Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mill B South Interpretive Trail - Winter

I didn’t know what this particular trail was called until doing a little research. Even though I have done most of it several times on my way up to Lake Blanche. It is a great paved trail following Big Cottonwood Creek up to a neat little set of cascades at the end. From my research it looks like the ‘interpretive’ stuff is soon to come. I decided to add this to our winter adventure to Hidden Falls and it turned out to be a great winter adventure.

Quick Details:

Length: About a mile to the cascades
Difficulty: DR2. It is paved with a slight incline.
Elevation Gain: Not sure, not too much though.
Restroom: Yes, there is a restroom at the trailhead. It is not open in the winter though.
Dogs? No. Big Cottonwood Canyon is watershed so dogs are not allowed.
Extra Info: Paved means well, pretty much nothing in the winter. Good winter boots and a hiking pole are recommended.

To get here, drive approximately 4.4 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the big S curve. Park in the lower (south) parking area and hike up past the restrooms.


Looking down Big Cottonwood Canyon from the S curve.


Looking up towards Mill B South.


Mill B South parking lot. Closed for the season, so find street parking.


Big Cottonwood Creek.




It is absolutely amazing up here in the winter!


Small waterfall next to the Lake Blanche Trailhead. I like that it made a fun ice tunnel.


This is as far as I have been on this trail before, and the previously very high travelled trail thins out quite a bit. The regular winter boots and hiking poles are doing great for the Interpretive Trail, but I think we would need better equipment to hike to Lake Blanche with all this snow! No Matter, I am having a great time, time to see what else is up here.


Fun tree roots.


Snowy trees.

So, I can’t tell for sure with all the snow, but it appears the paved pathway might end somewhere about here. I would have to confirm on a warmer day, but I don’t think it is paved all the way to the cascades.


And the cascades at the end. I don’t know if they are named, but I am just going to go with Mill B Cascades.

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Neat icicles.


With a view of the mountains above.


Someone made a snow angel.

Well these are some nice cascades, and I am glad we found them. I always wondered if there might be some near here considering how quickly the S curve brings you up. Not the best cascades by any mean, but still very nice. Time to head on back.


Snowy woods.


Big Cottonwood Creek.


Snow covered trees.


Back to the waterfall by the Lake Blanche Trail.


The Lake Blanche Trail. Looks like a lot of people brave the snow and head up that way. I might consider it one day, but definitely need better equipment.


Snow covered trees.


Clouds around the peaks.


Big Cottonwood Creek again.


Thick snowflakes sticking to my arm.

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Ice chandelier.


Peaks above again.


the creek near the parking lot.


Looking down Big Cottonwood Canyon.


Cliff icicles.


Heading down the canyon (Drive By Photography (DBP)).


My lens fog up from the temperature difference, but I like how this one came out (DBP).


Pretty snowy canyon (DBP).

Well that was a great short adventure! I finally managed to get out and explore, even with all the snow up here. Typically I avoid the canyons in winter, but now I see that I don’t need to, and I am glad I did. This short interpretive trail is a great winter adventure. 10 out of 10 Squirrels.

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As for difficulty, During summer it would probably be a DR2, however I need to confirm that the trail is paved to the end. DR3 for winter.

Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon so leave Fido at home.

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Hidden Falls - Winter

Hidden falls is a great short hike any time of the year, including, as I just discovered, winter! It is located on the North section of the big S curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s been a couple weeks since we have gotten out and I was just chomping at the bit. I was looking for a shorter adventure too, so I decided to do this one today.

Quick Details:

Length: ~1/4 mile out and back. Seriously super short.
Difficulty: DR3. It’s short and there is barely any elevation gain.
Elevation Gain: Maybe 15 or 20 feet, tops.
Restroom: There is a restroom in the Mill B South parking lot. Closed for winters though.
Dogs? Big Cottonwood Canyon is watershed, so dogs are not allowed.
Extra Info: It is pretty popular so the snow will likely be packed down. However good winter boots and a hiking pole are recommended in winter.

To get here drive approximately 4.4 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon until you hit the S curve. If you are not familiar with it, trust me, you will know it when you hit it. There are 2 major trail heads here, Mill B South and North. Hidden falls is on the North, so park in the upper (north) parking lot, or well, wherever you happen to find a spot. You will have to scurry across Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd. Be sure to watch for cars. After you cross the road and hit the trail be sure to go straight back, following the creek. Taking the fork on the right is also a nice hike, but it is significantly longer.


The canyon looks incredible in the winter! (Drive By Photo (DBP)).


View up canyon from the S curve. It is a winter wonderland up here!


Snow covered trees.


Cliff hanging icicles.


And the trail! It’s kind of hard to make out, but you can see the trail through the snow next to the stream.


Lots of snow up here. I thought I remembered the trail being generally flat, but there is a small hill you have to get up that was a little slick. I recommend having good boots and a hiking pole.


And then before you know it you can see the waterfall.


It’s not a big waterfall, but it is nice.


Not as much ice as I was expecting.


With the narrow canyon above.


A little closer.


Great little waterfall.


Nearby mine.


I poked my camera in a took a shot.


Some greenery hiding under this rock.


Looking down canyon.


And nearing the trailhead again.


Back to the S curve.

Well that was a fun winter adventure! If you still have some energy like I did, you can explore the Mill B Interpretive Trail. Or if there isn’t as much snow, there are quite a few great adventures to explore here. The Mill B North trail, Lake Blanch, and one I have yet to explore, Broads Fork. Final rating 9 out of 10 squirrels! Losing one for having to try to park at the S curve, and scrambling across Big Cottonwood Canyon Road!

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As for difficulty, It is super short and very easy without snow. With snow, I would recommend good winter boots and a hiking pole. Preferably ice clamps on your boots if you have them. That said, we made it just fine in our winter boots with hiking poles. Definitely a DR3.

Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon as it is watershed. Please leave Fido at home.

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