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.

backpacking
14 hours ago

Hiked it a on May 21. Good trail but noticed a lot of down trees and branches covering the trail. Also had tough time cause there was still a ton of snow once you pass creek. Made also difficult to walk or follow the trail without snow shoes. Overall good hike, probably better to do in a couple months.

Still, a lot of snow on the trail as others have stated. Whether you use boots with or without gaters, you will need about 12" of protection to keep your feet dry. I highly recommend gaters!

We followed Trail 640 to the valley Iron Creek crossing. Steadily increasing snow as you make your way up the trail. With some strategic log placement, we were able to make it across with relatively dry feet. From that point on, you will be walking on about 3ft of snow (mostly solid pack). It is absolutely beautiful in the valley and well worth it to cross the creek.

After the creek, despite using 2 different offline GPS trail maps, we were unable to find the trail again. We made our way to the next ridgeline, ate lunch, and decided to turn back.

An amazing hike with the right gear and highly recommended.

Best trip I’ve ever done.

It's not the hike's fault there was too much snow.

It is absolutely gorgeous up there! And so quiet. I went on a beautiful blue bird day, crisp and sunny. This was my first time hiking in the Sawtooth wilderness and couldn't believe how lightly tracked the trail was, if it even was the trail.

I followed someone's path about 2.5 miles in before their trail abruptly ended at a canyon. Considering there was no return footprints, I can only assume...
1. They were eaten by a bear,
2. They fell into the canyon or
3. I'm just an idiot and couldn't see where they actually went.

Either way, would love to come back someday and try this hike again when all the snow melts.

hiking
14 days ago

This is the only peak in the Sawtooth Wilderness with a Class I trail to the top. The trail starts at Stanley Lake Campground and follows the Idaho Centennial Trail up to a saddle, where it can be difficult to find the Observation Peak Trail at first. Look for the switchbacks above and scramble over some rocks to get to it. This can also be accessed from the Grandjean Trailhead. The last few miles are steep switchbacks, but offer beautiful views to keep you motivated. There is a cairn and lock box at the top. There is a nice view of Horsetail Falls along the way.

Still has some snow pack occasionally on the trail but nothing that you couldn’t easily pass with hiking boots. Absolutely beautiful!

Completed first weekend in May. First mile was a great hike by hell roaring creek. Soon after we began hitting spotty snow piles which eventually turned into snow. Hip high snow through parts. It took our group 5 hours of hiking to get to the lake. The amount of melt that occured in one day was amazing, but our route back the next day was still going through scattered piles of snow or puddles/marshes of melt. I would hike this again, but if I did, I wouldn't go until mid-May (or June if heavy snowfall that winter) and I would wear gaiters and waterproof boots. The lake was beautiful, the finger of fate was a nice back drop, our campsite was super secluded, and we saw a mountain lion on the way out.

Completed lower TH to the lake and attempted to take this route back, thinking the road may have less snow. There was no bridge. After some log hoping, we were able to get over the creek, but the road was covered in hip high snow. I would highly suggest starting from the lower trailhead, especially if attempting in early to mid May.

hiking
17 days ago

This trail was stunning. We went on 5/5/18, a nice warm overcast off-season day. Still lots of snow on the trail at points which caused quite a bit of post holing. We only went three miles up, but still worth it. These isn’t a very tough hike and the views of the lake were great. Highly recommend!

going to go back in the next month to actually get to the trail. Unfortunately there was a pretty decent amount of snow so we didnt get to go as far as originally planned! Can't wait to go try again soon!

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked up to the second lake, took a swim, and hiked back out. There is a shuttle from the lodge that will take you across and I think you can just hike straight up or down if you want a round trip. Check the map.

We went during beautiful wildflowers season. The path was lined with flowers in certain areas. Super beautiful.

Super quiet. We plan on doing this hike again this summer!

It was great.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy trail but real wilderness. Park at the north end parking lot of Redfish Lake and find the trailhead northwest of the lot. The trail meanders upward, west-northwestward, and into thin, creekside forest. When the trail veers west-southwest it evens out in altitude and offers a beautiful diffused light through thin, alpine forest. Follow the trail along Fishhook Meadow before the trail seems to end at a wetland/river area with Thompson Peak and Mickey's Spire in the background. Look northwest from the open area where the trail seems to end to find the Wilderness Permits box marking the boundary of the maintained Sawtooth National Recreational Area. I signed out and kept hiking southwest along a path and found I was few hundred feet from the northeast shore of Fishhook Lake. I continued on the path, southwest along the shore. It was beautiful with wonderful views of the lake to the south, the peaks to the west, and wildflowers everywhere... but it was buggy! I hiked past Fishhook Lake through a field of downed trees, and then the trail became very spotty as the terrain became more rocky and elevated. I just followed the peaks and stayed relatively straight, southwest. I stopped and turned around after finding a lovely cascading creek with no discernible trail on the other side. This area appeared untouched and very wild: A great place to explore, safely.

Completed this hike last June of 2017. Because of the wild Idaho winter of 2016/2017 Goat Lake was well over half frozen. Absolutely amazing hike.

Unforgettable!

This was my first time backpacking in to stay the night at the lake type hike! It was quite the challenge w/a too heavy of a pack on my back but one of the most beautiful hikes I've been on lately. The view walking into the lake area was absolutely worth the early AM wake up and semi-intense hike on the side of a mountain!

One of if not the best hikes I've done. Just incredibly beautiful. It was a little chilly and very windy in early October. Saw a tree and several branches toppled so be careful if it's windy. Amazing how fast a tree can fall when it gets going.

This was my introduction to the Idaho wilderness and the Sawtooths and it didn’t disappoint! Mother Nature threw rain, snow, and hail at us but we persevered! Trail is well worn up until the final mile which is an entertaining scramble up loose gravel and over a granite boulder field. Trekking poles might be helpful. But the deep blues and greens of the lake and the sheer granite cliff faces is well worth the work!

8 months ago

A favorite!

backpacking
8 months ago

Prettiest place I've ever backpacked.

Beautiful hike. Camped over Labor Day weekend. Only downfall is the trail is pretty crowded.

backpacking
8 months ago

This is a gorgeous hike that I did as an out and back. Be mindful that to get to the upper roaring hells trailhead where this post starts the hike, you might need 4-wheel drive, as the road is pretty gnarly, I had to turn around and start at the lower roaring hells trailhead. It adds three miles in each direction (barely any elevation change), but you will get to Imogene lake from there in 9 miles.

camping
8 months ago

My husband and I arrived around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Parking (free) was maxed out but luckily we found a spot; near the Trailhead is your standard bathroom should you need one. At the Trailhead is where you fill out your free wilderness permit.

Now, the hike was lovely! It starts out pretty flat with your standard Idaho forest and eventually begins to climb. You'll cross a couple of creeks (logs and rocks strategically placed if you'd like to remain dry), enter into a beautiful meadow which still had wild flowers in bloom on September 3, and ride switchbacks with some epic views of the Sawtooth Mountain range. The trail will vary from a powdery dirt like substance to gravel, to rocks... be careful to avoid twisting/spraining your ankle!

We found the hike to be pretty strenuous with a pack as our goal was to camp at the lake, but it was doable!

By the time we arrived at the lake, all of the lakeside camping spots had been taken (obviously)! We still found a nice one but Lake side is what you should strive for!

We did a little bit of fishing and were pretty successful in the evening (sunset) and early morning (sunrise) in catching tiny trout.

The haze/smoke from Montana has reached this lovely range; while it has impeded some of the views slightly, it didn't affect our air quality (as far as we could tell). I lugged my Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4 lens, and a tripod JUST to get a shot of the stars. Nothing was visible by midnight so we went to bed. We didn't include our cover/precipitation/wind protector in hopes of seeing some stars... I was hesitant at first due to the cold weather BUT the newest Marmout sleeping bags we purchased were PERFECT and kept us warm. I woke around 2:00 a.m. to beautiful stars!! It was so cold... I couldn't bring myself to get out of my sleeping bag SO I just enjoyed it for what it was. It was also SO QUIET! Our dog actually slept through the entire night without being bothered by little creature noises in the night.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy trail giving you views of redfish lake as you go.

We backpacked up to Sawtooth Lake for the eclipse and had a great campsite. Got up there 3 days early. Everyday it got more crowded but never to many people. Such an awesome hike! I will return soon.

Great hike! The views are amazing! Did this hike late august and the wildflowers are in full bloom up at sawtooth lake!

Stunning hike! Absolutely loved it!

backpacking
8 months ago

Camped at Sawtooth Lake for the 2017 solar eclipse. Trail is very well maintained and moderate for the first 3 miles. Two miles before lake the switchbacks begin. Many great campsites available at the lake. Consider climbing one of the peaks or walking the ridge.

Nice hike with beautiful views

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