Explore the most popular lake trails near Stanley with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Let me start out saying that this hike is absolutely beautiful and breath taking! Pictures do not do justice to how beautiful and blue Goat Lake really is. I would highly suggest taking your trekking poles and getting to the Iron Creek Trailhead early in the morning (the fog surrounding the mountains is beautiful). The hike starts out as a defined trail and is easy going with the trail getting more moderate as you climb in elevation with switch backs. When the trail runs out, it will bring you to disintegrated rock, when you reach that point, you need to climb up (look at pictures posted). Follow the disintegrated rock “trail” and it will take you in the right direction. You will cross the Iron Creek Waterfall (look for cairns) which will guide you over the waterfall via logs/beaver dam. This is the easier path rather than climbing the rocks on the right side of the Falls. Once you cross the water falls you will run into a defined path that will take you directly to Goat Lake. This is a stunning hike I would recommend to everyone! I would also recommend ready “Randy Clarke’s review as it is a great review that can offer some more helpful information. Hope this review helped!

Awesome Great Beautiful easy to moderate. Can’t ask for a better day hike

The trail was all we hoped for and more. An easy well marked start but we did get turned around in the gravel field looking for the easier "steps" which we never found. The cairns were not very helpful as they were spread out. The locator was a godsend!!! At least we knew when we were wandering too far of trail and could wind back to where we should be. The first view of the falls it's a terrific reward! Very easy to lose the path here until we found the logjam crossing and then it was clear again all the way to the lake. We passed many smaller waterfalls and they were just beautiful. Goat Lake was absolutely breathtaking and worth the hike! We found a spot up on some rocks to sit and eat lunch with a view of the blue green lake below and the snow fields across the lake. We walked to the far side of the lake through the boulder field for another view before turning to head back down to Iron Creek campground. We took a long time to make the hike because we stop and take a lot of pictures and two snack breaks. So the trip up took is 3.5 hours and the trip down about 2. But we wander :)

6 days ago

This was our first hike in Idaho. While the trail can be done on a few hours, we opted to spend the entire day and took it slow. Definitely take the detour to Alpine Lake. Honestly, Sawtooth is bigger but Alpine was our solid favorite. We spent a good chunk of time here just enjoying the silence other than the sound of the water lapping the edge. We continued on up the switchbacks and hot another little lake (which we nicknamed decoy lake) and almost turned around did to a snow squall that moved in. But so glad we pushed on another few yards. Sawtooth Lake was gorgeous. We took the extra time to walk to the far side of the lake and followed the trail on through a boulder field for a spectacular view of some mountain lake in the distance. We stopped a few times for snacks, lunch, and just to experience the peace of the wilderness. We made our way back to Iron Creek trailhead for a total of 13+ miles and 8 hours exactly. As I said, it can be done in way less time, but we took deliberate time.

Pretty hike with good views pretty much the whole time! No bugs. Easy to get to.

We started out at the upper trail head. From the lower TH drive one mile to the split and go right. You will drive another 2.4 miles to the parking area. Need a high clearance vehicle and only one section was rutted out. Very easy hike to a beautiful lake. It's a 6 mile round trip.

Great places to camp on the West end of the lake. The lake itself is pristine; however, as far as I could tell there were no fish. Also, this makes for a good base camp if you want to take your children and extend day hikes through the surrounding area.

The trail is pretty mellow at the start, but towards the end it gets difficult. The end is steep and a bit of a scramble and the trail is unmaintained, but the lake is well worth it. Goat Lake is beautiful and is one of the best lakes to visit in the area.

Trailing With Us...
First of all, we are Seniors, moderately good shape, and we highly recommend hiking poles for this.
Last week of August 2018, D and I planned to hike to Alpine and Sawtooth lakes but Wapiti fire closed trail at junction up from Iron Creek trailhead. Met some other backpackers there that recommended Goat Lake. A shout out to them - Thank You, Great recommendation!
As many have noted a tough scramble the final mile up, especially with full packs to the waterfall just below Goat Lake, but it was "worth it" as we were told. Be sure to have some water with you before you start this climb. After you ascend, the waterfall will be loud and on the left, nice view, from huge flat outcropping. Find the somewhat hidden trail toward the left near stream above water fall (we hopped over a huge boulder with a cairn atop), path will be more obvious as you continue , only 150 feet or so and you will see log jam/beaver dam with yellow rope. Cross there, then stream (on your right now) and trail will guide you to lake, maybe 1/4 mile. Alternately back at waterfall you can veer more right to climb and hop the boulder field instead, not recommended!
Camping isn't crowded, but only about 6 camping spots, depending on your taste. A few are right by the lake, but all are close. There may be more behind/above if you want to climb up a little, we didn't check that, or other end of lake possibly, not an easy trail to the other end though.
Lake is drop-dead gorgeous!!! Emerald greens and blues, at least do a day hike to see it!
Stay a while and take it in. Few bugs, upper 20s at night, and was smoke free. Perfect!
The hike back down the scramble was sketchy with 30 lb. packs, we rearranged even more weight to hip area for better balance. Take it slow and easy.
Good Luck!

I had planned to do the Iron creek to sawtooth lake hike, but with the trail closed for fire aid, I decided to give this trail a try. I didn't make it to the lake, but the falls were still worth the hike. I started out early and pretty much had the trail to myself going out, but on the return hike I met multiple groups. I will definitely try this hike again when I am better prepared.

Very dusty in summer. Nice, easy walk to lakeside primitive campsites.

We started the hike from the Upper Hellroaring trailhead. As a heads up, get there early for parking and make sure you have a vehicle with good clearance, the road gets quite rough and ideally best for suvs and trucks/jeeps. You can park below and start from the Lower Hellroaring trailhead. No restrooms are available so keep that in mind if your looking for convenience lol. From the trailhead, you go from casual walk/hike with a couple tree trunk bridges to cross over, and progress to a moderate hike. The path is a bit hum drum until your about a mile in with some beautiful creeks flowing through and crystal clear water. Hellroaring Lake itself is very beautiful and worth the hike. I would recommend heading from Hellroaring Lake onto Lake Imogene. A fellow hiker we conversed with had said it is similar to Lake Hellroaring but a bit more challenging on the hike itself (moderate rated) with some beautiful water falls along the way. Hope this review helps!

horseback riding
17 days ago

On 8.31.18 we went horseback riding and our guides name was Pete from Redfish Corrals. He led us through the wooded area and we came out at the sign to Fishhook CR TR/Marshall Lake and Redfish Lake CR TR/Bench Lakes. We went on Fishhook and took a detour upwards to a clear shot of Little Redfish Lake, Redfish Lake, and the Sawtooths. It was very peaceful being on horseback listening to the horses and nature all around us.

Hiked the trail on 8.30.18 and it was a perfect day to be on the trail. We got up to the Sawtooth Wilderness permit area. The view of the Sawtooths was amazing. We took our shoes off and walked in the ice cold clear and clean water before hearing back out. We placed 4 painted rocks on various parts of the trail and hope others will find them and place them in other states or countries.

My new favorite trail!! Awesome views all along.

backpacking
18 days ago

It was a beautiful labor day weekend hike. With a car incapable of what it looked to be a Red Bull Rally Truck climb up to the upper parking lot, I started at the lower adding about an extra ~2mi. The first 4-miles is a little flat and slow going thru the forest. After that it is awesome. Plenty of camping at Imogene Lake with great views. Overall, 4/5 experience probably due to the increase amount of people at the lake on this holiday weekend.

Great hike until you reach the tricky steep part at the last mile. Mostly shaded hike but start early to avoid the heat at the last unshaded and the most difficult part at the end. The last part may require a little climbing and be warned as the there is no marked trailhead at the end. Stay to the left of the creek by crossing through a log after you see the waterfall and avoid the whole boulder field climb. The trail was surprisingly crowded given its difficulty level. The glacier lake at the end was pristine with nice blue green tint. And the sawtooth mountains looked beautiful. Worth the climb. Might be tricky getting down coz it can be slippery at times. Go early and go prepared for the last climb.

Loved this trail! We hiked with a 7 year old and a dog and it was a moderate hike. The views were stunning. Saw few deer and chipmunks on the way. We went early enough to avoid the heat and it proved to be a good decision! The redfish lake looked beautiful along the trail and the bench lakes were a treat to the eyes.

To build on Valerie B's review, there are two tricky spots. First, continue around the the case of the granite about 25-30 feet to find the natural steps in the granite. Second, right after you see the waterfall, stay low to the water to find the logjam crossing. There are cairns both low and high (in the boulder field), but it is much easier if you cross to the left side of the creek.

Otherwise pretty straightforward and absolutely worth it.

My favorite trail I have done in Idaho. The only thing this trail is missing is a waterfall!

backpacking
25 days ago

I've hiked this twice and it's beautiful. You will love it.

hiking
26 days ago

This is one of my favorite hikes. This was the third time I have done this hike and each time I love it more! The hike is almost exactly 10 miles out and back if you take the detour to visit Alpine Lake. We stopped there on the way up and then hiked around Sawtooth Lake a bit once arrived. It is a stunning beauty and well worth the miles you put in. The entirety of the trail is beautiful. The water crossing a couple miles in is low this time of year and easy to cross. No snow up at the lake either which was a first for me!

trail running
26 days ago

Awesome running trail, walked during some of the switch backs and sat in the creek on the way back! July weather was perfect for an afternoon run. Took a little less than 2 hours round trip. :)

The climb to the lake at the end is arduous. The rest is a slight incline. Shaded trail mostly.

The Devils Staircase is treacherous with heavy backpacks because it is very steep on both sides with loose rock and scree. Use extreme caution and if you are inexperienced, do not try it. The scenery is very beautiful all around the White Cloud Peaks . There is a trail from Quiet Lake to the Four Lakes Basin, follow the creek to the right up from Quiet Lake to find the Four Lakes Basin. The place is full of rugged alpine scenery and we had a great time. The passes were scary though.

Great hike for all ages. Payoff with a beautiful alpine lake!

Could not ask for more in a hike. Beautiful scenery, great trail with a nice mix of level terrain, switchbacks, and sites. This is a 10 mile hike, should you choose (and you should) make it all the way to Sawtooth Lake. Note that Alpine Lake is "off trail" and to get to Sawtooth, you will take the fork to the right at the "Alpine Lake" trail sign.

This was gorgeous and beautiful weather. It is difficult but I saw small children on the trail. It took us 2 hours to reach the lake.

Incredible views at the end!

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