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Sawtooth Lake via Trail 640 and Alpine Way Trail

HARD 322 reviews
#1 of 74 trails in

Sawtooth Lake via Trail 640 and Alpine Way Trail is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stanley, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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: 11.6 miles Elevation Gain: 3,238 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
muddy
snow
8 days ago

Did this hike on Oct 12, expected snow and there was some, mainly on the mile just before Alpine Lake. Trail to Sawtooth Lake was in good shape. We had blue skies and only a little wind at the lake. The last 1.5 miles back to the trailhead had some serious mud later in the day. Long hike but really manageable climb and well maintained trail. Beautiful destination!

hiking
26 days ago

A great fall hike...windy at the lake but absolutely beautiful. We agree with other posters that it’s more moderate of a hike than difficult.

hiking
1 month ago

This is an amazing hike! The trail isn't too difficult until you get past Alpine Lake. Then it gets significantly more challenging but it's still manageable. I'm not sure if I agree with the "hard" rating though. To me it's a high-end "moderate" level hike. I've hiked trails this site rates as "moderate" that were more difficult than this. Anyways, just when you think you've had enough, Sawtooth Lake comes into view and it's absolutely stunning! If you turn left when you get to Sawtooth Lake, there is a hill right on the shore of the lake that makes for great panoramic views of the lake if you hike to the top of it. You can also keep going if you want and you'll run into two smaller lakes further down the trail. The trail is in excellent condition the entire way, but there are a couple of fallen trees you'll have to step over in the first couple miles. This hike took me 6 hours to complete. Also, this trail does not go all the way up to Alpine Peak. It would be an extremely steep and dangerous off-trail climb to Alpine Peak and I don't recommend that anyone attempt it unless they're very experienced.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike awhile ago, got to the lake and a storm rolled in so we left early but definitely want to go back and spend a night up there simply beautiful.

backpacking
1 month ago

amazing views! worth the journey!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great trail! Well maintained. It’s definitely a climb to get to the top but it’s mostly switch backs. As most of the others have stated it’s worth the 10 minute detour to Alpine lake if you are able. We backpacked up and stayed the night.

hiking
off trail
1 month ago

This was a great hike all around. Note that after Sawtooth lake this route is off trail and goes straight up the hill.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, shaded most of the time. lots of other hikes with dogs. just before the lakes is a meadow with beautiful overlooks. We are not avid hikers at all but could easily do this one, we took our dog and 2.5 year old who did great we only had to put her in a carrier in the second set of switchbacks but she's great with walking for a long time. totally worth it and you can stop at the first lake if the hike is too long. The trail is well kept and clear besides the second set of switchbacks where they get a little steep with some loose rocks.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was worth the time and the climb the last bit of the way. Take time to see Alpine lake as well as Sawtooth lake. The trail is well cared for and the scenery is amazing! I will be doing it again with my kids. I would say it is a fairly moderate hike. I was able to complete it even with my health issues caused by having MS. So get out and take the adventure.

hiking
1 month ago

The views were amazing! Something you see in a painting or a calendar!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, great hike. Trail is in great shape.

hiking
1 month ago

Love it. Went in early July, weather was perfect. Chilled at top just looking around for almost an hour.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is in great condition. Full hike took 5.5 hours and I did the 10 minute detour to see Alpine Lake as well. Don't miss it! The first half is very easy, third quarter is moderate, last quarter is a little more intense.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Great day hike! Moderately graded with epic viewpoints, access to multiple alpine lakes, and just enough mileage to thin out crowds. Easy enough to turn into an afternoon jaunt or as a backpack trip, camping up at the lake (or Alpine Lake) for the night.

hiking
2 months ago

amazing hike, wouldn't say it's super hard but very rewarding and great look outs

hiking
2 months ago

my first time in this area, traveling from Boise! drove up mid morning, hiked with my pups, drove back early evening. I went on a day thunderstorms were projected (at 7pm). I took advantage of the overcast weather. This is ranked as hard but I would change that to moderate. The only difficult thing about it is the length, and maybe the last mile before reaching Sawtooth Lake. I took both my pups with me and they had no issues. Had to swadle carry my chihuahua pupper back, due to rain. The rain gods decided 7pm meant noon, so unfortunately it made for a wet treck back. However, if you plan on not going on a rainy day slather yourself in bug spray. Even with the rain I got landed on a couple times. Path was very easy to follow, and on-leash doggo friendly. Loved the views, would definitely return!

hiking
2 months ago

AMAZING! I think it’s fair to rate this hike as moderate, mostly due to the length. The first 3 miles are an easy, steady climb. The last two miles are more of a moderate climb. The views along the way are incredible. It took us 5 hours, including a picnic lunch and lots of photo stops. We saw many dogs on the trail and met a lot of campers. Would recommend this hike to all fitness levels. Would recommend starting by 9am so you have plenty of time to enjoy the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, took around 5 hours with about an hour of stops at alpine lake and sawtooth lake. Moderate until alpine lake then after alpine lake it’s steep but not too bad. Definitely worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

I’ve done this hike three times now: in early June, mid-July and late July. Although enjoyable every time, this most recent time in late July was by far my favorite. There was no snow to traverse (only a little to be seen off trail) and the lake was the most beautiful I’ve seen it. As always, there are great views for almost the entire trail. It is very steep, but I’m not in great shape by any means and I handled it. All in all, it took me five hours round trip (and that’s with an hour of lounging by the lake).

hiking
2 months ago

So worth it!! Great easy to follow trail that leads to two beautiful lakes with exceptional views!! The last mile is a bit strenuous especially with the sun exposure but worth it!! Great 1 night backpack!!

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

First three miles +, was a moderate hike, once passing Alpine lake it turns into a rocky scramble! Well worth the effort to reach the Lake! Had good luck fishing on the small lake prior to the Sawtooth. Well worth it. 9.8 miles from the parking area. Was worried about the amount of vehicles at the trailhead, pleasantly surprised with how few people we actually encountered.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

We took our dog up to Sawtooth Lake and camped right by the lake. It took us about 3 hours to get there but we stopped a ton to take pictures and we had large packs on since we camped overnight. It was fairly rocky along the trail especially the last 1ish mike. You can see Alpine Lake along the trail up to Sawtooth Lake and it was gorgeous but Sawtooth was by far our favorite. There were wildflowers, river crossings, GORGEOUS mountains, and of course an amazing lake at the top. We hiked this around 4:30 on a Thursday evening and didn’t see too many people along the trail but coming back Friday morning it was heavily trafficked. We thought this was a moderate-hard hike due to the rocky switchbacks towards the end but we saw plenty of kids hiking with their parents so it’s definitely doable. We plan on doing this hike again because we loved it so much!

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is remarkable.... absolutely stunning. My Garmin showed about 6 miles up to Sawtooth Lake with a detour to Alpine Lake and just a little over 5 miles. I would rate this as moderate. There’s an entire variety of things to see- wildlife, wildflowers, streams, lakes, mountains. The peak of the jagged sawtooth peaks. We found a spot to camp at sawtooth lake and there were about 5 additional tents overnight. Lovely back packing trip or day trip.

hiking
2 months ago

Closer to 10 miles, but worth every step.

hiking
2 months ago

So many switchbacks but awesome and diverse views throughout the trip. The lake itself is amazing. Highly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

Note that you don't have to go down to alpine lake to see it. Great views of the lake as you walk up to sawtooth.

backpacking
2 months ago

Really loved this trail. I am a 1st time backpacker and I did this with 2 guys who do this a lot. Kinda proud that I did this without hindrance while one of them was sucking wind. The last mile to Alpine is definitely the hardest as it is a steep uphill switchback. Some say the last mile into Sawtooth lake was worse but I didn't find it as such. Shaded all the way through and a beautiful journey. Fish are completely visible through the water but they don't bite on anything I could figure. All in all an awesome 1st trail for me. 3 nights, 4 days.

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