Pettit and Toxaway Lakes Loop

MODERATE 63 reviews
#2 of 56 trails in

Pettit and Toxaway Lakes Loop is a 17.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Galena, 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 October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

17.7 miles
3,169 feet

dogs on leash





horseback riding

nature trips

trail running






wild flowers




This is an amazing loop hike with beautiful natural features at nearly every turn of the trail. From craggy sawtooth peaks to numerous alpine lakes and dense forests with all manner of animals. Although fast packers may make this loop in a long day, there is enough natural features to keep one entertained for two nights or even three.

8 days ago

Stellar views, and not too crowded, even over the 4th. The pass is still snow packed and there’s a narrow cornice to squeeze through, but there are footprints to follow over the snow packed areas where the trail disappears. Be warned, the mosquitoes are appalling, and are biting through bug repellant. They were so bad I turned my 2 nighter into an overnight and knocked out the remainder of the loop in a day.

9 days ago

This trail blew me away. Prepare to get your feet wet doing a half dozen or so stream crossings and significant hiking over snowpack. Doable in one day if you start very early and travel light. Plentiful sources of water along the way.

14 days ago

Great time to do before it gets crowded! We came out yesterday. Spent two nights and was surprised how good of a push the hiking was each day so don’t let the lack of major elevation fool you. We also clocked closer to 22 miles. Clockwise was the way to go with Alice first. Bit of snow coming over the summit totally passable but looked miserable for those coming up via Toxaway. Weather was amazing! Not too cold. Go soon before it gets busy!!

20 days ago

Very nice loop. We went by way of Alice Lake around to Toxaway. Lots of good scenery and alpine views. Still a good bit of snow going over the pass. We had to make our way without a trail for a good bit but found our way through. There was a cornice at the top of the pass so had to do some light scrambling over a rocky area to get past it. Think the milage is closer to 20 miles. Water is plentiful. Great trip.

22 days ago

Great hike with amazing views. We took our time and plenty of photos which averaged us out around 46 minutes/mile. (2 short days and 2 full days)

We enjoyed the trip best coming in from Pettit Lake to Toxaway first, going over the pass, then down by Alice Lake back to Pettit. Last year we started the other directions and we just preferred the other way personally.

Views are amazing. The pass was a challenge and a little sketchy if you aren’t used to snow/heights, but that was a first for me and it was accomplished, so doable. (June 22nd, 2018)

29 days ago

did the full loop june 15th and 16th.amazing scenery! very alpine lots of snow over the pass hard to find trail but doable for 3 miles between twin lakes and toxaway...worth it! creeks running high overall adventure and plenty of views and water.....Bring fishing pole!

1 month ago

This trail is amazing. The lakes along the hike are beautiful and full of trout. The campsites around the lakes are plentiful with great views of the lakes. If you like to fish/backpack this is a great trail. We did this Sept 13-17, 2017.

3 months ago

Loved it.

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

10 months ago

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.

10 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.

10 months ago

Gorgeous hike! Be sure to bring lots of water and be prepped to get your feet wet because you cross 5 rivers on your way up to the lake. Definitely recommend!

10 months ago

18 of the best miles I've ever backpacked! Toxaway lake area spectacular. Other lake areas great too but a bit crowded due to all the 'eclipsers' out there this month.

10 months ago

So much beautiful scenery it is hard to take it all in. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. There are lakes and streams throughout the loop, meadows of wildflowers and the trail takes you up close and personal with the Sawtooths!

11 months ago

I loved this area of the world. Entirely remote, other places have a plethora of jet noises overhead, but this place allowed me to truly commune with nature. The trails were well groomed and the park staff were the best I've encountered; among other things they did warn us of the avalanche that occurred some weeks earlier. I know that conflicts, but nature happens. My only complaint are of the irresponsible people who don't grasp not leaving a trace. I suppose I didn't like the mosquitos either, but it's their home, not mine.

11 months ago

Alice Lake is by far one of the most spectacular lakes ever, and not too hard to get into.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I loved doing this counter-clockwise. Can be done as a day hike if you start at a decent hour in the summer.

Monday, March 27, 2017

We've camped here twice now. We slept by the water, caught the biggest fish on our hike, and watched the sunset turn the mountains red. Absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to come back.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Amazing. Overnight hike. Limited places to pitch a tent near the lake shore but beautiful place to spend the evening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This trail was "Spectacular " I will be back many times to come!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

We hiked this trail in October and left the only human footprints in the first snow of fall for 2 days. We walked to Toxaway Lake first night, then over the pass the second day. The view over twin lakes was stunning. I would recommend doing the hike this direction as opposed to Alice Lake first.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Beautiful scenery, pass 6-7 lakes and hike alongside a creek most of the way- plenty of water availed for filtering. Trail relatively flat and easy going, incredible views.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

First backpacking trip ✔️ Tough but worth every second. Go to Toxaway then to Alice, the view is unreal!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Great trail, great scenery. I went clockwise and enjoyed it. Twin Lakes has a great campground between the two lakes. Went in end of July 2016 and mosquitos weren't too bad. Also didn't seem very crowded.

Only downside is the horses leave poop all over the trail from Toxaway to Pettite and they have stamped down the trail from Farley to Pettite into a dust-bowl of misery.

trail running
Friday, May 13, 2016

Ran this trail in an afternoon. Beautiful scenery!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

This is a great trail, a Sawtooth classic. I spent 3 days and 2 nights to make the loop, but it could easily be done in 2 days if you felt like it. I spent one night camped at Alice Lake and it was VERY busy. The next night I camped at the small tarn between Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake and was the only person in the area. Tent sites are rather limited in that area, but if you want solitude in an otherwise busy location it's worth trying to track down a tent site.

The best part of the trail in my opinion was the stretch from Alice Lake to Toxaway Lake. The scenery really opens up with some great views in all directions.

The only negative I had was the stretch of trail from Farley Lake back to Pettit Lake. It was rather dry, dusty, hot, and dull, and I felt like I would never get back to the trailhead.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Incredible views at Alice Lake and beyond - do yourself a favor and visit this site. Trail-wise: Be cognizant of your location as the path has a tendency to disappear for short lengths. Also, expect some challenging stretches of steep hiking, but know that most of the trip is easy hiking. Getting from the Tin Cup trailhead to Alice Lake (one way) could take under 2 hours at a brisk pace or 4 hours at a slow pace with stops for lunch and lots of photos.

Campers: 1) No passes or payments necessary. Self-registry is located about a mile from the Tin Cup trailhead. 2) There are some nicely cleared, rock-free camp spots at the southern end of Alice Lake, a good stopping point after day 1, where you'll have spectacular morning views. Don't be fooled into stopping at the swampy area just before the lake, it's only a few yards short of the real deal. 3) Definitely hang your food from a limb before hitting the hay. When I went in October I met a ton of cute little chipmunks that would have loved to steal my breakfast. 4) There is a small possibility of crossing paths with black bears and, however unlikely it is you'll need it, bear spray is one of those "just in case" survival items I'd recommend you pack on this trip.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I would recommend going clockwise on this trail, we went counter clockwise and getting to the top between toxaway lake and alice lake was challenging, but it was as described "worth it"!!! the view from the top was amazing!

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