Explore the most popular cross country skiing trails in Idaho with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

For those of you who would consider yourself a novice, like myself, after about 2.5 miles of general hicking expect about 2 miles of hiking up switchbacks to get all the way to the top (I checked it with a GPS). The trail was good with some places with higher stepping place and some loose rocks. We stopped at Alpine Lake along the way for a short break and managed to get to Sawtooth Lake in 3 hours. On the way back with just walking at a moderate pace took about 2.5 hours.

Fun hike today! New to the area, hiked it solo. Felt super comfortable the whole time. A lot of friendly ppl on the path too.

This was a great ride. Path is well maintained and there was a nice breeze off the water. It wasnt to crowded so you did not have to worry about speed (I was on a bike).

trail running
2 days 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.

It was a fun hike! it's a gradual incline most of the way up. the directions will have you park in a dirt parking lot but the hike is acrossed the street. it starts out as a different trail then turns into skyline.

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

4 days 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.

Great hike. A little of everything on the way.

Great waterfall!

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.

Flat path, very pedestrianized, and uneventful.

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

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

11 days ago

Just wrapped up that hike. Definitely feels like alpine but there’s quite a bit of road construction going on. Needs better signage. Rustic ski resort in every sense of the word.

12 days ago

Beautiful trail! The beginning wanders along the creek and provides shade and cool temps under the forest foliage. Plentiful waterfalls soothe ears and eyes. Later, the hike goes uphill. For those who feel tentative on hills, hiking poles might be helpful. The many interpretative signs tell the story of Ed Pulaski and western wildfires.

12 days ago

What a fantastic hike!! Did this today, and the gradual incline is just enough to keep you honest and the overall out and back distance is far enough to make it count! Go early on a warmer day as there’s not too much shade. Beautiful scenery, fabulous views! Hits all the high marks!

trail running
12 days ago

Very pleasant morning stroll. Also in a calm safe area. No overnight camping at the trailhead however spacious.

it is a little than moderate for small children ;)

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!

Loved the trail and views at top were gorgeous.

We took the Mesa Scenic Byway and stopped at the falls. It was a 5$ entry fee. The parking lot leads to a beautiful old inn. The trails are not marked very well, but the trail is a loop. A few steps and you are down at the falls. Very pretty falls and canyon. Great little photo ops. The trail loops backs around and you are at the parking lot. There is a 2.5 roundtrip nature trail to take but we didn't have time.

Great trail!
If we went again (which we will be), I'd definitely bring more water/CamelBaks because it gets steep and HOT! Worth the climb though with the beautiful little waterfalls and wildlife all around. There's plenty of spots to take a rest every quarter mile or so, but PLEASE pick up after yourself!! I can't believe how much trash we picked up along the way.

20 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. ♥️

27 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.

mountain biking
30 days ago

Great trail!

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!

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.

1 month 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.

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!!

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