100 Hikes in Utah
by Steve Mann & Rhett Olson (The Mountaineers Books)
© Steve Mann & Rhett Olson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
We took an alternate route to Lake Hardy. We started at the water tower but when we got to First Hemagog (meadow) we went east on the trail through East Hemagog instead of going West to Second Hemagog.
This trail is a fun narrow trail that takes you through 6 foot ferns and through the hills and forest. As you travel east you cross a beautiful river with a pool and a log for a bridge. (Great place to replenish water supplies before conquering the steep section). A short distance after the river there is a clearly marked trail head at a fork that takes you north to Lake hardy.
After a long steep climb through vegetation you begin to climb the exposed granite. Their is a dirt trail that is close to the cliffs to the east or you can hike up the granite boulders following the rock piles. This trail eventually links you to the river that comes out of Lake Hardy. (If you go the traditional way, west through First Hemagog, you will look down into a beautiful green meadow just South of Lake Hardy where the river flows. If you go east like we did you will walk right through this meadow). Great views, pretty steep, but definitely doable. It took us almost 5 hours with 30lb packs. Though, I could see it taking up to 7.5 hours if you are not in good shape. Everyone was tired but all survived. When we got to Lake Hardy we swam in the ice cold water but we were so hot it felt great!
The next day we headed up to the saddle and climbed up Chipman Peak. Great views there as well. Beautiful hike!
We had some in our party that had previously hiked the traditional route through Second Hemagog to get to lake hardy. They said that they thought that the traditional way was a less strenuous hike but most likely more miles. Going East had some gorgeous views and it was fun to follow the river valley up as you neared Lake Hardy. Both routes will get you there pick your poison.
Awesome hike and gorgeous lake. the 1st meadow was perfect. the hike from the 1st to 2nd meadow wasnt too bad. the 2nd meadow is a nice meadow. there was no water running through creek beds, but still nice meadow. the hike from the 2nd meadow to lake hardy was the hardest part. once over the ridge into same valley as the lake you have to follow rocks stacked. can be a little confusing but not to hard to find. lake was small and gorgeous. surrounded by bushes and grass and snuggled inside cliff faces. with a boulder field on the NW side that leads over towards thunder basin and little cottonwood canyon. one of my favorite hikes for sure. only part i didnt like is there really isnt any parking and you have to hike a dirt road for the first 2-3 miles. after that be ready to take it all in though.
Incredible place! Really beautiful scenery and great views! We hiked to the 2nd Hamongog - the guide is not lying when it says that it is "one of the most pleasant meadows you'll find anywhere." I really could have camped there for several days if I had the food and the time! The water was cool and (through filtration) very tasty!
The hike up to Lake Hardy was more strenuous than I imagined and I'm glad I only had a day pack. The small pools and waterfalls in the stream leading up to the Lake were a delight to see and play in. It is most spectacular as you come over the lip and finally see the Lake itself - tucked between sheer cliffs and a rocky mountain. It makes you wonder how anyone first found this place.
The smooth Lake surface gave a beautiful reflection of the rocky cliffs and peaks, as well as the unmelted snow (even in mid-August!) on the side of the Lake. Even with 18 scouts, the place was peaceful and relaxing. After boot-skiing down the snow field, I took a short sun-bath on the smooth, south-facing rocks - the outlet stream bubbled over the surface of the rocks and dropped into a small pond before disappearing over the edge of more granite boulders to the series of waterfalls and small pools. It was serenity indeed.
A couple of guys that hiked with me climbed up to the peak above the Lake. On the way, they surprised a herd of 5-6 mountain goats and were delighted by the quick retreat these beautiful snow-white animals made.
August is a great time to make this hike as the wildflowers were in full bloom, there was plentiful water and the weather was just right (cloud cover in the morning, not too cold at night). I will recommend this to anyone.
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