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.
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.
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.
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.
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