Norton Lakes is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ketchum, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,476 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

hiking
off trail
rocky
snow
6 days ago

Hiked 5/25/20. We were able to reach the lake. It was frozen except for one small hole where we could fish. Don’t recommend going unless you have waterproof pants and boots. We were up to our hips in snow just above the lake, but still made it. We lost the trail a few times because the snow was so thick and covered the trail, but we knew where the lake was so we were able to get there eventually. If you get lost just follow the creek.

hiking
off trail
rocky
snow
6 days ago

Hiked 5/25. The lakes are unreachable, but the past weekend’s hikers have been creating a new, worthy path through the snow off-route. It’s easy to navigate but very physically demanding, and 3’ post holes are standard. This path leads to the top of a beautiful panoramic ridge on the west side of the lower lake, the opposite side as the actual trail. The trees are beautiful and alive, unlike nearby baker lake. I’d upload my map, but alltrails said I lost GPS signal. So I hope my write-up has been helpful. Good luck!

hiking
over grown
rocky
8 months ago

I really liked this trail! There were some overgrown sections, but it was fine. There were several people fishing at the upper lake. We got in and swam at the lower lake— the water was freezing! But hey, we came all the way out to Idaho; we had to jump in!!

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous view at the lake! Definitely a more taxing trail, but the view is worth it. Not a lot of shade, but there are patches of trees that allot for some coverage.

Beautiful day hike or camp over night! this trail is all up hill, but I would rate it as farely easy. Worth every min! Trail is easy to follow, we did it with our kiddos so it took us a it longer than it would have on our own. definitely reccomend!!!

hiking
9 months ago

Better than Baker - which was awesome. Do the loop and get all three lakes.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Definitely worth the significant effort required. Went to first and second lakes. First one was prettier with many trout jumping and feeding. Beautiful, crystal clear water. Beautiful wild flowers. Trail to second lake was not marked so watch for well worn trail branching to the right once first lake is reached. Drive to the trailhead puts you back in the wilderness a ways before you even start hiking. No signage at trailhead. Per earlier comments, take a right had turn right after the bridge just after leaving the parking lot.

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

I would recommend this trail. It is fairly steep. We had a group of seven ranging in age to 42 and everyone was able to complete it however the younger ones had some difficulty. I recommend bringing water because the well there is tree covered there’s also a lot of sun exposure. There were tons of wildflowers and the lake is absolutely beautiful.

hiking
9 months ago

This should be definitely ranked as Moderate due to the steep trail, although short. It is 98% up hill but shaded. We were two days from California coast and not acclimated. Hikers age was 79 but in good to excellent condition. First lake was buzzing with fish.

hiking
bugs
no shade
9 months ago

If you are new to this trail, after the bridge turn right on the trail. No signs are posted on the trailhead. my wife and I ended up going straight and ended up hiking 15 miles. other than that, the lakes were awesome! We backpacked over night only one other person was on the other side of the lake. very peaceful and away from civilization.

hiking
10 months ago

You can hike this as an out and back to Norton Lake but it can also be hiked as a loop trail. A bit longer but really worth it. You pass by a series of four lovely alpine lakes. There is a little scree hiking and a bit of downclimbing but otherwise quite pleasant.

hiking
10 months ago

As previously mentioned, this is a busy place. When we got there, there was at least 10 vehicles parked there. Surprisingly, we didn't run into that many people. We hiked to all four lakes and my GPS said it was just over a six mile loop!

hiking
10 months ago

This is a moderate trail with a beautiful lake, perfect for lunch. Although the trail is a bit steep in parts, most of the hike is in the trees (read: shade) making this a perfect family hike, even on a hot day. Plenty of fish in the lake as well, although they are some of the smarter fish in Idaho, as they have seen every lure and fly under the sun. More than half the trail follows the rushing Norton Creek, almost like hiking to music.

hiking
10 months ago

This trail is worth every bit of elevation you gain along the way; the lakes at the end are absolutely fantastic! Some tips: *We arrived early and started hiking near 9am. This turned out to be the way to go, as the trail appeared to get fairly busy on the way down. Going up, we only passed one other group coming down and the lakes were untouched. Coming down (noon), we passed 7 groups, another group starting in the parking lot, and two more vehicles driving in on our way out. *As others have mentioned, the elevation gain is constant and punishing at times. You're definitely not climbing anywhere near 90 degrees at any point, but you are constantly gaining elevation. Be ready to power through, as the work is worth it. *There was plenty of snow on and off the trail as we neared the lakes. *This site has the trail listed at 4.6 miles, but my wife's Fitbit measured closer to 6-7 miles by the time we traveled down the trail and reached the parking lot. We MAYBE walked an extra mile while admiring the scenery at the lakes, but that's a generous estimate.

hiking
snow
11 months ago

Great hike. still a bit of snow and lake is mostly frozen. steep uphill to lake. good hike but be ready to gain elevation.

hiking
Wed Oct 03 2018

Uphill the entire time. The view is worth it though. We went pretty slow and it took us 1.5 hours to get up and 1 hour to get down.

Sun Sep 30 2018

Great hike! Well worth the uphill climb! Lake is beautiful at the end!

Thu Sep 20 2018

one of my favorite hikes

Thu Aug 16 2018

Hike had it all (other than a waterfall). Ended up on a different trail that brought us to the smallest, most beautiful lake first. Hubby and I were the only ones there. From there we went to the other 2 lakes. Feel like it was more than 4.6 mi & hubby didn’t believe me that it was “only a moderate.” Beautiful flowers, trees, views and lakes. Not crowded at all.

hiking
Wed Aug 15 2018

I struggled on the uphill portion of this hike. Before I left I didn't consider the change in altitude with the elevation gain. It was a challenging uphill hike for me and I huffed and puffed my way all the way to the lake. Despite my huffing and puffing, this was a fantastic hike. Scenery was so beautiful and varied. Lots of wild flowers, butterflies, and the view of the lake was worth the climb. I would definitely make the trek again!

hiking
Tue Aug 14 2018

This is one of our very favorite hikes in the area. If hiking on a hot summer day, definitely take a dip in the lake! So refreshing, but you won’t stay in long! We have hiked this many times, with kids and adults not used to hiking. It will challenge the latter but not bore the experienced hiker, who can always choose to go further :)

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