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

Flat for the first two miles and then a gradual elevation gain for the next mile or so. Then very steep toward the end and mostly a scramble up to the top with loose gravel and rock.

Let me start out saying that this hike is absolutely beautiful and breath taking! Pictures do not do justice to how beautiful and blue Goat Lake really is. I would highly suggest taking your trekking poles and getting to the Iron Creek Trailhead early in the morning (the fog surrounding the mountains is beautiful). The hike starts out as a defined trail and is easy going with the trail getting more moderate as you climb in elevation with switch backs. When the trail runs out, it will bring you to disintegrated rock, when you reach that point, you need to climb up (look at pictures posted). Follow the disintegrated rock “trail” and it will take you in the right direction. You will cross the Iron Creek Waterfall (look for cairns) which will guide you over the waterfall via logs/beaver dam. This is the easier path rather than climbing the rocks on the right side of the Falls. Once you cross the water falls you will run into a defined path that will take you directly to Goat Lake. This is a stunning hike I would recommend to everyone! I would also recommend ready “Randy Clarke’s review as it is a great review that can offer some more helpful information. Hope this review helped!

The trail was all we hoped for and more. An easy well marked start but we did get turned around in the gravel field looking for the easier "steps" which we never found. The cairns were not very helpful as they were spread out. The locator was a godsend!!! At least we knew when we were wandering too far of trail and could wind back to where we should be. The first view of the falls it's a terrific reward! Very easy to lose the path here until we found the logjam crossing and then it was clear again all the way to the lake. We passed many smaller waterfalls and they were just beautiful. Goat Lake was absolutely breathtaking and worth the hike! We found a spot up on some rocks to sit and eat lunch with a view of the blue green lake below and the snow fields across the lake. We walked to the far side of the lake through the boulder field for another view before turning to head back down to Iron Creek campground. We took a long time to make the hike because we stop and take a lot of pictures and two snack breaks. So the trip up took is 3.5 hours and the trip down about 2. But we wander :)

The trail is pretty mellow at the start, but towards the end it gets difficult. The end is steep and a bit of a scramble and the trail is unmaintained, but the lake is well worth it. Goat Lake is beautiful and is one of the best lakes to visit in the area.

Trailing With Us...
First of all, we are Seniors, moderately good shape, and we highly recommend hiking poles for this.
Last week of August 2018, D and I planned to hike to Alpine and Sawtooth lakes but Wapiti fire closed trail at junction up from Iron Creek trailhead. Met some other backpackers there that recommended Goat Lake. A shout out to them - Thank You, Great recommendation!
As many have noted a tough scramble the final mile up, especially with full packs to the waterfall just below Goat Lake, but it was "worth it" as we were told. Be sure to have some water with you before you start this climb. After you ascend, the waterfall will be loud and on the left, nice view, from huge flat outcropping. Find the somewhat hidden trail toward the left near stream above water fall (we hopped over a huge boulder with a cairn atop), path will be more obvious as you continue , only 150 feet or so and you will see log jam/beaver dam with yellow rope. Cross there, then stream (on your right now) and trail will guide you to lake, maybe 1/4 mile. Alternately back at waterfall you can veer more right to climb and hop the boulder field instead, not recommended!
Camping isn't crowded, but only about 6 camping spots, depending on your taste. A few are right by the lake, but all are close. There may be more behind/above if you want to climb up a little, we didn't check that, or other end of lake possibly, not an easy trail to the other end though.
Lake is drop-dead gorgeous!!! Emerald greens and blues, at least do a day hike to see it!
Stay a while and take it in. Few bugs, upper 20s at night, and was smoke free. Perfect!
The hike back down the scramble was sketchy with 30 lb. packs, we rearranged even more weight to hip area for better balance. Take it slow and easy.
Good Luck!

I had planned to do the Iron creek to sawtooth lake hike, but with the trail closed for fire aid, I decided to give this trail a try. I didn't make it to the lake, but the falls were still worth the hike. I started out early and pretty much had the trail to myself going out, but on the return hike I met multiple groups. I will definitely try this hike again when I am better prepared.

backpacking
3 months ago

It was a beautiful labor day weekend hike. With a car incapable of what it looked to be a Red Bull Rally Truck climb up to the upper parking lot, I started at the lower adding about an extra ~2mi. The first 4-miles is a little flat and slow going thru the forest. After that it is awesome. Plenty of camping at Imogene Lake with great views. Overall, 4/5 experience probably due to the increase amount of people at the lake on this holiday weekend.

Great hike until you reach the tricky steep part at the last mile. Mostly shaded hike but start early to avoid the heat at the last unshaded and the most difficult part at the end. The last part may require a little climbing and be warned as the there is no marked trailhead at the end. Stay to the left of the creek by crossing through a log after you see the waterfall and avoid the whole boulder field climb. The trail was surprisingly crowded given its difficulty level. The glacier lake at the end was pristine with nice blue green tint. And the sawtooth mountains looked beautiful. Worth the climb. Might be tricky getting down coz it can be slippery at times. Go early and go prepared for the last climb.

To build on Valerie B's review, there are two tricky spots. First, continue around the the case of the granite about 25-30 feet to find the natural steps in the granite. Second, right after you see the waterfall, stay low to the water to find the logjam crossing. There are cairns both low and high (in the boulder field), but it is much easier if you cross to the left side of the creek.

Otherwise pretty straightforward and absolutely worth it.

backpacking
3 months ago

I've hiked this twice and it's beautiful. You will love it.

The climb to the lake at the end is arduous. The rest is a slight incline. Shaded trail mostly.

This was gorgeous and beautiful weather. It is difficult but I saw small children on the trail. It took us 2 hours to reach the lake.

backpacking
3 months ago

Great backpacking, as others have stated there were plenty of mosquitoes to go around.

Hiked to goat lake with my wife and kids 11 and 13 yrs old. This was an excellent hike that challenged each of us. We were rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and crystal clear goat lake. The trail up had a moderate slope for much of the way except for the last mile or so which was fairly steep and loaded with gravely rock. Picking a path across this section was difficult even following some other AllTrails reviews. Definitely not a hike for the faint of heart as there were a number traverses with steep falloffs to the side of the trail.. Once at the lake my son jumped in for a nice cool off and I caught some trout on dry flies. All in all, a really great day.

We read a lot of reviews and guides for this hike before leaving because everything was so conflicting. The last mile of the hike is definitely the most difficult part. There's a good section of steep gravel leading up to the first waterfall overlook. When you get to the rock wall on your right if you continue walking the base of the wall you will find the more staircase type section that is easier to go up, and that will be the start of the steepest part of the hike. Once you get to the waterfall overlook it is easy to miss the easier trail leading through the woods, so on the way up we went through the rock field. You can definitely avoid this by trying to stay as far to the left following up the waterfall and then you will find a beaver dam to cross above the falls. In that section there are a few times that it will look like the trail has ended but it hasn't, just keep pushing along and there are multiple different ways through the trees. Once you get to the falls you are pretty close so if you've made it that far, keep pushing on because it's definitely worth making that last little climb.

We went on a weekend and backpacked in, there were definitely a good amount of people camping up there so it was a bit "crowded" but mainly because there are only about 5-7 different spots along the lake to set up camp. We tried following the path along the lake to get our own private area but encountered others along the way that said they didn't see anywhere to set up down on the SE corner of the lake. By that time our packs were heavy so we headed back to the main area and grabbed a spot on higher ground which was still really great.

A few people were fishing and we saw some small trout in the lake. We got in for a swim and some guys were jumping off one of the higher rock areas but the water was quite cold as to be expected.

Great get away, my little corgi like dog made the hike and loved it, but he is like a little mountain goat. There were a couple areas on the trail up at the top, following the lake where we had to pass him because his short little legs couldn't make the jump, but the rest of the way up he made it up on his own. I was a little wary of bringing him because of some things that I read, but he is spry and good at climbing so he did well. Bigger dogs that love hiking should do just fine, and little dogs that love hiking might need a hand here and there but can make it as long as they are tough.

Stunning!! Like being in a Nat Geo pic! Beautiful every step of the climb. Lake is awesome. Couple times a day you can hear the thunder-like rumble as snow avalanches into lake.

Caution: last half mile is steep. trail is unmarked (very hard to follow) and has overgrowth. Be careful. Taking your time. Wait and follow other to follow easiest path forward.

My husband and I hiked up to this Lake a week ago, we backpacked in and spent the night it was our first trip overnight and it was well worth it. The last mile of this hike is tough but they hike is so well worth it. The fishing was great at about 7 at night

I am not going to rewrite the entire route directions, but we were given some hints from fellow hikers that were AWESOME helps:
1) Granite wall - there is easier access to start your climb into the scree field - still a granite wall but with "Steps" that make an easier climb. Once you are at the spot just at/before the falls where you see the big granite wall to your right - keep walking straight and to the right as the trail bends around the granite wall. Where the granite butts up against the scree field you will see some natural formed steps that make it easier to climb up the wall into the scree field.
2) YOU DO NOT NEED TO CROSS THE BOULDER FIELD TO GET TO THE LAKE!! There is a shorter/easier route. At the top of the scree field - you'll be above the top of the falls just entering the boulder field. Look to your left for the beaver dam that is above the falls in shallow/calm water. That beaver dam is where you will cross on the LEFT side of the water/creek. Once you spot the beaver dam, you will easily see the trail the leads from where you are standing through a wooded area to that beaver dam. Once you cross the beaver dam it's a short easy hike to the lake (I posted a picture of this)
3) The All Trails map/location indicator was spot on - there are a couple places in the scree field where we used the indicator to make sure we were still on trail. It winds around a bit in there - so the location indicator was a good confidence marker.

I couldn't find the lake made it to a dead end with no option to climb over

This was a fantastic hike. We started on trail at 9am and had nice cool morning first three miles.

The last mile was brutal because we followed a path down under the falls, then had to hike all the way back up over the falls. That last mile, as many have stated, is difficult. Especially with our puppy and two small girls. Lots of gravel and just hoping your headed the right way.

The lake is extremely pretty. Clear blue water with ice up on the rim. Took a quick and cold dip into it. We only went to lake but heard many stories of others going beyond to the peaks.

We probably saw a total of three groups the whole hike. With maybe a total of 10 people at the whole lake.

Make like a goat and scramble the last few hundred yards. Intense! The reward is worth it.

Great hike in. Lake is gorgeous. The last section is climbing thru boulders along the falls. Well worth it.

Took twelve Boy Scouts up with their dads. Awesome hike.

5 months ago

Stayed 4 days last week. Nice hike in and great views at the lake. Bugs were very bad at night so bring some spray. Pass to Payette Peak was still covered in snow. Hike to the 4 lakes beyond Imogene and there were great. Overall a wonderful place to camp.

hiking
5 months ago

Went on July 4th. Imogene Lake was beautiful. Easy hike but tons of bugs/mosquitoes on the trail.

backpacking
5 months ago

Visited Imogene with a couple buddies last weekend. Great place to spend a couple days. We went to the right over a log dam and were able to setup camp very near the lake, but guarded when the wind would kick up. It was just after the full moon and the nights were something else once the moon got up and lit up the lake and surrounding mountains. Saw very few people, even on the weekend.

We spent our first night at Hell Roaring and, although it was nice, it was quite a bit buggier than Imogene. That said, mosquitos were present at both lakes so take some bug repellent and keep your tent zipped tight if you’re there in late June.

Just completed Imogene Lake trail in and out. and what an amazing hike. Did not see anyone on the second part of trail 92. and had the whole lake to myself to camp. As others stated good camp sites to the right. It did rain majority of the hike and there was still some snow pack. My only negative was the trail was loaded with water puddles due to all the rain so make sure you have decent waterproof hiking boots/shoes. so check the weather before you go. :)

One last note, prep yourself for a high altitude hike to reach the summit.

Completed this hike last June of 2017. Because of the wild Idaho winter of 2016/2017 Goat Lake was well over half frozen. Absolutely amazing hike.

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