Difficulty: Most Difficult ♦︎
Length: 10.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,730 feet
Dog Friendly: No
Trailhead coordinates (copy + paste): 40.5753, -111.6812
Directions: The coordinates will bring you to a mid-sized parking lot in Little Cottonwood Canyon. This trailhead also leads to Red Pine Lake and other nearby hikes, so on a busier day you may need to park along the road. Walk past the bathrooms and across the broken bridge. After a mile you will reach a fork—turn left as directed by the sign and follow the same trail from here all the way to the lake.
A tough but rewarding hike, White Pine Lake is beautiful no matter the hour or the season. Compared to neighboring to Red Pine Lake, this trail is longer and more difficult, but quieter and less populated for that same reason. After making a left at the initial intersection, the route is direct with no further forks, making it easy to stay on track. The path itself is quite consistent, being fairly rocky and wide enough to comfortably walk three abreast from start to finish. The trail gains elevation at a modest rate during the first few miles of the hike, transitioning into a more densely forested area shortly after the one and only fork. As it travels through the trees, the path levels out for a while, allowing you extra energy to enjoy you peaceful surroundings. Just past the three mile mark, the trail opens up into a beautiful meadow which is often covered in wildflowers. From the meadow on, the trail gains elevation more quickly all the way to the end, but never becomes too steep to handle.
The last leg of the hike is made up of a few very large switchbacks carved into a barren boulder field on a North-facing slope. Though it may be tempting to cut straight up the boulder field (I have seen people do this and regret it) taking the switchbacks is a much easier option, and they are not as bad as they may look. As a reward for reaching the top, the lake will come into view in the next basin below as soon as you reach the top of the last switchback. The lake is encircled by high, rocky peaks including Thunder Mountain and White Baldy, and enjoys big views of the ridgeline across the canyon. White Pine itself is a gorgeous blue lake without too many visitors, and such a pleasant place that you may want to stay all day before making the trek back down. Note: you will have to leave the furry friends at home for this one. Dogs are not allowed in Little Cottonwood Canyon.