I’ve got to say, I have some pretty bad-ass friends that are willing to backpack into the woods after 5pm on a Friday, drink some wine, pee in the bushes, take in the views and wake up early to bag a peak. My seven girlfriends and I made the trek into the Twin Peaks Wilderness area of the Wasatch Forest for a ladies night at Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We made it to our campsite as the sun was setting, with our packs on, it took us about 2 hours to reach Lake Blanche. It’s a 3.5 mile hike with about 2,700 vertical feet gain, which is the perfect distance for an overnight backpacking trip.
After setting up our tents and opening our mini-wine-boxes, we explored the area around Lake Blanche and witnessed an unreal sunset. This photos of the hot-pink sunset over Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake doesn’t do it justice.
After getting some much-needed rest, we woke up early to see the sunrise and the beautiful reflection of Sundial Peak on Lake Blanche. We walked around Lake Lillian and Lake Florence, the two other smaller lakes that are connected to Lake Blanche by a waterfall.
We wanted our packs to be super light so we only brought the necessities up with us. Here is our short and sweet packing list:
- Alberto’s burritos – much easier and more delicious than astronaut food.
- Sleeping pads and bags
- Tents – we had eight girls so we brought four two-person tents
- A change of clothes, including lightweight jackets, puffy jackets, sandals, etc.
- Water filtration system – there are a couple of waterfalls and rivers nearby where we filled up our water bottles
- Wine and chocolate – because what ladies night is complete without these two delicious things?
After filling up our water and having a bar for breakfast, we made an attempt to summit Sundial Peak, the iconic summit which is the backdrop of Lake Blanche. We headed up to the left of Sundial, crossed a river, walked up a scree field and then rock climbed up to the ridge of the peak. We ended up descending on the other side of the ridge, which I think would be easier to ascend next time we go (climb up around the right hand side of Lake Blanche). The hike is not well-marked, it’s steep and you must be comfortable climbing on rocks. The views looking back over Lake Blanche and Salt Lake City were beautiful!
After hiking Sundial Peak, we grabbed our packs from our campsite, filled up our water and headed back down to the trail-head. It only took us 1.5 hours to get back to the car. We are already planning our next backpacking trip and can’t wait! What are your favorite overnight backpacking trips in the area?