Sundial Peak ♦︎♦︎

Difficulty: Experts Only ♦︎♦︎

Length: 12 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 4,100 feet

Dog Friendly: No


Trailhead coordinates (copy + paste): 40.6331, -111.7230

Directions: Follow the coordinates to the parking lot, which is attached to the S-turn on Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. The lot is small, so you may need to park along the road. The trail starts behind the bathrooms and is easy to follow to the lake. Be sure to take the paved path and not the trail on the other side of the lot, which leads to Broads Fork Basin. The trail becomes difficult to follow after the lake but is not as strenuous as some of its peers.


Towering over Lake Blanche at 10,320 feet, this pointed peak flaunts a sheer rock face and dramatically-shaped summit, making the thought of conquering it incredibly tempting. The moderately steep trail to Lake Blanche is highly trafficked and easy to follow. Once you reach the lake, head around the right side to the second dam, and walk across it to the other side. There is a steep trail heading uphill to the left— follow it until it disappears at the rocky area. From here, your best bet is to stay next to the stream bed, preferably on the right side (the large rock slabs on the right are easier to walk on than the boulder field on the left). Continue up this canyon until you reach a wall of lightly colored rock (last photo below). Passing the light rock, climb up one more shelf to the large meadow above. There is no real route from here, so turn up your mountain-sense and decide which way up the steep, rocky slope on your left looks most manageable. You can't really get lost, so just choose a route that isn't too steep or slippery. This will bring you to another meadow— cross it, and use the same mountain-sense to pick a route up the side of the next ridge. Once you reach the top of the ridge, the scramble to the summit is straightforward. The narrow spine does have a few no-fall zones, but most of the boulders are solid. Take in the view of the sister lakes below before heading back down via the same route. Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon, so they will need to stay home for this one.