ID – Sawtooth Wilderness, Grandjean Grand Loop (Part 2 of 4)

The last post (link) ended with my campsite along the North Fork of Baron Creek. I got an early start in anticipation of escaping the Baron Creek drainage which had plentiful overgrowth and few views. First up was Baron Creek Falls. I had considered camping nearby so I could access the water. Good thing I didn’t wait as the falls aren’t easily accessible.

Then it was time for another pass. What’s on the other side?

I found a hobbit bridge.

Baron Lakes

The anticipation of what I’d see on the other side of Baron Pass.

Some unnamed tarns and another more mountains.

Then it was down down down through the tarns. Along the way I found some late blooms.

And then I was back at Alpine Lake which I’d visited the previous June (link). It’s a busy place with overused dusty campsites due to it’s proximity to the very popular Redfish Lake trailhead.

I was grateful that it was sufficiently early and I had still had enough energy to bypass Alpine Lake for the night. Onward to Cramer Lakes.

Back in the forest I go.

Some lakes, like Lower Cramer, are surrounded by grass and not the most hiker friendly for obtaining water nor swimming.

I found nirvana at Middle Cramer Lake, complete with a waterfall.

My home for the night at Middle Cramer Lake, complete with waterfall front and center, and tons of fish jumping at dusk and dawn.

Sunset view of Middle Cramer Lake.

On this third night of my trip, I was happy to be eating my way to pack lightness as the terrain was proving plenty challenging. It’s always a trade-off with weight of food vs miles. Less weight = more miles. I wouldn’t have wanted to fly by all these lakes, nor miss out on opportunities for nearby exploration. It was great to spend time enjoying the rewards of swimming, sunsets and sunrises. I rarely carried more than one liter of water and celebrated the lack of bugs.

. . . . to be continued (link to Part 3 of 4)

Adventure Date(s):

  • August 24-30, 2019

Hike Details:Tips:

  • The Ranger Station in Stanley and the Visitor Center at Redfish are helpful resources as is the Riverwear store in Stanley (also has outdoor gear). If you need to refill water, you’ll find potable water in a hose near the gray water dump station at the Stanley Ranger Station.
  • Self register for a backcountry permit at the trailhead. LOVE this system!
  • The best food and WiFi I found in Stanley as of this date was the Papa Brunee’s. You can usually access the WiFi 24×7. The library offers the same but my experience showed it much slower. I liked the coffee kiosk in the Riverwear parking lot. Of course the Stanley Baking Company & Café is always a good option but it can be quite busy. There’s a quick line at the bar if you want coffee and a bakery item. Grandjean Lodge also has yummy food if using that trailhead.
  • If you are arriving via Lowman, you won’t find any cell service in Lowman nor until you are nearly in Stanley.
  • There are tons of dispersed camping options in the Sawtooth National Forest. Check with the ranger station for recommended roads and options.
  • Grocery options are slim in Stanley. If you are going to be in the area for an extended time, it might be worth a trip to Challis or Hailey, both over an hour away.
  • Check out the nearby hot springs for post-hike recovery. Sunbeam Hot Springs is about 20 minutes to the east. Kirkham Hot Springs is about an hour south just past Lowman.
  • Laundry and showers are available at Redfish, as well as in Challis at the Pioneer Motel and RV Park. Another option for showers is the Grandjean Lodge.
  • If you’re looking for a place to hang out between trips, the park is a good option. The beach at Redfish Lake and along the Salmon River are other great options.



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