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Grandjean is an oft-overlooked jumping off point for hikes in the Sawtooths.
Even though it’s closer to Boise than Stanley and Redfish Lake, Grandjean’s dirt road access and limited amenities make Stanley the preferable destination for most.
Thus, hiking to Baron Lake from Grandjean, instead of from Redfish, is a more solitary experience, but it’s also longer and more elevation gain.
If you want to camp at the famously beautiful Baron Lakes, beneath one of the Sawtooth’s toothiest ridgelines, but don’t care for the touristy Redfish Lake experience, you should hike in from Grandjean. You’ll begin the hike as for Trail Creek Lakes, but soon turn at a signed junction for Baron Lakes, and proceed on a pleasant walk through conifer forest at the base of a steep, open slope.
At another junction you’ll turn to trace Baron Creek into its incredibly steep-sided canyon.
It’s a long but scenic walk up this drainage on a lightly-trodden path.
Wildfires have created a patchwork of trees and meadows, so you’ll have no shortage of views to the granite peaks that surround. Eventually the ascent becomes steeper, and the trail zigzags toward a headwall streaming with water.
This is Baron Falls.
Moving up, the switchbacks become sharper and soon leave the forest for a talus slope beneath a particularly sheer mountain face.
This is the tough part of the hike, but it’s brief.
On top you’ll have a brilliant view down the valley you just came up.
The trail continues through the rocky and lightly forested upper valley, climbing gradually to finally reach Baron Lakes. A side trail leads to Lower Baron Lake, but staying on the main trail brings you to Middle Baron Lake.
It’s the largest and most often photographed of the three, set against jagged spires of the Monte Verita ridgeline.
It’s also the most popular lake for camping, and is likely where you’ll encounter the people who hiked from Redfish Lake.
Camping is at-large, and though there are several good spots near the shore, they can fill up.
Farther along the main trail is Upper Baron Lake, which has campsites as well.
You may find additional sites along use trails away from the lakeshores.