Sawtooth Lake is a 10 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stanley, Idaho that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length10.0 miElevation gain1,873 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingSnowshoeingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (4)

Although the hike is accessible year-round, if you're visiting in winter the trail will likely be covered in snow, requiring more gear and skill.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (677)
Photos (948)
Recordings (484)
Completed (1,458)
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Sabra Nickels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!

Fantastic trial! Awesome, well marked trail with decent elevation gain. Definitely stop off at alpine lake. Sawtooth lake was incredible. I would recommend this hike a thousand times over

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mega hiker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
Hiking

best hike I've done in idaho! went super fast easy incline

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Chelsea Haynes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
HikingIcySnow
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Amanda Satter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 26, 2020
HikingIcy

We made the mistake of stopping at the little lake right before Sawtooth . Didn't realize until after we finished that we hadn't made it the whole way. Pretty snowy but not so bad that I couldn't do it in regular shoes. The small lake, what we thought was Sawtooth, was completely frozen over. Still a great hike with nice views of Alpine Lake. A little bit icy between Alpine and Sawtooth.

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Meredith Gadoury
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
Hiking
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Casey Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Awesome trail. Took our 8 and 10 year old kids and they did well. Took just under 6 hours with the kids.

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Kevin Comerford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Did this hike with a group of family members that included my 10 and an 11 year old nephews. The total hike took roughly 7 hours, but we really took time to enjoy the views at both Alpine Lake and at Sawtooth lake. Once you reach the smaller lake that is adjacent to Sawtooth Lake, I would recommend hiking up the trail towards McGown Lakes for better views. I stopped at the saddle that overlooks Sawtooth Lake and the views were magnificent. That added roughly 30 minutes to the hike, but was well worth the extra effort. If I had to do it again, I would scramble to the summit of Alpine Peak. As far as the trail conditions, it was very well marked. There was a little snow in spots, but nothing deeper than a foot. I would say that the hike difficulty itself was moderate. The last leg from Alpine Lake to Sawtooth Lake was a little more rigorous as the terrain got steeper and the air got thinner. I registered just over 11 miles on my Garmin watch. Overall, it was a beautiful trail that I would definitely hike again.

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Sylvester Graham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!Snow

great hike as everyone has said. Did the hike in trail runners which was fine except for the snow on the last 3/4 mile. Took me just under 4 hrs but I was hustling

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Bruce Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

Amazing mountains, beautiful hike. We ran into a little bit of snow, slush and water, but still very passable. Windy near the pass, but temperature was about perfect. An easy 10 miles.

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Alex Luzanov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
BackpackingGreat!RockySnow

A really nice, scenic trail with great views. Quite difficult for beginners. 100% would recommend

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Gabriel Palmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great trail!! Can’t wait to come back and do it again!! Windy at the top so bring a sweatshirt

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Matthew C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful much of the way. Excellent day hike. You can get good views of Sawtooth Lake if you climb the small hill the trail skirts around when heading south along the water’s edge.

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Laura Gamble
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
Hiking

Wonderful! Snowy the last mile or so. Beautiful!

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Brooke Zabawa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2020
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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Regan Fencl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Rocky

Sawtooth Lake is the highest rated trail in Idaho, and I now know why. It is incredibly scenic. There's Iron Creek at the start of the trail that's beautiful. Before your ascent up to Alpine Lake, there's a beautiful meadow that seems like it's out of a movie. There's the Sawtooth mountains themselves, almost always in view, giving the place its namesake. There's Alpine Lake, which you can view from above as you ascend to Sawtooth Lake, and there is Sawtooth Lake itself, which also makes for a great vantage point. You can't ask for much more. Sawtooth Lake is a large lake surrounded by mountains and is pretty clear, though there's not a lot of spots around the lake to camp at. The trail itself starts off a little rocky, but for the most part, it's normal. Then you get past the meadow, and start your ascent up to Alpine Lake, which is rocky and rather rough, but is nothing compared to the ascent up to Sawtooth Lake, which is numerous switchbacks on the side of a rocky mountain. You need to watch your step here and I personally wouldn't do this during winter, as you really need to know what is below your feet due to how incredibly rocky it is. This part was rather brutal for me while backpacking, as you ascend rather quickly. From that point forward, it is pretty much rock with a few trees here and there, nothing wrong with that though. Very popular, and I think it would be a lot easier to do if you're just day hiking and not carrying any weight with you. There is cell service in intermittent spots on the hike, consistently just as you complete your ascent to Sawtooth Lake, as Stanley, Idaho, for whatever reason, has fantastic cell service. You will lose it at the lake though, so you still will disconnect there. I didn't fish here at all, as the wind at the time was incredibly blusterous, but supposedly both Alpine and Sawtooth have fish to catch. It wasn't the easiest backpacking trip I've done by quite a bit due to the elevation increase, but the views you have along the way make it worth the sore legs. I can't recommend it enough.

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Rid Hollands
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 7, 2020
Hiking

A nice hike! Definitely listen to what the other poster below said about continuing round to the left of the lake for better views. That said I think the overlook above Alpine lake (further up the trail beyond the yellow dot AllTrails indicate) was a much nicer view than Sawtooth Lake, so you could easily stop there - you’ll know it when you see it, unobstructed views of the emerald waters - beautiful! My recording glitched twice (thanks AllTrails!) so I missed a couple of chunks but definitely around 10 miles total in about 4 hrs. We took our 25’ Class C RV up the gravel road which as long as we drove ~10mph was fine. It says 3 miles but it feels a short 3. I’d probably not recommend anything longer than 25 as we got there about 11.30am and there was only one spot left that was suitable for our length vehicle.

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Natalie Fiepke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingRocky
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Lauren Hart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 4, 2020
Hiking

This was a great, moderate hike. AllTrails rates this hike as hard, but it’s a moderate hike. We went out to Sawtooth Lake. The first lake you come up on is Alpine Lake. That’s about 4 miles into the hike. Keep hiking the switchbacks up to Sawtooth Lake. There’s a small pond before you get to Sawtooth Lake. So keep going when you think you’ve hit the lake because it’s further out. Moderately trafficked trail. Mostly shaded. The first section had more roots and rocks to start. Got into a sandy / gravel like trail. Then as you start ascending the switchbacks, it’s predominately rocky, but not into a full scramble. Took us about 3 1/2 from start to finish but we were moving pretty fast. Awesome views along the entire hike. I would definitely come back to do this one again if ever in the area.

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Anna Borg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 30, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail! One of my favorites. A few notes to echo/ inform others: * Make sure to download the map for this trail and follow it all the way to the end. We initially thought the first pool of water we came across at the top of the switchbacks was Sawtooth Lake; not so! Keep pushing and following the trail around the left of the lake (through the boulder and skree field) and you will experience the magic of the real lake. * I would rate this trail easy until you get across the small river crossing. After that, you'll experience more rocks, roots, elevation, and some exposure (not bad at all). We are from CO, so we are used to far more elevation and tough terrain, so the switchbacks were really a delight for us with the views and gradual incline. *The road was the easiest gravel road we've ever driven. You should be able to use it if your car has normal shocks and good tires.

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Jenna Taddeo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
HikingGreat!

Amazing hike + trailhead is easily accessible in a sedan, it’s a dirt road but well maintained. The stretch from Alpine Lake to Sawtooth Lake is pretty intense in the sun but well worth it and makes for an easy hike back down.

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Christy Ailman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 29, 2020
Hiking

Moderate hike. Beautiful pine covered walk for half. Terrain mostly level-compacted dirt. Second half consists of three climbs. First is shaded and dirt packed. Second, after creek crossing, is granite slabby and shaded. The final stretch after alpine lake is granite rubble climb in the sun. Plenty of switchbacks in each section to make the overall hike an enjoyable steady climb.

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Eric Berdinis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
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Risa Orlosky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

Love this area. The views of alpine lake had me rubber necking the whole way up the switchbacks to Sawtooth. It was WINDY.

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Slavic Habovda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike! Definitely recommend it!

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail lots of people, lots of rain and snow and wind and sunshine we got it all!

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