The Iron Creek - Stanley Lake Trail #640 is a point to point trail that connects the Stanley Lake and Iron Creek Trailheads. Highlights from the Stanley Lake Trailhead include Lady Face Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, as well as access to Observation Peak. Meanwhile, Sawtooth Lake is the most popular destination from the Iron Creek Trailhead.
The Iron Creek - Stanley Lake Trail is very easy to follow and well maintained with detailed signed junctions. If starting from the Iron Creek Trailhead you will enter the Sawtooth Wilderness after just over a mile. The trail then begins its gently graded climb to the popular Sawtooth Lake. From there the trail traverses the north end of the lake and makes a gentle climb to a scenic pass at its northwest corner. The trail then enters a recent burn zone as it descends to the quaint but scenic McGown Lakes. After meandering through the McGown Lakes basin area the trail then descends through a series of several switchbacks to the Stanley Creek drainage and the intersection with the Observation Peak and the Trail Creek Lakes Trail. At this point, the trail makes a northward turn towards the Stanley Lake Trailhead area.
The entire area from Sawtooth Lake to nearly the Stanley Lake trailhead suffered a recent burn. The tread remains easy to follow and there is no deadfall completely impeding travel, however, there are very few living trees standing throughout this section. The devastation of the burn gets progressively better as you approach the Bridal Veil Falls and almost becomes non-existent for the final few miles to the trailhead. Bridal Veil Falls is normally viewed from the trail, however, there is a primitive use trail that climbs steeply to the base of the falls for the more adventurous. About one mile after Bridal Veil Falls there is a sign pointing to Lady Face Falls which can be reached by a short spur trail. The trail the enters a few pleasant open meadows and crosses a couple of wooden bridges before ending at the Stanley Lake Trailhead. This section of trail is flat and offers very easy hiking and some great views of the dominating McGown Peak. If looking for an easier section of the Iron Creek Stanley Lake Trail to hike, then this is the section for you. A hike to the viewing point for Bridal Veil Falls from the Stanley Lake Trailhead would be just under an 8 mile roundtrip with about 700 feet in aeg.
All hikers entering the Sawtooth Wilderness are required to fill out a permit at the trailhead and then display the permit on their packs while hiking or backpacking in the Sawtooth Wilderness. There are directions for this procedure and permits available at all trailheads serving as access points to the wilderness portions of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The permits are free.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.