This hike is off the beaten path and leads to the largest waterfall in the Sawtooth Mountains and a beautiful alpine lake.

This moderate hike begins at Iron Creek Trailhead in the Sawtooth Mountains. Follow the trail through the forest and alongside Iron Creek. At 1.1 miles you will officially enter the Sawtooth Wilderness and soon after come to a marked junction. Turn left to follow Alpine Way Trail across Iron Creek. At 1.5 miles cross a bridge and then begin a steep 600-foot ascent. Although somewhat taxing, the widespread vistas and wildflowers will keep you captivated. The trail levels off at an elevation of 7,600 feet. Continue on through the forest to another junction at 2.9 miles. Take the right path and walk along a hillside until the path nearly disappears north of Goat Falls (3.3 miles). Be sure to take a short detour down a 100-foot path to get the best view of the spectacular falls. 

To continue on to Goat Lake, look south for an angled, scree-covered granite slab. Scramble up the slab to an unmaintained path leading to the lake, directly west of the falls. It is about 600 feet elevation gain to Goat Lake, but the view is definitely worth it! A hidden gem of the Sawtooths.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes 
  • Water bottle 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Snack 
  • Camera
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RT Distance 6.8 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Strenuous but worth it

When you turn left just after entering Sawtooth Wilderness, you'll head the direction that says to go to Marshall Lake. It doesn't say Alpine Way, so we were a bit confused at first. The scramble up to the lake is tough; I would say that part alone took us 45 minutes to an hour. We visited in June and only encountered three other groups of people! Overall I recommend the hike but I would have mentally prepared myself better had I known how difficult the last part would be.

Great fishing

The fish up here are always hungry so you can catch them virtually every cast. Me and some buddies caught about one fish every minute. Also awesome view and I'm pretty sure there is a shorter way up to goat lake than listed.

Better Than Banff! Best Sawtooth Hike!

Best hike in the Sawtooths! I never would've thought my favorite alpine lake hike would be found in Idaho! The crowd factor makes this almost better than Grand Teton or Banff because the views are all to yourself. I will note that this is definitely at LEAST 1000 feet elevation gain. Camping at Goat Lake looked epic by the way if you have time!

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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