White Pine Lake is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon only a short distance away from Salt Lake City. It is often considered one of the top lake hikes in the Wasatch. The lake is located at the base of White Baldy, Red Baldy, and Thunder Mountain, which creates a stunning backdrop. In this article, you’ll get all the info you need for hiking to this gorgeous lake.
Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance – 10.1 miles round trip (16.25 km)
Height – 9,945 feet (3031.24 m)
Elevation gain – 2,995 feet (912.88 m)
Duration – 6-7 hours (book time)
Trailhead Location – White Pine Trailhead (7,671 Feet)
Dogs – Not allowed on this trail
Need To Know Information
- Dogs are not allowed on this hike.
- Swimming is not allowed in any of the lakes in this area.
- This is a popular hike, and you will encounter people. Parking fills up quite fast.
- There is overflow parking on the road (explained below).
- Camping is common, and there are no fees or permits required. Camping information and regulations below.
White Pine Lake Via White Pine Trailhead – 10.1 miles round trip (16.25 km) – 2,995 feet (912.88 m) Elevation Gain
This is the only commonly taken route to White Pine Lake. Hikers begin at the trailhead behind the bathrooms located at the parking lot. Hikers descend a small amount before crossing a footbridge over Little Cottonwood Creek. From here, the trail is road width, well maintained, and very well traveled. Hikers will ascend a moderate incline for 0.9 miles before reaching the first junction. Hikers will find a sign leading to the far left towards White Pine Lake, and a second sign towards Red Pine Lake and Maybird Gulch. This junction is located at a beautiful spot along the river as well.
Hikers follow signs to White Pine Lake (a hard left turn).
The trail to White Pine lake remains a dirt road width with moderate gain the entire way, making this a straightforward ascent that consistently gains elevation the entire route. There aren’t any trail junctions to worry about, so staying on the road all the way to the lake is very easy.
The road eventually takes you above White Pine Lake by about 150 feet before it drops down to the lake. Hikers can also choose to walk around the lake if they would like.
Hiking in Winter
This is a great winter hike, but the summer route is exposed to avalanche danger in winter. Due to this, the trail should be avoided during elevated avalanche risk danger times, and should only be done by those with experience understanding avalanche conditions.
This is a common camping area. Due to the wilderness area and watershed regulations, no campfires or dogs are allowed. Any campers must camp at least 200 feet away from trails, lakes, or streams. Campers will find established sites all around both lakes pretty easily.
Fishing White Pine Lake
White Pine Lake does have fish in it. In our experience, it isn’t heavily populated, but they are there, catchable, and some even have some decent size (14+ inches). This is a catch and release fishery. Fish will take dry flies on most summer days, but using a dry dropper rig is highly recommended.
Here is a detailed weather forecast for the area:
Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Southwest wind around 9 mph.
Mostly sunny. High near 55, with temperatures falling to around 53 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 8 to 15 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Southwest wind 7 to 14 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 58. South southwest wind 9 to 21 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 40. South southeast wind 12 to 18 mph.
A chance of rain and snow showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 56. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
A chance of rain before 9pm, then rain and snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
The White Pine Trailhead is a medium sized parking lot, but parking is located along the road as long as cars stay off the road, and not over the white lines. This is a very popular destination, so parking is often limited on weekends, holidays, or nice weather days. You’ll frequently see cars lining the road as this trailhead is a popular spot for several hiking destinations.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about