full, especially on the weekends. There are handicapped parking spots in the parking lot which in my opinion is no indicator that we can all make it up the trail. The trail head is a mere 6,320 feet in elevation. I say mere 6,320 because the lake itself is at 8,920 feet, which means you gain 2700 feet in 3 miles. My asthmatic teenager did not appreciate the elevation gain, but she made it all the way to the top. My husband who is no longer a smoker (woohoo!) but was at the time also felt the elevation gain, but just this morning we were both saying we would go back.
I wish I had prepared for the hike a little better, which I have now learned is a class 2 trail, because I think I would have enjoyed the view more if I had. I have learned only recently that a class 2 trail is strenuous for an average hiker but not for an expert ( I am no expert).
I remember all the way up thinking this waterfall led into Lake Blanche so we had to be close… Turns out, this waterfall leads out of Lake Blanche and we weren’t even half way there. That being said, it was an awesome view to “have” to stare at while walking :). It almost distracted from the part of the trail that is missing. Yes missing. Apparently fallen victim to a rock slide there is a portion of the trail where you are climbing what “used to be”the trail. I do need to say that the trail is really easy to follow and while it isn’t marked it is easy to see.
The moral of the story? I made it to Lake Blanche and I will probably go again. It took me longer than suggested and I did end up with some nifty bruises, but it was worth it. I highly recommend looking at a few different websites before deciding to go and please please please take plenty of water. After looking at a few I really liked SummitPost.com and there are plenty of others if you look.