Explore the most popular lake 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.

Still, a lot of snow on the trail as others have stated. Whether you use boots with or without gaters, you will need about 12" of protection to keep your feet dry. I highly recommend gaters!

We followed Trail 640 to the valley Iron Creek crossing. Steadily increasing snow as you make your way up the trail. With some strategic log placement, we were able to make it across with relatively dry feet. From that point on, you will be walking on about 3ft of snow (mostly solid pack). It is absolutely beautiful in the valley and well worth it to cross the creek.

After the creek, despite using 2 different offline GPS trail maps, we were unable to find the trail again. We made our way to the next ridgeline, ate lunch, and decided to turn back.

An amazing hike with the right gear and highly recommended.

Best trip I’ve ever done.

It's not the hike's fault there was too much snow.

It is absolutely gorgeous up there! And so quiet. I went on a beautiful blue bird day, crisp and sunny. This was my first time hiking in the Sawtooth wilderness and couldn't believe how lightly tracked the trail was, if it even was the trail.

I followed someone's path about 2.5 miles in before their trail abruptly ended at a canyon. Considering there was no return footprints, I can only assume...
1. They were eaten by a bear,
2. They fell into the canyon or
3. I'm just an idiot and couldn't see where they actually went.

Either way, would love to come back someday and try this hike again when all the snow melts.

hiking
15 days ago

This trail was stunning. We went on 5/5/18, a nice warm overcast off-season day. Still lots of snow on the trail at points which caused quite a bit of post holing. We only went three miles up, but still worth it. These isn’t a very tough hike and the views of the lake were great. Highly recommend!

going to go back in the next month to actually get to the trail. Unfortunately there was a pretty decent amount of snow so we didnt get to go as far as originally planned! Can't wait to go try again soon!

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked up to the second lake, took a swim, and hiked back out. There is a shuttle from the lodge that will take you across and I think you can just hike straight up or down if you want a round trip. Check the map.

We went during beautiful wildflowers season. The path was lined with flowers in certain areas. Super beautiful.

Super quiet. We plan on doing this hike again this summer!

It was great.

take the road from Elba if taking horse trailers be sure to leave them in the trailer parking lot not much room at the trailhead nice trail pretty second lake

Beautiful at every turn. Would definitely go again. Met great people along the trail who told the best places to set up camp.

Was fantastic, went with the young men’s group. We can’t wait to do it again

backpacking
5 months ago

This is a great hike to do if you are getting ready to go on a bigger hike.

backpacking
5 months ago

Fantastic hike with spectacular views and sparkling mountain lakes. Don't forget the bug spray.

Unforgettable!

One of if not the best hikes I've done. Just incredibly beautiful. It was a little chilly and very windy in early October. Saw a tree and several branches toppled so be careful if it's windy. Amazing how fast a tree can fall when it gets going.

hiking
7 months ago

Short and sweet hike up to a small lake. All the flowers were dead, but the views of the snow covered mountains made up for it. Some small patches of ice and snow but nothing crazy. The burnt trees are pretty cool. Easy hike overall.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked it today. Quite chilly, but the steep grade kept me from getting too cold on the way up. I had my puffy on for the way down. A few patches of snow and ice but nothing too bad. You can take the trail all the way to Upper Norton Lake right now. I got snowed on during the hike back downhill. I guess I missed the waterfall. Really enjoyed this hike!

8 months ago

A favorite!

Beautiful wilderness. Was the perfect place to see the 2017 Eclipse! It was a bit overcrowded for the eclipse, but we got some good camping spots. We had one patch of snow that made finding the trail difficult when we did the hike back in August, but it wasn't terrible. The water was flowing great and the lakes were beautiful! Highly recommend this loop! We gave ourselves 4 days out there but could have easily done 3.

backpacking
8 months ago

Prettiest place I've ever backpacked.

Beautiful hike. Camped over Labor Day weekend. Only downfall is the trail is pretty crowded.

backpacking
8 months ago

It was a beautiful hike! Challenging to do in 2 days, and would recommend splitting it up into 3. Bring lots of bug spray. There is plenty of running water, and don't forget your iodine tablets! You have to cross a few streams, so brining light weight water shoes is a good idea. However, you can find a way to cross most of them without having to change shoes. I started by heading to Alice Lake first. I would recommend heading toward Toxaway first.

camping
8 months ago

My husband and I arrived around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Parking (free) was maxed out but luckily we found a spot; near the Trailhead is your standard bathroom should you need one. At the Trailhead is where you fill out your free wilderness permit.

Now, the hike was lovely! It starts out pretty flat with your standard Idaho forest and eventually begins to climb. You'll cross a couple of creeks (logs and rocks strategically placed if you'd like to remain dry), enter into a beautiful meadow which still had wild flowers in bloom on September 3, and ride switchbacks with some epic views of the Sawtooth Mountain range. The trail will vary from a powdery dirt like substance to gravel, to rocks... be careful to avoid twisting/spraining your ankle!

We found the hike to be pretty strenuous with a pack as our goal was to camp at the lake, but it was doable!

By the time we arrived at the lake, all of the lakeside camping spots had been taken (obviously)! We still found a nice one but Lake side is what you should strive for!

We did a little bit of fishing and were pretty successful in the evening (sunset) and early morning (sunrise) in catching tiny trout.

The haze/smoke from Montana has reached this lovely range; while it has impeded some of the views slightly, it didn't affect our air quality (as far as we could tell). I lugged my Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4 lens, and a tripod JUST to get a shot of the stars. Nothing was visible by midnight so we went to bed. We didn't include our cover/precipitation/wind protector in hopes of seeing some stars... I was hesitant at first due to the cold weather BUT the newest Marmout sleeping bags we purchased were PERFECT and kept us warm. I woke around 2:00 a.m. to beautiful stars!! It was so cold... I couldn't bring myself to get out of my sleeping bag SO I just enjoyed it for what it was. It was also SO QUIET! Our dog actually slept through the entire night without being bothered by little creature noises in the night.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy trail giving you views of redfish lake as you go.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked October 16, 2016. Trail was clear until about halfway up when the snow was beginning to settle. We were able to use footprints from previous hikers to make our way to the lower lake. We were unable to hike further because there was too much snow and we weren't able to find trail markers.

We backpacked up to Sawtooth Lake for the eclipse and had a great campsite. Got up there 3 days early. Everyday it got more crowded but never to many people. Such an awesome hike! I will return soon.

backpacking
8 months ago

This was my first backpacking trip in Idaho and the very first for my 6.5 y/o. What a treat!! Well maintained trail, though a few unmarked forks that had us back-tracking on a couple occasions. About 1.5 miles in the trail splits; stay right to take the newer path thru more trees and switch backs. The left takes you along the older route aka Ranger Trail up a steeper and exposed ridge. Once up to the first small lake, another half-mile is the largest of the four and where we spent the night. Frigid snow fed lake is great to cool off in. Lots of places to setup camp or continue to the other Lakes if you wish. Beautiful sunrise with the high granite backdrop on the lake.

Great hike! The views are amazing! Did this hike late august and the wildflowers are in full bloom up at sawtooth lake!

hiking
8 months ago

Easy hike for all ages. Lots to look at, from flowers to creeks, to the final destination of the beautiful lake. Lots of people on the trail.

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