The day prior to my hike was spent lollygagging around Redfish Lake.
Just like my hikes from the Grandjean Trailhead, I didn’t know how far I’d be able to go before being stopped by either too much snow or unsafe water crossings. The plan was to take the Redfish Lake Creek Trail to Bench Lakes and hopefully Alpine Lake, and if I was really really lucky maybe to Baron Pass. An unlikely last option was reaching Cramer Lakes.
Bridges make me happy.
With plenty of snow lingering on the shore where the trail continues on to the rest of the lakes, I decided to turnaround here at the first Bench Lake rather than explore further.
Back on Redfish Lake Creek Trail, I continued to enjoy views of Redfish Lake and Grand Mogul peak.
You can take a ferry across Redfish Lake, which is a popular option to shave a few miles off this trek. On this date the majority of hikers from the boat were headed to Bench Lake.
I was now on my way to Alpine Lake.
Redfish Lake Creek was running high and turbulent. I was grateful I wouldn’t be crossing it.
I found this nice flat rock to camp under the stars.
But then clouds rolled in and I chickened out and set up my tent, which was good because then the skeeters came for a visit.
As the moon rose, I questioned my decision but was happy to enjoy the view from the comfort of my tent.
And then this happened. YES, my decision was the right one.
It’s a new day and I’m on my way to Alpine Lake. It should be noted there are two lakes named Alpine Lake in the Sawtooths. This one near Redfish Lake and the other near Sawtooth Lake. Very confusing.
You’d have to cross this to get to Cramer Lakes.
As it was, the trail to Alpine Lake started to look like a creek.
Eek I was screaming with joy seeing these mountains.
Forward progress was slowed by a few obstacles.
It was obvious some didn’t make it past these obstacles. I didn’t want to join those ranks.
The reward! Yes, this is Alpine Lake.
Look at that drainage. Oh my!
So much granite.
I absolutely love this type of meandering trail that follows the contour and leads to the unknown. Looking one direction.
Looking the opposite direction.
I can’t wait to come back and cross over that pass. If I remember correctly, that’s Baron Pass which connects to the Baron Creeks trail I hiked for a bit from Grandjean. This would also mean that’s Warbonnet Peak on the left and Braxon Peak on the right, but it also might be Monte Verita Peak on the left with Warbonnet still out of view.
On my return I spent more time noticing details such as this unusual granite feature, much more sand colored than the majority.
I also investigated more of the smaller waterfalls.
I took time to be WOW’d by the big water features.
At this higher elevation, wildflowers were still waiting for spring. I did find a few shooting stars.
A sure sign spring is on it’s way though is butterflies.
- June 3-5, 2018
- Hiking Stats:
- Permits are free and self serve at the trailhead. I wish more areas would adopt this practice.
- It seems campfire rings might be a thing of the past. I like this philosophy.
- Public showers and laundry are available near Redfish Lake Lodge.
- Visit the Ranger Station in Stanley to determine latest trail conditions and dispersed camping options. They marked a Motor Vehicle Use map with roads appropriate for my vehicle and approved for dispersed camping. After hiking various trails I reported back to the Stanley Ranger Station and the rangers provided more and more options after each visit. Once they know your interests and abilities they are more willing to assist in the process.