Hanson Lakes are nestled in the mountains on the west side of Stanley Creek above Bridal Veil Falls. There are three lakes of which you will see two in this review, I was to tired to tackle another few hundred feet of elevation gain to see the upper lake. To get to Stanley Lake Trailhead from Stanley, ID take Highway 21 west 4.6 miles to Stanley Lake Rd which will be on your left. Follow Stanley Lake Rd another 3.6 miles to the trailhead. For details check out this Google Map.
Watch for the trail on your left.
It is about three quarters of a mile to the junction with the Idaho Centennial Trail. A raised walkway has been built to get you over some wet patches.
At the junction with the Idaho Centennial Trail there is a "sign-in log". Make sure you sign in.
Meadows along the trail with Mount McGowen in the background.
About 1.4 miles into the hike you will see a small trail forking off to your left. This is the "Alpine Way Trail". It will take you around the east side of Mount McGowen and on to Iron Creek. Stay to the right.
The trail climbs a bit at 2.3 miles and Lady Face Falls can be heard off to your left. Watch for a sign attached to a tree on the left side of the trail after reaching the crest of a hill for the short trail to Lady Face Falls. It is very easy to miss this sign.
Stanley Lake Creek can be dangerous to forde early in the season. It was only about a foot deep in early August. I took the small trail to the right and never crossed Stanley Lake Creek however the trail disappears quickly and the rest of the hike to the trail on the north side of Bridal Veil Falls was cross country. I am sure I burned much more energy than I would have on the trail.
However I would not have found this lovely spot had I stayed on the main trail.
I found this small trail leading from Stanley Lake Creek on the north side of Bridal Veil Falls. The climb up past Bridal Veil Falls is very steep and narrow. I would not encourage it if you have any trouble with your knees as the climb down would be very tough on you.
Bridal Veil Falls
Check out this video of the falls. I hope you can see how steep this hillside is.
A piece of the trail above the falls.
A picture of the creek as it leaves lower Hanson Lake. Just to the right of this picture are a couple of very nice campsites.
A view of the lower Hanson Lake with an unnamed rock point behind.To reach the second lake you can work your way up the hillsdie in the trees you see across the lake. So back up to where you came to the lake along the creek and stay to the right shore of the lake. There is no obvious trail so it is a matter of trial and error finding your way up. I recommend you go past the creek coming from the middle lake. There is heavy brush and clifts near that creek.
This picture was taken from just below the rock point shown in the last picture. It is a fantastic view! This is my favorite view I found in 2016.
I came on the second of the Hanson Lakes from above. There are a couple campsites on the right side of the lake. FYI - I saw much more activity from fish in this lake when compared to the lower lake. The color of the water in this lake was fabulous! Checkout this short video of my "lunchbreak".
One last picture of the second Hanson Lake. There is a third lake on one of the benches between this lake and the peaks beyond but I was getting tired and didn't attempt the climb. I hope you enjoy this hike as much as I did. I hope to come back and stay long enough to get a really great sunset picture of the lower lake.