Alpine Lake via Trail 640 and Alpine Way Trail

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Sawtooth Wilderness

Alpine Lake via Trail 640 and Alpine Way Trail is a 7.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stanley, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until September.

Length7.4 miElevation gain1,240 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (178)
Photos (532)
Recordings (152)
Completed (833)
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Brand B
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BackpackingGreat!
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Diana Han
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HikingGreat!
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Layne MacDonald
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Scenic drivingGreat!Rocky
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Brooke Zabawa
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Hiking

This is hard but worth it! I got off trail after the se one water crossing so be mindful. If you don’t get up to sawtooth lake all the way there is alpine lake too! The parking lot and campground is right below the trail head which makes it perfect for a day hike and then camping afterwards

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Michael Watt
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Hiking

A must do. Did it in while it was raining and, to me, the views were still epic and the weather only added a cool moody vibe. You get up close to the base of the jagged mountain tops which was a real treat. Hike Assessment- A pretty easy steady uphill with the last 30m being all switchbacks to the lake. Definitely get down to the lake where the logs build up for the best view. On the way down you can bypass the switchbacks but be mindful to have the trail ahead in sight so you don’t miss landing back on it. Total hike time was 4hrs, total time with photos and all was 4hrs30m.

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Robin Mills
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Camping

Perfect! Just lots of people up there... limited area to find a tent

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Chad Lloyd
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Hiking
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Nick Kemp
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Hiking

Gentle uphill. Beautiful Mountain View’s. Some technical parts (100 yards at a time).

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Tony Schmit
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Hiking
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Chris Berry
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Hiking
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Kathleen Markham
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Via ferrata
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Josh Parker
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Hiking
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Katie Younger
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Hiking

This trail is amazing! Some of the most beautiful views of the mountains and the lakes! I’d break it down into flat woods, switchbacks, then rocky switch backs. The last few miles are tough with a some rock scrambles but they were easy to navigate. This lake was beautiful but if you’ve made it this far I would 100% recommend the extra mile/mile and a half to get to sawtooth which is just as incredible but a bit harder trail wise at the end. The below review Includes Sawtooth lake! Few things from my point over view after reading the reviews myself before I headed out. 1. I arrived at the trailhead at 7:00 and started hiking at 7:15 I was the second person on the trail (found out later) but the car park was half full already due to overnight hikers. Plenty of parking on the road if the car park is too busy. 2. The road down it’s okay for any car just take it slow as it’s bumpy 3. It took me 3 hours to arrive at Sawtooth lake which included stops and lots of photos. 4. When you arrive at the lake KEEP LEFT AND FOLLOW THE TRAIL!!! I can’t recommend this enough! The all trails map stops early but if you follow the switch back over the rocky hill you won’t be disappointed! There is a ridge that follows over the lack and it’s beautiful it leads you to the top of the lake - trust me if you’ve already hiked this far it’s worth the extra 0.5 of a mile!! 5. When I was at the bottom end I smelt the elk a few times when the wind changed but I couldn’t see them and it wasn’t a big deal 6. I did this trail alone and felt a little sketched out on the forest part but made my presence known as I was walking. Over half way started seeing the overnighters coming down and felt a lot better! 7. The overall trail was moderate but hard at the end. I think this hike can be done by any experience level just bring water and snacks! 8. You pass Alpine lake and a smaller lake before you get to Sawtooth and there has been a rockslide covering part of the trail you must go round to get to the lake. 9. I spent just under 2 hours at the lake and hiked back in about 2 hours and got to my car at 2pm so 7 hours total and 5 hours hiking I’m a medium paced hiker! Happy Trails Solo female hiker!

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Mike Tashman
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Hiking
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danielle richard
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BackpackingGreat!

This was my first Backpacking over nighter; I want to provide useful information from this perspective. I'm 47 and in above average shape, but have arthritic feet. For the mere Mortals carrying a pack loaded for 2 days, this trail is aptly rated at moderate. I would imagine if not loaded with 30 pounds, I might echo the "oh my gosh it's so easy, not moderate...." comments I saw trying to prepare for this hike. If you are backpacking and don't do it on the regular, this is a challenging, yet completely do-able backpacking jaunt. The tricky part of it is the brutal last 1.5 miles. The incline is very steep with what felt like endless switchbacking. The payoff is pure gold; I live in the Sierras and this scenery took my breath away. My takeaway/recommendations: First, be sure you have 2 Liters on your body when you start, especially if you start after 11 as I did. It's HOT and there is no water for what feels like 10 miles. I only had a Katadyn BeFree 0.6 L to start and I downed that 30 minutes in which was unfortunate because lawd it was hot and I was sweating up a storm with the pack. Second, if you got nothing to prove other than you want to complete the hike and not die, do yourself a favor and detour to Alpine Lake and set up camp there. That way, you can day hike the hellish last part to Sawtooth Lake without all the poundage on you and be able to explore and take your time and enjoy yourself. Third, there are a fair amount of campers at the lakes and I will share a secret for that unfortunate time when nature calls and there just doesn't appear to be anywhere that you can go without being spotted; there is a HIDDEN WILDERNESS TOILET at Alpine Lake!!! I've never been so delighted to see a hole in the ground! From the entrance trail (where the trail forks all over) to Alpine Lake looking directly at the lake being your 12:00, aim for the 8:00 region. There is a trail somewhat set away from the lake going slightly up, follow it to the log stall structure. There is a giant rock that someone used as a shelter and had a fire so it's blackened, it's right around there. You're welcome!

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Davedina Braun
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Hiking

We started a bit later around 3pm and made it back by 7pm with stopping for water and eating food at the lake. The hike is beautiful , lake is an amazing view. Kind of shaded but we also had overcast weather. I’d say it was easy to moderate for an experienced and active hiker.

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Bryon Grueter
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Hiking
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Audrey Panzeri
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Hiking

This is one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. Spectacular views of the Sawtooths and you finish at the pristine Alpine Lake with blue/green water. There is plenty of shade along the way and come across a few streams which made our dogs very happy. The hike ended being 8 miles according to our Strava, but it was very enjoyable for our crew. The trail was pretty busy along the way. Definitely recommend this one!

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Peter Kovacs
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HikingGreat!
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Maureen O'Malley
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike! Fairly easy getting there. Quite flat in the beginning and pretty shaded. A bit of a climb at the end, but nothing technical. We continued to Sawtooth Lake first. We swam there and it was cold! The hike up was steepish, but again nothing technical. Make sure you go to Sawtooth Lake and not the small lake that you stumble across a first! After Sawtooth, we went back down to Alpine. Alpine felt quite a bit warmer. People were camping near the lake. It was definitely a beautiful place!

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Jonathan Keene
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Hiking
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Aliya Reames
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Hiking

Stunning trail! Would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a beautiful hike. Water was refreshing (but very cold) and people were conscious of giving others while passing on the trails.

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Carissa Meeker
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BackpackingBugsGreat!

It was an awesome hike and beautiful the whole way! Just a heads up there is no fire pits near the water if you want to stay. Also sign the permit and keep it on your bag!!! Overall, it was a 5 out of 5!

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Maddie Killworth
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HikingBugsRocky

Great trail!! The hike gets you into an amazing secluded part of the Sawtooth wilderness with unmatched views!! I would recommend supportive foot wear as the trail gets rocky on the switch backs! Bring your swimsuit if you want to take a dip into the lake at the end! Highly recommend bringing LOTS of water!

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Randy Clarke
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BackpackingGreat!

After hiking to Alpine and Sawtooth, (and disclaimer: not hiking to end of Sawtooth Lake) gotta say Alpine is prettier, nice combo of treed and rocky cliffs, several nice campsites, just gorgeous! Lots of day hikers, so don't be surprised if they walk through your campsite or right next to it, especially on approach side of lake, probably less so on opposite side where there are campsites as well. Mosquitos are there for sure, but a good repellent will at least keep them at bay. The bird songs are amazing, especially early morning and evening. And if you stay a while you may be lucky enough to hear, hopefully not experience, a rockslide on the rocky cliff side, a good reminder of the power of nature! Highly recommended lake, don't skip this beauty on the way to Sawtooth or elsewhere. BTW, the two dead elk are at Sawtooth Lake.

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RJ Valdez
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HikingBugs

Overnight Backpack on 7/19 Awesome hike, was a sunday so a ton of people coming off the mountain and only saw about 4 other parties staying near the lake. Lake was completely clear and beautiful, there are 2 dead elks along the shores of the lake so there is a pretty terrible smell once you hit the lake. Plenty of flat spaces to spread out so you can get some solitude. We hiked up the west side of the lake which had some great views of the entire lake but the other side of the saddle is just a bunch of dead trees and some smaller lakes. Also hiked to the south end of the lake to two lower lakes which were pretty nice.

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Jordan Snyder
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Hiking

this trail should not be classified as ‘hard’. it has great views regardless, though. took around 3h45m round trip. started at 3pm to avoid the crowds.

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