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Only two types of vehicles can make it up the road, 4WD or rentals. We had a rental and if you took it slow, it wasn't much of a problem. This may be the prettiest start to a trail that I have ever hiked. A beautiful lake framed by the mountains, it was awesome. The only disappointment was that you could hear the falls from miles away but when you arrive, you can't get a good view of them.

In one trail we saw a moose a bald eagle and 3 deer. The road to the trail is horrible but the trail, waterfalls and scenery are fabulous

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing area, good first backpacking trip hike/ location!

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Road was open to the trail but you need 4x4 or AWD. We broke trail snowshoeing. We made it two miles in before turning back. Fun first snowshoe of the season.

Wow! First weekend in November and a perfect day to Hike. Last Mile had about 5 or 6 big switchbacks and took a little longer getting up that part, but so worth the view.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday 10-27-18. Very snowy like the previous poster said. After the first lake it got really deep and we had to turn around. It was also pretty slick after everyone had compacted the snow and melting then refreezing at night. I would be cautious, there were a few parts that were a little touch and go. On the other hand, beautiful beautiful hike!!

Road was good and clear of snow. The hike took me about an hour and forty minutes one way. In a season with less snow, I would have definitely continued on as the trail is beautiful. I enjoyed the last portion best as I neared the creek. Also, I found quite a few scenic options and ended up walking up the boulders to get a better view of the valley and peaks ahead. Met about 7 people on the trail and a few more that came to see the lake. Nice moderate hike. I packed poles but did not need them.

Agree with other reviewers about the road. If it's clear with no snow, you're fine in a basic passenger vehicle. Just go slow. Anything more and a 4x4 is strongly recommended. With that said....

The trail is so worth it. The Gore Range is spectacular. I heard about the crowds, heat, etc. and must have lucked out. Thursday afternoon and not a soul in sight. Perfect day to hike. I started at 12:30pm and finished about 4:00pm with plenty of down time for photos, stop for water, etc. I lost sight of the trail at the falls (even though I could hear them) and ended up on the trail to climb Powell. I didn't have the time to keep going, so turned around and hustled back (got nervous about the weather). But the aspens, pines, falls are worth it.

I just came from sea level and took this trail slow given I've only been at altitude for less than a day. Did fine. I'm in above average shape, so lots of water and a good nights sleep the day before probably helped. I chose this for the limited elevation gain on the trail - think that was the right call.

Strongly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

I hiked this trail on 10/21/18. Very beautiful area. However, this 7.2 mile out and back turned into 10.5 miles due to the snow. 80% of the trail had between 2 inches - 2.5 feet of snow. The snow and ice made the hike very difficult. Unless you’re experienced with snow hiking and snowshoes, I would not advise the hike until the snow melts. In the end, the snow got so deep, we couldn’t even make it the last 400 meters to grand lake.

One note though is that the first mile of the hike is easy (if no snow) and takes you to a beautiful small waterfall and small lake.

By far one of my favorite trails in the area.

Slow incline on the way up. We took our time. The hike down went much faster. The road here was sketchy. We rented a car, booked a Jeep, ended up with a HYUNDAI. Even the front wheel drive vehicle did fine. If it snows you will need four wheel drive. You get a bit of everything in this hike though. 4- of the 5 senses. Everything but taste:)

We went during the week back in August to avoid the crowds. Bumpy road going up in a Jeep. Views are stunningly beautiful. Gentle stroll at first then slow ascent. I’d barely call this moderate.....more like advanced easy

It is not lightly trafficked July, August

3 months ago

Amazing views. Friendly people on the trail.

Wonderful trail that’s just wild enough to be challenging! Great views the whole way up to the lake and a great lake it is! Access road is dirt and is probably not well suited for late season travel unless you have a good overlander

Very little snow at the top, amazing lakes. This is one of my fav hikes I've ever done. Would make sure you bring waterproof hiking boots though since the trail was a little muddy and wet

backpacking
3 months ago

This is one of my all time favorite hikes in Stanley! I highly recommend heading down to Alpine Lake on the way to Sawtooth. It's a must see! The hike had great views after the 2nd mile or so and they just kept getting better. If you go in July make sure to bring mosquito spray! They definately do get pretty gnarly especially around the water or in the evenings. Other than the kamikaze mosquitos, he hike is beautiful. Highly reccomend!

beautiful and lots of uphill.
we did it in 5 days. pretty cold as we did it the last week of September. take time to stop and look. so beautiful

trail running
3 months ago

Heavy incline with the altitude but through piney single track. Rocky but not overly technical, small lake at the end and an easy pacer down.

trail running
3 months ago

Amazing trail, the lakes and creeks are gorgeous.

hiking
3 months ago

It’s a constant gradual up then the last mile or so a steep straight up. Then, it’s very steep down until it’s a constant gradual down. It’s pretty and otherworldly dropping into that lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Great loop! We did the whole thing and added 1.6 miles on to go to Echo Lake for a total of 28 miles. We did the loop all in one day, though if you aren’t in shape I wouldn’t suggest it. We ran some of it. Bring lots of water, there were a few creeks along the way if you went counter-clockwise. The last half there were not creeks. We didn’t see a single soul on the trail! Beautiful area! Highly recommend going in the fall. The colors were amazing!!

hiking
3 months ago

Wow. Today was one of those rare occurrences where parking wasn't really an issue. We arrived at the trailhead at about 11:30 a.m. and had our choice of parking spots. This is a great trail. There weren't too many people. However, I would say that it is a popular local and visitor trail. I saw lots of people without any gear just going for a short jaunt. You can backpack this trail and do a big loop with adjoining trails in the area. There were piles of gold everywhere on the forest floor. The Aspens were shimmering with every breeze and this glorious sunny fall day. There was a little rock scrambling to be head, boggy spots to maneuver through with care, and a Pixy land of overgrown ferns within huge stands of Aspen groves. One could easily loose the trail if not paying attention. The lakes along the way are really little ponds, but the entire hike has great vistas and ambiance. There are house sized, moss covered boulders, stone stair steps to climb (careful! they are steep) and a great creek crossing. The hike is about 5.2 miles. Moderate is a good rating. My 10 and 7 year old did it no problem. Keep eyes peeled. This is mountain lion, bear and Squatch country.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike on Saturday, 9/22. Very few people on trail. Sunny, clear day, sea level friend joined us and did fine! The first lake you come to is just as beautiful as Lower Missouri Lake, which is just up a bit. We didn’t do the loop to connect up to Fancy Lake Trail bec two in our party were tired. Will try that next time.

I would agree with high end of moderate. It is a leg burner of a hike but the end result leaves you with stunning views. Would definitely do this one again. If you go to the left of Maxwell you will also find another little pond.

Yes, the drive up is long and bumpy, but the hike is so worth it. Fall colors were absolutely beautiful and view over the lake and mountains when you first start is breathtaking. Not a challenging hike at all with just a slight incline and some areas where you have to climb over some rocks. Totally fine to take kids on. There was quite a crowd when I was there, but you can park along the road, so don’t worry too much about that.

Survived the long forest road in a Prius, although any amount of rain or snow would have made it too difficult to pass. The view from the TH/ranch is a stunner. The trail the whole way to the waterfall is an easy hike, and the incline becomes much more challenging up the ridge afterward. We didn’t make more than a mile or so past the waterfall, the view looking back down and out to the Gore Range was worth the extra jaunt.

The last mile is tough but worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Along the ridge trail, beautiful aspen colors. Saw moose near winding river below. Several streams with logs to walk over. Waterfall minimal due to dry season

Absolutely beautiful fall hike! The aspens are gorgeous, and the mountains are spectacular!
The waterfall/creek at the end is nothing to write home about.
Little shade coverage, even when you’re in the trees.
The dirt road is about 5 miles and VERY bumpy- so make sure your car is ready! It’s fine in lower clearance cars as long as you drive nice and slow.

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