The weather forecast for the weekend was looking dismal, so I wanted to use the sun while it was here. After my summit of not too distant Cadet Peak this past Wednesday, Greider lakes felt like a good option. Not a huge amount of elevation gain, but, according to many still a worthy destination. The trail begins easy and just winds along the side of Spada Lake for the first two miles. Along this stretch, there are several spots with large creeks that you must cross. I had read trip reports from others saying that you had to wade through one or two of them. But, I was able to cross on logs and rocks without removing my boots.
After two miles you will arrive at a large area that used to be the parking lot for Greider Lakes trail. Take a right and you will see the trailhead signs pointing you towards the correct trail. From here, the hike gets a little more difficult.
Almost immediately after reflection pond, the trail begins to climb up the side of the hill. For the next mile or mile and a half, there will not be any let-up. In fact, the majority of the 1400 ft of elevation gain is in this one section. In that respect, the Greider Lakes trail is very reminiscent of others in the area like Gothic Basin. As it climbs it has no views and the trail can be quite steep in spots.
Due to the nasty winter our mountains had, there is currently a large number of blow downs. Many of these looked old and so it does not seem the cleaning of the trail occurs very often. Be aware that you will be climbing over trees in multiple spots.
Once you crest the hill, the smaller of the two lakes will be just a few hundred feet away. While the first lake itself was not that impressive, the campsites were. They each have a dedicated fire pit and plenty of space for tents.
If you feel the gusto to go for it, the upper lake is only another half mile ahead. After seeing both lakes I would say the upper Greider Lake is far more worth the effort of the day then its smaller neighbor.
Greider lakes felt like a great place for a first time backpacking adventure with kids. While not the most entertaining trail I have ever hiked in the area it was worth the one-time effort.