10 Must-Do Hikes in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains

From towering peaks to serene alpine lakes, Idaho’s Sawtooth Range has the perfect adventure for any wilderness aficionado. From family-friendly hikes to more advanced overnight backpacking trips, adventurers have access to 756,000 acres of pristine wilderness.

The Sawtooth Range is a stunning portion of Idaho's Rocky Mountains with 57 peaks and 400 alpine lakes to explore. The Sawtooth Wilderness offers over 700 miles of hiking trails, with opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, trail running, and wildlife watching. We've searched high and low for the best hikes in the Sawtooth Mountains, and we've found the best trails for the ideal Sawtooth experience. 

1. Hike Fishhook Creek

Photo: Ross Miller

Fishhook Creek is a wonderful introductory Sawtooth hike that's fun for the whole family. A pleasant 5 mile trail follows Fishhook Creek to a glorious meadow revealing unforgettable scenery.

2. Backpack to Saddle Back Lakes

Photo: Fudo Jahic

Saddleback Lakes are easily accessed from Stanley, Idaho, in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains. This is the perfect backpacking trip for stargazing, fishing, serene camping, and cliff jumping.

3. Hike to Goat Lake

Photo: Madison Sankovitz

Goat Lake is not only an exceptionally beautiful alpine lake, this trail also leads hikers to the biggest waterfall in the Sawtooth Range. After checking out Goat Falls, continue to Goat Lake for some fishing and swimming to cool off and relax.

4. Hike to Thompson Peak

Photo: Dusty Klein

Thompson Peak is the tallest peak in the Sawtooth range, topping out at 10,751’. Starting your hike at Redfish Lake means 4,200’ of elevation gain in approximately 6.5 miles so it's a tough hike but the views will stay imprinted in your memory forever.

5. Hike Redfish Lake to Alpine Lake

Photo: Dusty Klein

Redfish Lake and Alpine Lake offer some of the most pristine Sawtooth experiences possible. With plentiful camping along the shores of Redfish Lake to use as your home base, there are plenty of trails to follow and lakes to explore. Alpine Lake offers incredibly fresh mountain air and crystal clear waters.

6. Hike to Sawtooth Lake

Photo: Kylor Melton

One word sums up Sawtooth Lake: iconic. At the base of Mount Regan, Sawtooth Lake is a refreshing oasis amidst granite peaks and lingering summer snow.

7. Backpack to Imogene Lake

Photo: Mike Sanders

Imogene Lake offers plentiful options for secluded camping spots and the lake is simply stunning. The emerald blue-green waters are especially welcoming in the summer months and the visibility of the milky way at night will leave you in awe.

8. Hike to Bench Lakes

Photo: Madison Sankovitz

The five Bench Lakes are a chain of lakes that are created from snow melt on Mount Heyburn. The trail to Bench Lake provides hikers with views of Redfish Lake, Grand Mogul, and Mount Heyburn. Make sure to get on the trail early and bring a lunch - you’ll want to explore all five lakes.

9. Backpack to Alice Lake

Photo: Dusty Klein

If you are in the Sawtooth region, Alice Lake is a must-see. Featuring winding creeks, waterfalls, fresh alpine air, wildlife, and stunning mountain peaks, Alice Lake is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the Sawtooths.

10. Scramble up Decker Peak

Photo: Madison Sankovitz

Decker Peak is the third tallest peak in the Sawtooths, offering incredible views of the surrounding mountains and alpine lakes. This can be done as a day hike or as an overnight. Don’t forget a camera!

So what are you waiting for? These incredible trails are waiting to be explored! Discover more adventures across the state at Visit Idaho.

Cover photo: Ross Miller

Published: July 17, 2018

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