• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

Unobstructed views of the Sawtooth Mountains. Accessible by vehicle. Sweet date spots?

The Sawtooths are best enjoyed from within them; hundreds of trails lead through the wilderness to amazing alpine lakes and to the top of mountain peaks. That's not the only way you can capture the magic, however. Here are three consecutive spots in or close to Stanley (the "Gateway to the Sawtooths") that feature unobstructed views of the mountains, perfect for photographers chasing dramatic landscapes without straying from the road.

1) From the Hwy. 21/Hwy. 75 junction in Stanley, head west as if you're headed back to Boise. Just after the gas station, turn left (south) on Wall St. and follow the road to the Sawtooth Valley Meditation Chapel. The parking lot here overlooks a field at the base of the mountains. Catch this at sunrise or sunset for some awesome light. Watching the sun set behind the mountains with a partner might make for a great date spot (take note fellas)!

2) Continue west on Hwy. 21 not even a mile and look for a small turn off alongside the road to the south. It'll be big enough only for about two cars but the view packs a punch. A consistent theme with all of these spots is a view looking over a wooden fence, across a field and a layer of trees, and finally settling on incredible mountain peaks. This spot is no different. The sun setting behind the mountains illuminates the peaks and makes for great shots.

3) Continuing further west on Hwy. 21 about six miles, pass the Stanley Lake entrance road and keep your eyes peeled for a lookout sign. This will also be on the left side of the road. There's a small parking area that overlooks a meadow that seemingly would attract lots of wildlife. Of course the mountains in the background make this spot epic. There are bathrooms at this location as well.

Be mindful that Stanley and the surrounding area is consistently one of the coldest towns in all of the country. Pack an extra layer of clothes, especially if you plan on watching the sunset. Drive carefully during low visibility hours as the wildlife is very active around Stanley. Above all, don't forget to enjoy the moment while you capture it!

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Extra layer of clothes
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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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The Sawtooths Mountains totally blew me away. This area is an incredible place to visit, and SO much fun to photograph!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Once I got into photography, I was dying to head over to the Sawtooths to get some photos. This is a great adventure, which shows that there are many places you can get awesome photos. If you're ever near the Sawtooths, make sure to take some time and check them out.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

The iconic views that we all see of Stanley include the snow capped and jagged mountain peaks in the background, a wooden zigzagging fence in the foreground, and a meadow between the two (sometimes with a river of stream for good measure). In my wandering around Stanley, I have stumbled upon, and taken pictures at, two of these spots but will be sure to visit the third next trip!!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I recently did a quick trip through the Sawtooths and am now determined to get back and spend more time photographing and hiking the area.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

As you enter Lower Stanley coming from the East side of Idaho on Hwy 75, you'll see a breathtaking view of the Sawtooths. I really can't get enough of these mountains. They are gorgeous! Many different angles to see them and photograph them. You won't be disappointed with your visit.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Some of the most beautiful scenery in Idaho!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Absolutely gorgeous mountains, and wonderfully secluded if you're looking for a little bit of isolation

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Dusty Klein Explorer

Oregon born, Idaho forged. Dusty is a weekend-warrior turned freelance photographer with a passion and respect for the mountains. @dustykleiner

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