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Need a new hike to experience? Try Bloods Lake Trail

Bloods Lake in Cottonwood Canyons

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SALT LAKE CITY — Bloods Lake Trail, a popular destination for Salt Lake City and Park City residents, is a beautiful 2.8-mile out-and-back hike through beautiful mountainous foliage and up to an alpine lake.

Getting to the lake

To access this trail, drive to Guardsman Pass, located at the top of old State Route 152. Drive slightly beyond Guardsman Pass and toward Park City/Midway, and a mile or so down the road you will find a large, dirt parking lot with street parking surrounding the clearly-marked Bloods Lake trailhead.

Follow this established path through aspen trees and stunning wilderness. The first portion of the hike is easy, with rolling hills and a relatively flat trail. Enjoy the relative ease of this portion of the hike as you trek through lush green meadows, past brightly colored wildflowers and through dense aspen-tree forests.

Just before reaching the lake, the trail will become steeper and rockier with winding switchbacks up a steep, cliffy face. The trail remains clear and easy despite the steep grade, so hikers need not worry about having to scramble over rocks along the way. Still, hikers should prepare themselves for a bit of a workout on this steeper section.

Bloods Lake

Emerge from the climb into stunning views of the lake, which is small and clean with deep bluish-green water. The water feature is popular for paddle boarding, swimming and sightseeing, and there is even a rope swing. As Bloods Lake is beyond Big Cottonwood Canyon, swimming is open to all without concern for affecting the watershed.

This hike is best in the fall when temperatures are cooler and the dense foliage of the high-alpine landscape is bursting with orange, red and yellow splashes of color. Still, the hike is stunning in the summer so long as the hiker is prepared with plenty of water and bug spray.

Other things to know

Dogs are allowed on this hike, though those who bring their canine companions should be aware that dogs aren't allowed within 100 feet from the lake, according to Utah Open Lands. Dogs are allowed at nearby Lackawaxen Lake but dogs must be on a leash at all times. Also be aware that there will be many other dogs along the trail and should plan ahead accordingly.

The popularity of this hike means that many people will be present when hiking on a weekend. The trail provides limited opportunities to move out of the way of others. Given the risk of COVID-19, hikers should consider wearing a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others when within 6 feet of another person.

You can read more about Bloods Lake on All Trails.

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