One of the best hikes I've done in the area! The first 5 miles or so were very gradual and gentle, ascending through the lush, damp forest. The creek crossings were very easy and manageable.
When we set off around 8:30 am, the neighboring mountains were misty and it rained quite heavily for about an hour. Since we embarked early in the day, we scarcely encountered other hikers.
Shortly after passing the junction for Lake Thompson/Granite Lakes, we encountered large patches of snow. I regretted not wearing my gaiters; thankfully, crampons were not needed as the snow was very powdery and not very slick. I definitely recommend trekking poles for this section.
We finally reached the lake around noon. It was absolutely beautiful, there was a lot of snow, which made finding the path down to the lake's edge a bit difficult. The path from the ridge down to the lake's edge was tough: lots of mud, slippery roots and rocks, and patches of snow. Caution and trekking poles are a must here.
After a short break, we decided to head back down around 1:00 pm. The sun began shinning through the clouds and mist, which enhanced the already breathtaking views even more. Ascending back to the ridge was very difficult, and it took us about 30 minutes to do so. After this, going back down was smooth sailing for the most part. We encountered many more hikers at this time. The clear skies and warmth from the sun were very refreshing.
We pushed through the return hike at a blistering pace. From the lake's edge to the beginning of the Granite Creek Connector, it took us just under 3.5 hours. We were exhausted by the end, but still smitten by its beauty.
Would definitely recommend: trekking poles, extra socks, waterproof boots, and gaiters for this hike. This will definitely be a repeat trip for us later on in the summer when we can camp near the lake!