Mill B South Fork
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sundial Peak, Lake Florence and Lake Lillian
Caterpillars, Whistlepigs, and a Rubber Boa
3.5 miles one way
2-3 hour hike up / 1.5 hour hike down
This is a very popular hike, and it's getting more popular every day. Most people hike this trail early in the morning, I always do it later in the day, and come down in the dark. You'll need to bring extra water, you will be exposed to the sun for a great deal of the way.
The trail starts at the bottom of the S-Curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon. You follow the pavement east until you see the steep rocky trail to the right. You will pass a bench, and then a little bridge. From here follow the sign that says Trail, which is to the left. This trail switches back to the right after gaining some altitude. The trail continues for a mile or so through sub-alpine forests.
On the right side below will be the raging Mill B Stream,
which is pretty loud in the spring. Every now and then, you
will see small side trails leading to the river. If it's hot,
you should go refresh yourself by patting water on your face,
arms back, and maybe soaking your shirt or hat in the water
as well. Every drop of water that evaporates from your body
and cools you down, saves you a drop of drinking water.
After about 2 miles, you will come to an area with white Aspen trees, the rounded orange quartzite hills should come in and out of view as you hike through this area. This area is a common avalanche zone, and every year fallen trees need to be cut out to clear the trail.
As you get closer to the quartzite hills, you will reach the switchbacks. These switchbacks seem to be over-switch-backed. It seems like you should be getting closer, but it just keeps going.... I know a shortcut through here, but it's always better to stay on the trail. After the switchbacks cross a section of boulders, you are there. Just follow the trail to the little man made wall and up and over the quartzite mound.
I ran out of water on this hike, and drank directly from the waterfall. Later I drank directly from the stream. I don't recommend this, because you never know what is upstream, but if it's a life or death situation, you'd better drink something, so always drink from the areas that are the fastest moving water, pouring over the edge of something if possible. Most importantly, you want to drink water that hasn't passed popular portions of the trail, I didn't get sick because I drank from areas that would be unlikely to be contaminated.
There were quite a few caterpillar nests along the trail.
Caterpillar Fest 2007
They were having a wiggle contest.
Sundial Peak 10, 320' above the glacier carved quartzite hills.
From here, you will reach the switchbacks to the left.
The lake is right over the rounded hills.
Dromedary Peak - 11,107'
Dromedary Peak, Sunrise Peak - 11,275', Mitt Peak
Looking North toward Wildcat Ridge
Lake Blanche, with Sundial Peak - 10,320'in the middle.
Mount Superior - 11,040' and Monte Cristo 11,132'
are on the left in the distant background.
Sundial Peak with a small waterfall on the lower right.
I hiked to the base of this waterfall.
Glacier polished quartzite.
These lines are caused by little rocks,
crushed and ground into the quartzite by tons of slow flowing ice.
Above the three lakes looking south toward Sundial Peak.
Alpine Ridge, Dromedary Peak, and one of the Twin Peaks - 11,330'
is visible on the far right.
Mount Raymond - 10,241' on the other side (North) of Big Cottonwood.
Lake Blanche - 8,920'
in the distance is Wildcat Ridge with Mount Raymond on it's left end.
Lots of little watefalls on the east side of Sundial Peak.
A secret little alpine lake above the other three.
Alpine Lake reflection
I used this fallen tree to cross a pretty raging steep river.
The other side of the fallen tree and river.
Strange little blue mushroom
West of Sundial Peak on some massive polished slabs of quartzite.
Quartzite slabs, You can see Lake Florence and Lake Lillian
At the base of the little waterfall on the west side of Sundial Peak.
Looking north up Mill B South Fork
toward Big Cottonwood Canyon and Wildcat Ridge.
It's getting late, time to go.
Yellow Bellied Marmot, or Whistle Pig.
For more pictures : Yellow Bellied Marmot
I almost stepped on this Rubber Boa.
They are completely harmless.
For Pictures of a trip up to Lake Blanche in 2002
Lake Blanche 2002
For pictures of a hike up to Lake Blanche Waterfall in 2007
Lake Blanche Waterfalls 2007
For pictures of Yellow Bellied Marmots around Lake Blanche
Yellow Bellied Marmots - Lake Blanche