Grandaddy Lake is a gorgeous, high Uinta lake. Grandaddy is known as being the largest natural lake in the high Uinta Mountains. When the Uintas are known for having over a thousand lakes, being the largest is a pretty cool designation! Grandaddy Lake is located in the High Uinta Wilderness area. For this reason, motorized vehicles are not allowed. If you want to see this beautiful lake, you will need to hike or ride horses in. Mommy Crusader and I packed up all five of our little knights and ladies and we completed the trek out to Grandaddy Lake.
I would recommend making this hike, for it is gorgeous! It is definitely worth it. You do want to make sure you have an early start or are planning to stay the night. It is a four-mile hike, one-way. You are climbing up over a high mountain pass and dropping down into a valley. If you are hiking with children, this hike will take longer than you planned. It took us more than two hours to hike one-way. This trek is four miles long, with a hard ascent and a hard descent on both sides on rocky terrain. Make sure that you are in the proper physical condition to make the trek.
To get to Grandaddy Lake, head South from Kamas, UT, and then head east on Highway 35. Just before you get to Hanna, UT, turn north on North Fork Road. Follow it up, until just past the Hades Canyon campground and the horse rental and camping resort. Turn right onto Hades Canyon road, it will have a marker that says Grandview trailhead. Follow this road up for six miles until you read the Grandview trailhead. On a Summer weekend, there will be quite a few cars here. You will only want to make this trek in July or August with your family, otherwise it will be too cold.
The trail starts by following a stream up a canyon. One thing about the High Uintas, ALWAYS prepare for rain. Make sure and check the forecast before you head up. It wasn’t supposed to rain on us, but in the High Uintas, any cloud can settle down into a valley and get you very wet. For this same reason, make sure and wear shoes that you can get wet. The first part of this trail is very wet.
You will want to pack lightly and make sure that you have plenty of water. Each of my three largest kiddos carried two water bottles and snacks, lunch, and dinner. The two older kiddos also each had two fishing poles. Mommy Crusader packed two water bottles, and another gallon of water to re-fill water bottles. I packed a small tackle box, four bottles of water, some light snacks, and my toddler.
You will cross over a bridge, and then head up the other side of the canyon. At this point you will be going up switch-backs. The trail wasn’t nearly as wet after this point, but make sure that everyone in your party has good mosquito repellent on. They are HUNGRY!
After you hike up the switch-backs, you will be on top, headed towards Hades pass. This is the easiest hiking, but it is about a mile-long. The views are gorgeous.
As you top Hades Pass, you will start down the valley to the other side. This is another series of switchbacks. Shortly after these switchbacks begin you will see the lakes. Heart Lake is located near the top of the switchbacks. From what we have heard, there aren’t fish in Heart Lake. You can see that it is quite shallow. There are also LOTS of little lakes that you will see on the way down.
Because you can see the lake, you will think that you are close. This is deceptive, it is quite a bit farther than you think. You will go down a series of switchbacks, and go down a long, straight path until you finally reach Grandaddy Lake.
We went down and set-up a picnic site near Grandaddy Lake. I apologize that I don’t have any more pictures, because I was too busy helping my kids go fishing and be kids instead of taking pictures. We did have success fishing at Grandaddy Lake, using a gold spinner. We weren’t able to fish as long as we would have liked, because one of the storms that are common in the High Uintas cut our fishing short. The hike out was uneventful, but we were VERY tired when we got home and the next day. My Preschooler, First Grader, Third Grader, and Fifth Grader all made the trek by themselves.
If you are looking for a family accessible, gorgeous hike to an awesome lake, then take the time to head out to Grandaddy Lake!