Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake

MODERATE 169 reviews
#1 of 56 trails in

Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake is a 8.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Stanley, Idaho that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,758 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

cross country skiing

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

views

snow

trail running
3 minutes 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.

1 day ago

Great variety - lush meadows, bubbling creeks, great views all around. Lots of wild flowers!

backpacking
1 day ago

camped at Alpine lake, and day hiked up to Sawtooth lake. The beauty of this place feels like a national park. spent the afternoon at Sawtooth lake swimming (cold), and "sledding" on a snow field in our bathing suits. Most beautiful place I have ever backpacked.

backpacking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike. A little of everything on the way.

hiking
6 days ago

Awesome hike, beautiful lakes, incredible mountains. First half is super easy, all the elevation gain is done in the last two miles. My watch clocked me at 10.75 miles, we had to park a little bit down the road from the main parking lot, so a little bit of the extra mileage came from this but not a lot. I’d plan this to be more around 10 and not 8.5.

6 days ago

Loved this trail and Lake! Switchbacks made the elevation change easy. Beautiful lake, clear water.

hiking
8 days ago

Lovely day hike. It was a great way for a flat lander to acclimate before a multi day backcountry trip.

11 days ago

it is a little than moderate for small children ;)

backpacking
12 days ago

Very enjoyable hike! We backpacked to Sawtooth Lake and camped. Good amount of elevation gain and we hiked in early August and I was chilly. If you camp, be sure to pack warm clothes for sleeping!

14 days ago

Loved the trail and views at top were gorgeous.

backpacking
17 days ago

We decided late Friday night to head out for an overnight in the Sawtooths ... and selected this route. A good bit of elevation gain to make it to Sawtooth Lake is definitely worth it. There were a number of people camping, but we were still able to find a great spot. Bring bug spray, not insane but you’ll want it. Good access to water along the way. Always amazing to wake up at 9,000ft. A good number of day hikers, all good encounters up and down, including a lovely mix of languages and cultures. ♥️

backpacking
24 days ago

The trail was much better than expected. Still some snow packs at 8300’ where we camped on Sawtooth lake. Super windy and that kept the mosquitoes down for the most part. As soon as the wind died down, out they came...
Plenty of water on trail. Not a great hammock location as suitable trees weren’t abundant anywhere Sawtooth lake itself, but we made due. The trail Was 9.9 miles according to this app’s tracker. Plenty of people and dogs “off leash” but no problems.

hiking
27 days ago

I hadn’t gone hiking in a while. This hike had been on my bucket list for a while and I had the opportunity to hike it and I definitely don’t regret it.

I read reviews as I hadn’t met anybody personally who had hiked it, and they made me out to believe it was a fairly easy trail. WRONG.

It would be easy for those with stamina and whom have hiked before but I hadn’t and I’m still feeling it three days after.

The app says it’s a little over 8 miles. But from the parking lot, up and back it was exactly 10.

It was fairly trafficked. Met a few people on the trail. The views were beyond anything I expected. Highly highly recommend this trail to any avid hiker/adventure seeker. I can’t wait for the day i do this trail again!

hiking
28 days ago

Hiked July 12th. First time hiking in Idaho. We only had one day/night in Sawtooth (before moving on to Glacier) so this was the hike not to miss. It was better than any of the photos show, so expectation were exceeded. Round trip from trailhead parking lot to Sawtooth Lake was right at 10 miles. Load up on bug spray! My only regret for this hike was not getting in the lake. After getting in two glacier lakes at Glacier National, I really wish I had taken a plunge in Sawtooth as well.

backpacking
29 days ago

Hiked in on Saturday last week and stayed at the lake two nights. We though Sat would be busy but actually, we had the place mostly to ourselves!

We camped on the top of the rock hill on the east side of the lake. That is a great spot unless you like to have water close to camp.

The bugs were pretty bad I guess. I'm never one to complain about bugs but they were persistent for sure. The mosquitos were kinda nonaggressive but there was a lot of them.

This hike and lake are SO beautiful it's just fantastic no matter what.

29 days ago

Don’t miss out on doing this hike if you are in the area! Wildflowers, beautiful views of the Sawtooths, Alpine Lake and Sawtooth Lake are stunning! Challenging at times, but 100% worth it!!

30 days ago

Beautiful amazing trail

1 month ago

lovely hike through forests and fields of wildflowers. would rate it only moderately difficult, if that.

park early - we arrived at 10am on a tuesday and snaffled the last spot. no need to pay for parking but you should fill out the hiker registration forms as you begin. didn’t see much wildlife on the trail but the lakes were lovely. lots of people to tip your hat to on the way up and down.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Far from “lightly trafficked” though - got an early start and only saw folks that had backpacked up at the lake. Passed dozens and dozens of folks headed up on our way back down. Don’t forget dog leashes if you have them - leash laws enforced July 1-Labor Day Weekend. A bear crossed our path on the way up but it was more afraid of us and just took off.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful lake with blue and almost turquoise waters. Snowcapped mountains behind. Wildflowers in bloom. Couple snowy areas to cross, but they are easily passable and crampons were not needed. Perfect weather. Sunny with a light breeze. My GPS watch clocked at just under 10 miles from parking lot to sitting area at Sawtooth Lake & back. Took us 4.5 hours + 1 hour at the lake. Would definitely recommend!

Dispersed campsites on road up to trailhead (get there early - fill up quickly) & pay campground at the trailhead with trash dumpster & potable water.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. The wildflower garden in the meadow as you cross Iron Creek before climbing up to Alpine Lake was the most beautiful and extensive that I have seen anywhere! Sawtooth Lake and Goat Lakes are the most scenic of the Sawtooth area. We backpacked on to Observation Peak (trail to the top) for fantastic panoramic Sawtooth views and photos.

1 month ago

Did this yesterday! Beautiful hike, has everything; creeks, waterfalls, meadows, forest and lakes of course. Pretty easy going until you pass the creeks, keep an eye out for the little trails between the switchbacks if you feel up to it, definitely speeds things up! Still pretty muddy and snowy at the top, made the going a little tough at times. Thankfully the way down is much faster and easier! Got some crazy blisters so dont forget bandaid's, bugspray and sunscreen (got pretty burnt too.)

1 month ago

Went two days ago. Best all-around hike ever. So great. So beautiful.

1 month ago

JULY 6, 2018: got a late start that morning for the hike, it was already starting to get very warm out. the hike was ok, VERY CONFUSING at times (there are a lot of random paths). if you stay on track then you will be fine. i only went up to the first lake (Alpine Lake), which was beautiful! some of my friends continued to Sawtooth Lake, but got lost and said it was a struggle the rest of the way. they said the lake was amazing though.
definitely some uphill switchbacks for a ways, but decent.
BRING BUG SPRAY— THE MOSQUITOS ARE VICIOUS!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! We camped at Alpine Lake instead of Sawtooth Lake, and we’re glad we did. It was a pretty easy hike (great for trying to get used to the elevation). The lake was stunning and the sky was the bluest we’ve seen. The stars were unparalleled. We did see a deer, but no other wildlife. There was a little snow between Alpine Lake and Sawtooth Lake (6/2-6/4), but it was very easy to traverse. The bugs were what you should be expecting from an alpine lake - definitely bring bug spray. Highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike with great views. Alpine lake and sawtooth lake were outstanding. It took us 2hrs up and 2hrs down. We didn’t stop for very long though because the mosquitoes were terrible.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail. We got up to snowy, slushy Sawtooth Lake June 14th.

1 month ago

Really the best. Just epic views on the top half. Lake is gorgeous. Totally inspiring. Bottom third a little boring but goes fast. Fair amount of snow on trail on July 1 but not a problem.

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