Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Sawtooth National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Fantastic hike completed in ten hours. First snow of the year with beautiful fall colors. Trail names (numbers not referenced) are well marked.

hiking
5 days ago

Brought my father-in-law here and loved this trail. He is agrees it’s one of the best hikes he’s done in his life! I’m looking forward to doing this again and backpacking further!

It is not lightly trafficked July, August

7 days ago

Amazing views. Friendly people on the trail.

Very little snow at the top, amazing lakes. This is one of my fav hikes I've ever done. Would make sure you bring waterproof hiking boots though since the trail was a little muddy and wet

This is one of my all time favorite hikes in Stanley! I highly recommend heading down to Alpine Lake on the way to Sawtooth. It's a must see! The hike had great views after the 2nd mile or so and they just kept getting better. If you go in July make sure to bring mosquito spray! They definately do get pretty gnarly especially around the water or in the evenings. Other than the kamikaze mosquitos, he hike is beautiful. Highly reccomend!

We did this hike in three days in the last weekend in June. The weather was perfect and we would absolutely do this again. Like other reviewers, I also recommend hiking clockwise due to the hotter, dryer, final stretch back to Pettite (Pet-it). We stayed camped at Alice and Toxaway Lake and after doing the full hike, would definitely stay at those two lakes if we ever did this again.
Things to note: 1. You cross a river about 5/6 times. I strongly recommend having chocos or some other very secure, sturdy sandal to change in to when doing this. or at least be prepared to change socks or something.
2. Toxaway lake had approx. 500 Billion mosquitos- Deet is an absolute must.
3. There is snow at the top of this trail-I was SO grateful for my trekking poles at this point. Also pants.
4. There is a point on the way back to the car where the trail forks and there is the worst possible signage situation happening. It is towards the end, and you have the option to keep going straight or take a sharp right turn, as though your going back in the direction that you just came from, and you need to take that. You'll have some last minute up-hill action and then you'll drop back down towards pettit.

Please don't be the people that are leaving trash in the mountains. take out what you bring in. And have fun!

backpacking
16 days ago

Great hike!! Planned on doing the loop in one day. Recorded - 19.2 Miles in 8.5 hours. Going sack to overnight it.

Epic run with amazing views on a well maintained trail!
As good as it gets!

Awesome Great Beautiful easy to moderate. Can’t ask for a better day hike

Loved this trail! I added an excursion to Lake Imogene for a night. Also camped at Twin Lakes on a point that juts out into the water. Had the lake to myself. Woke up to a beautiful snowfall.

Great trail!

1 month ago

This was our first hike in Idaho. While the trail can be done on a few hours, we opted to spend the entire day and took it slow. Definitely take the detour to Alpine Lake. Honestly, Sawtooth is bigger but Alpine was our solid favorite. We spent a good chunk of time here just enjoying the silence other than the sound of the water lapping the edge. We continued on up the switchbacks and hot another little lake (which we nicknamed decoy lake) and almost turned around did to a snow squall that moved in. But so glad we pushed on another few yards. Sawtooth Lake was gorgeous. We took the extra time to walk to the far side of the lake and followed the trail on through a boulder field for a spectacular view of some mountain lake in the distance. We stopped a few times for snacks, lunch, and just to experience the peace of the wilderness. We made our way back to Iron Creek trailhead for a total of 13+ miles and 8 hours exactly. As I said, it can be done in way less time, but we took deliberate time.

Pretty hike with good views pretty much the whole time! No bugs. Easy to get to.

Was an intense yet wonderful day hike/run, stayed at the campground at Petit lake after, wish I would have brought backpacking gear to stretch out the scenery over another day.

backpacking
1 month ago

If it’s at your skill level then it’s a must the mountain ranges that you see are unbelievable.
Hard to go wrong when in Idaho
Note that there is no visible trail for LOTS of he trail especially in the beginning when climbing over and across the ridge
Also disclaimer I didn’t follow the trail exactly
If you want more photos or want to ask questions you can contact me through Instagram @j.wwest

Loved this trail! We hiked with a 7 year old and a dog and it was a moderate hike. The views were stunning. Saw few deer and chipmunks on the way. We went early enough to avoid the heat and it proved to be a good decision! The redfish lake looked beautiful along the trail and the bench lakes were a treat to the eyes.

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing views everywhere! We did this loop counter-clockwise over two days spending the night at Toxaway Lake. We went over Labor Day weekend so parking was very crowded, but seems like there are a lot of options for parking if the main lot fills up. We didn’t see a single mosquito this time of year. I highly recommend this loop!

Great area with beautiful views. Lots of options for side trails and adventures!

Heavily trafficked but rad.

My favorite trail I have done in Idaho. The only thing this trail is missing is a waterfall!

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite hikes. This was the third time I have done this hike and each time I love it more! The hike is almost exactly 10 miles out and back if you take the detour to visit Alpine Lake. We stopped there on the way up and then hiked around Sawtooth Lake a bit once arrived. It is a stunning beauty and well worth the miles you put in. The entirety of the trail is beautiful. The water crossing a couple miles in is low this time of year and easy to cross. No snow up at the lake either which was a first for me!

Incredible backpacking trip with stellar views and interesting terrain throughout. Switchbacks made for easy ascents and lengthy descents. We did the loop starting at tin cup heading counter-clockwise with camp at Farley Lake on night one and Alice Lake on night two per Backpacker magazine. Could do in one night with a stay at Toxaway, but I would recommend savoring this one!

trail running
1 month ago

Awesome running trail, walked during some of the switch backs and sat in the creek on the way back! July weather was perfect for an afternoon run. Took a little less than 2 hours round trip. :)

The Devils Staircase is treacherous with heavy backpacks because it is very steep on both sides with loose rock and scree. Use extreme caution and if you are inexperienced, do not try it. The scenery is very beautiful all around the White Cloud Peaks . There is a trail from Quiet Lake to the Four Lakes Basin, follow the creek to the right up from Quiet Lake to find the Four Lakes Basin. The place is full of rugged alpine scenery and we had a great time. The passes were scary though.

Could not ask for more in a hike. Beautiful scenery, great trail with a nice mix of level terrain, switchbacks, and sites. This is a 10 mile hike, should you choose (and you should) make it all the way to Sawtooth Lake. Note that Alpine Lake is "off trail" and to get to Sawtooth, you will take the fork to the right at the "Alpine Lake" trail sign.

Great hike. The first 1.5 miles is easy the last stretch works for legs a bit. Saw a lot of small kids hiking. (Which is great!) The trail is heavily trafficked and shows the wear and tear. The lakes are all beautiful. The 2nd and largest lake we had great success pulling out 12-16 cutthroat trout.

Absolutely amazing!

For those of you who would consider yourself a novice, like myself, after about 2.5 miles of general hicking expect about 2 miles of hiking up switchbacks to get all the way to the top (I checked it with a GPS). The trail was good with some places with higher stepping place and some loose rocks. We stopped at Alpine Lake along the way for a short break and managed to get to Sawtooth Lake in 3 hours. On the way back with just walking at a moderate pace took about 2.5 hours.

trail running
1 month ago

Today was a beautiful day for this hike/trail run. There was many great views of the jagged peaks of the sawtooth mountains. The turquoise color on the edge of both sawtooth lake and alpine lake were amazing. I didn't notice many mosquitoes and the air was clear. It took me about 1 hr 45 minutes to go up and about 1 hr 20 minutes to come down (some trail running involved). I spent about an hour at the lake. Overall this is a very scenic hike and there are still some wildflowers in bloom.

Load More