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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hike to Blood Lake and Lackawaxen Lake - Guardsman Pass, Utah

Post Update 9/14/2015   *  This trail is now closed. 

"Bloods Lake Trail is located on private property in Wasatch County, near Park City, UT. Any entry onto or use of the property without prior written consent of the Owner constitutes trespass and the Owner may pursue all available legal remedies to enforce it".

Today we are talking about Lake Lackasomething Lackawaxen Lake.  Its a peculiar name in a gorgeous area.   According to Road Trip Ryan  "Lackawaxen Lake is the pretty lake, with an odd name. It, presumably, is named after the Lackawaxen River (or Township) in Pennsylvania". 
How that correlates to Utah?  No clue. 

Grab your dog and lets go, we are passing Solitude and Brighton for a gorgeous hike on the backside of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Don't worry, dogs are allowed ! 
Solitude Ski Resort

Trail to Blood Lake and Lake Lackawaxen


Trail head:  Backside of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  3 miles up Guardsman Pass from Brighton.  Parking area by the trail head.  It is kind of between Brighton and Park City Mountain Resort.  

Distance:  3 miles round trip --I have read other reviews quoting the distance at 3.5- 4, but my Garmin clocked the hike in at just around 3 miles round trip. 

Dog Friendly:  Yes, this is on the backside of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Dogs are allowed on the backside of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon, keep your dog in the car until you hit the trail head.  It is a pretty strict Utah rule.

Level:  Moderate.  Short distance but there are some steep sections, sections with slippery lose dirt, and a section where you have to cross a boulder field. 

Notes:  This is a summer hike due to the high elevation (I don't suggest trying this hike in the spring, too much snow! you are at about 9,800').  June is a safe time to start, however the mosquitoes were vicious (real bad) in June.  You need the heavy duty stuff (Deet for Days) if you want to do this hike in the early summer.  Rumor has it August/September is a great time to enjoy this hike, bug free.  When you see the option, stay left to head to Lackawaxen (right will take you to Clayton's Peak). 

Driving up Guardsman Pass
View of the parking area from the trail

I did this hike with the Tuesday night Meet Up Group "Hiking with Our Dogs".  Alicia over at Girl On A Trail organizes and leads the hikes.  She always picks great new spots that are dog friendly, and I was so happy to learn about a gorgeous new dog friendly Utah hike (with water!).  Utah has some very strict watershed rules so it can be a little confusing when trying to find a hike.  I have heard that technically dogs aren't allowed in a car driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon, but we didn't have any problems.  Rebels unite. 

Vistas from the parking area
View from the parking area

Even if you aren't in the mood for a hike, I highly suggest you take a ride up Guardsman Pass to enjoy the scenery.  It is a beautiful drive with amazing vistas of the Wasatch. 

View from the parking area/trail head
Trail to Lackawaxen Lake
Park the car, take a bazillion pictures, and start your hike on the dirt trail at the end of the parking lot.  

Posing Pups 
After passing a small lake on private property, you will cross a steep section of the trail with lose dirt and rocks.  Keep pushing because  after this steep climb, you will follow the trail past some power lines and finally, you will be rewarding with gorgeous views of the meadow.  If you see the option, make sure you swing a left on the trail.  A right will take you up to the top of Claytons Peak, while a left will take you to the boulder field right before Lackawaxen Lake. 
Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

Lackawaxen Lake 
Finally, we reached Lackawaxen Lake.  A gorgeous lake among the pines, with a little bit of snow left over.  While the views were great, we didn't stick around long because the mosquitoes were unbearable by the lake.  A few pictures and a quick dash back down the trail. 
Group 1 at Lackawaxen Lake 

Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

The dogs all loved this trail.  Two lakes to swim in, and the trail follows a small stream between the lakes.  Plenty of shade, cooler temperatures, and drinking water for the dogs.  They also loved the open space in the meadow to chase each other around. 


Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

Trail to Lackawaxen Lake 

We got back to the car to a gorgeous Utah sunset.  Utah has some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  It is definitely a west thing.  A pink sky setting over the Wasatch range is a lovely way to end a busy Tuesday. 

Sunset at the trail head to Lackawaxen Lake 

Sunset at the trail head to Lackawaxen Lake 

Utah Sunset 

To end the night, we got in the car, and headed back down Guardsman Pass back towards the city.  On the way back down Guardsman Pass by Brighton, we spotted our first Utah Moose.  A big male, walking around the woods by the road.  I giggled, I shrilled, I chortled, I made every awkward and excited noise I could thing of.  We just don't have this wildlife back east folks.  Highlight of my summer, seeing my first Utah Moose making his way along the mountains.  Five minutes later we have to stop in the road to let another moose cross the road. 

Utah Moose 

I am falling in love with Utah's lakes, especially the ones perched on top of the mountains.  The higher the better.  Maybe its my inner ocean, but there is something calming and just so dang beautiful about these lakes.   Gorgeous hikes to high altitude lakes, amazing sunsets, and a casual moose siting on the way home. 
Utah, you are something else. 


  1. Oh my gosh, Katie these photos are stunning! I've heard and seen so many good things about and of Utah! Definitely want to visit there at one point

    xx -n
    Naomi in Wonderland

    1. Thanks Naomi! Out on the east coast, Utah is often overlooked. It is known for its southern National Parks (Moab,-Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Etc). But Northern Utah really has some gems! You should definitely plan a trip here!

  2. Outdoor Women's Alliance's Wasatch Front team just organized a hike here last night! I was excited to see their photos, but you've taken care of that for me. :) Just found your site through Jillian's blog that you left a comment on (I left one earlier, so I got the update :). Are you planning on returning to New England after school?

    1. Gina- please ask them how the bugs were! The mosquitos were so horrible when we were there! But the area is SO gorgeous I can't wait to go back do this hike and also hike Claytons Peak!

      I am so glad you found me through Jillian's Blog and thanks for stopping by! Utah is gorgeous, really stunning. These mountains are amazing, the hiking and recreationing (ha!) out here is endless. But my heart is in New England and I miss the water soooo darn much! So yes I am planning on packing up and heading East once I finish school. Summer has been hard for me out here!

  3. One of the best and most detailed descriptions of the hike to Lake Lackawaxen! Most of the other posts I read just described getting to Bloods Lake. Thanks for the enjoyable read and good info!

    1. I started doing trail guides after being SO frustrated with the existing information out there so I know that feeling. Thank you SO much for reading and commenting, it means a lot! Have a GREAT hike!

  4. Thanks for the trail writeup. Looking forward to hiking it this labor day.

    Small world question, though. It looks like the man in the middle of this picture is wearing a Plant Camp shirt. I'm one of the leaders of that ministry in downtown SLC. Have we met?


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