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Sawtooth Lake (from Iron Creek Trailhead)

 4.7 (20)


9.4 Miles 15.2 Kilometers

1,747' 533 m


-1,747' -532 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (16°)

8,471' 2,582 m


6,744' 2,056 m


Shared By Jessie Morris



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A beautiful, remote landscape with dramatic views of the Sawtooth Mountains and stunning lake vistas

Jessie Morris

Dogs Unknown

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


The Sawtooth Mountains are best known for their dramatic skyline visible from nearby Stanley, ID. This hike will bring you up close and personal with some of the most dramatic peaks. With a quick side-trip to Alpine Lake and a small pond just before the main attraction (Sawtooth Lake), this route packs an extra punch in the lake department as well (with even more in the surrounding area). Sawtooth Lake is relatively large as alpine lakes tend to run. You'll find it nestled in a bare, rocky bowl at the base of Mt Regan. From the lake, the trail splits off in three different directions. Best to backpack in to soak up all it has to offer, but possible in a long day hike.


DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From Stanley, head 2 miles west on ID 21 to turnoff for Iron Creek trailhead (FR 619) on the left. Drive 3 mi. to trailhead parking lot.

Head southwest from the trailhead into the forest. You'll pass a sign indicating the boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness. Shortly after take a right at the fork in the trail which will lead into a lovely, tree-lined meadow. Circling left around a peak to your right, you'll take a left at the next fork in the trail, bearing south. From here, you'll hike with an up close view along the south side of the dramatic cliffs of Sawtooth Mountain range.

You'll then cross Iron Creek and quickly climb nearly 500 feet in elevation. Stay right at the fork in the trail where a side trail drops to the shores of Alpine Lake. (Or if you have time, take the decline down to the lake where there are a couple camp sites spread around the lake.) From along the upper trail, you'll have great views to the left of Alpine Lake with a mountain peak backdrop. As you climb, you'll have views back to the right of the jagged Sawtooths.

Once you near the top, you'll pass a pond to your right. Keep straight and you'll run into Sawtooth Lake. You can get a glimpse of the lake upon the approach, or continue on to the left to get a broader view of the entire lake. If you have some time at Sawtooth Lake, scramble up to the top of the rock formation on the northeast corner for sweeping views. You'll find camping spots scattered around this upper plateau.

The trail continues on to other destinations; however, this route turns around at this point and heads back the way you came to the trailhead.


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Your Check-Ins


Nov 3, 2018
Eric Drake
Oct 13, 2018
Justin Colton
Sep 17, 2018
Shawn B.
Aug 11, 2018
Brett Pozolinski
Tough hike out. Awesome campsites up top when you get too the lake 9mi
Jul 28, 2018
Rob Fischer
Beautiful sights, and a great place to camp! Easy to find good camp sites all around the trail side of the lake. 4.5mi
Jul 20, 2018
Ben Rubin
really nice popular hike with awesome lake at top 8.5mi
Jul 15, 2018
Dylan R
Jul 6, 2018
Uyen M

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 20 votes


  4.7 from 20 votes
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