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Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls

Sawtooth Mountains

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls

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  • Shortly after Lady Face Falls the trail crosses Stanley Lake Creek using a series of balanced logs.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • The Stanley Lake Creek crossing in early July.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • The old road and trail stays on the east side of Stanley Lake Creek, but it is possible to get down to the water in several spots.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • Bridal Veil Falls pour over the lip of a steep gully on the west side of the canyon.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • A steep, forested hillside flanks the west side of the canyon.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • Access to Bridal Veil Falls is not recommeded. The terrain is steep, loose, and dangerous. Additionally, it is difficult to get a worthy vantage of the waterfall.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • Bridal Veil Falls drains Hansen Lakes (bottom of photo).  This view looks southeast across the lakes and Stanley Lake Creek Canyon. The west face of McGown Peak dominates the left side of the photo.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • The steep west face of McGown Peak rises over the Stanley Lake Creek Valley.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
  • Some of the gravel bars along Stanley Lake Creek are a great place for a picnic, or just to throw rocks.- Stanley Lake Creek + Bridal Veil Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy walk. Bridal Veil Falls. Mountain bike accessible. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
Mosquitos. Stanley Lake Creek crossing. Open to motorcycles.
Alerts: 
The viewing areas near Lady Face Falls are dangerous, and children must be carefully monitored. Crossing Stanley Lake Creek can be an issue during the spring runoff.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
416.00 ft (126.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
7.40 mi (11.91 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,537.00 ft (1,992.48 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Bridal Veil Falls are located 1.3 miles beyond Lady Face Falls.  There is a crossing of Stanley Lake Creek that can be an issue during the spring runoff.

Bridal Veil Falls

These ribbon-like falls drain Hansen Lakes and pour over the lip of a steep, eroded gully on the west side of the canyon 1.3 miles beyond Lady Face Falls. The falls are best enjoyed from the bottom of the canyon since the gully at the base is composed of rotten granitic soil and loose rock that is nearly impossible to climb. Hansen Lakes can be accessed by climbing an off-trail route up the steep drainage just north of the falls. These lakes are still quite pristine, so please use minimum impact backcountry practices.

Just beyond the turn-off to Lady Face Falls the trail crosses Stanley Lake Creek. There is no bridge, and even though the gradient is quite flat, many hikers turn back in early summer due to high water. Frigid knee-deep water for several yards is the price of admission to the upper Stanley Lake Canyon. A makeshift log bridge usually develops as the water drops. An easy stroll along the wide trail eventually leads to a faint “Y.”  This is where many people cross the creek to access the off-trail climb to Hansen Lakes. Walk a little further to a second spur trail marked by a small “Bridal Veil Falls” sign bolted to a tree. It leads to an opening along the creek with a view of the falls and a sunny lunch spot.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

• From Stanley Lake Trailhead to Lady Face Falls: 2.4 miles, 273 feet.
• From Stanley Lake Trailhead to Bridal Veil Falls: 3.7 miles, 416 feet.

Additional Adventures

Many people leave the trail near Bridal Veil Falls to explore Hansen Lakes (off-trail). Destinations further up the main canyon include McGown Lakes, which connects over a divide to Sawtooth Lake, and the spur to Observation Peak, which offers stunning views and is the only summit in the range with a trail all the way to the top.

Mountain Biking

When the Sawtooth Wilderness was established in 1972, the boundary was drawn to exclude the road to the Greenback Mine. This means that mountain bikes and motorcycles can be ridden to the wilderness boundary 5.7 miles into the canyon. All of the longer trips into the canyon can be “shortened” into reasonable day hikes with the help of a mountain bike. Other than a few sandy washouts beneath McGown Peak, the trail is rideable and quite enjoyable as an activity in its own right.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring the Sawtooths - A Comprehensive Guide by Idaho River Publications.

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Published in collaboration with Idaho River Publications

Our mission is to inspire adventure with beautiful, comprehensive and waterproof map-based guidebooks.  Owner, publisher, and photographer Matt Leidecker, grew up exploring and guiding on the rivers in central Idaho.  His award winning Middle Fork of the Salmon River – A Comprehensive Guide is the standard by which other river guidebooks are measured.  Printed on virtually indestructible YUPO paper, IRP guides are truly unique all-in-one resources for adventure.  Each book is loaded with full-color maps, stunning photographs, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers.  Visit Idaho River Publications to explore our guidebooks to the Rogue River in Oregon and the mountains of Central Idaho.

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