The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon

Pioneer Mountains

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon

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  • The summit of the Devils Bedstead towers above intervening ridges from the road out Wildhorse Canyon.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • The summit of the Devils Bedstead towers above intervening ridges from the road out Wildhorse Canyon.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Crossing Wildhorse creek to access the Boulder Canyon Trail.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Heading up into the Boulder Canyon.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Heading up into the Boulder Canyon.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Walking bedrock knobs above Boulder Lake Canyon.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Lake 9,860 and the East Butterss of the Devil's Bedstead.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Looking down the snow-coverd north face of the Devil's Bedstead. This is also a popular spring backcountry ski route.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Walking the snow line on the north ridge of the Devil's Bedstead.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Looking onto Washington Lake from the north ridge of the Devil's Bedstead.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • The route, typically a Class 3 with sections of Class 4 scrambling, becomes all the more challenging after a snowfall.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Finding holds and secure footing on the ridge of the Devils Bedstead.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • An easier Class 3 route traverses onto the north face proper to avoid some of the ridgline cruxes. Lake 9,860 can be seen far below.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • The Class 4 crux on the north ridge was a heady move over some huge exposure (Washingotn Lake below) on wet, slabby holds.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Back into easy terrain to the summit.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Serrated ridges extend for miles. Goat Peak is the towering peak in the background.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Looking down into Boulder Canyon from the north ridge.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Many steps down.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Back to Lake 9,860 and the end of the snow.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • Contemplating life on the edge of the world. The high peaks of the Lost River Range are draped in snow in the background.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
  • A dry trail for the return trip.- The Devils Bedstead via Boulder Lake Canyon
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning views from the summit. Boulder Lake is an option for non-climbers. Alternate route avoids hard scrambling on ridge.
Cons: 
Committing ridgeline scrambling. Exposure. Off-trail navigation.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Recommended Equipment:
Harness / rope / anchors, Harness / rope / anchors, Harness / rope / anchors
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade II
Net Elevation Gain: 
4,600.00 ft (1,402.08 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
9.80 mi (15.77 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,300.00 ft (2,225.04 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Boulder Lake Canyon

This steep hike into Boulder Canyon follows the creek past several picturesque gorges into the upper basin. Boulder Lake sits just below at 9,600 feet in a dramatic alpine basin ringed by sheer rock walls.

The first challenge is crossing Wildhorse Creek immediately below the trailhead. It is wide and shallow, but it may pose a problem during spring runoff. Plan on getting your feet wet!

After winding through the willows, the trail climbs through several forested switchbacks and a side-hill through open forest to a bridge over Boulder Creek. From here hikers catch glimpses of the creek as it tumbles through narrow gorges. A steep climb through several weaving switchbacks leads to a second crossing of Boulder Creek. 

The trail finally climbs into open terrain as it crests the edge of the basin and crosses a long meadow where mid-summer wildflowers decorate the valley bottom. For hikers who want to explore Boulder Lake, the trail enters the forest at the end of the meadow before the climbing steeply into the Boulder Lake Cirque. The east face of The Devils Bedstead towers over three additional lakes that can be explored via a challenging 2.5-mile off-trail loop.

The North Ridge of the Devil’s Bedstead

From the open meadows at 9,000 feet, the north ridge of the Devil’s Bedstead is accessed via an off-trail scramble to the lake at 9,860 feet and then a shorter climb to the broad saddle on the north ridge (10,550 feet).  This same saddle can also be accessed from the Kane Creek Canyon, but that entails more off-trail scrambling.

The Devils Bedstead itself is an impressive summit that offers a classic spring ski down the north face and a dramatic Class 4 to Class 5 climb up the north ridge. The north ridge climbs a steep and exposed line up decent rock to the summit. You can avoid the most difficult steep bulge (easy Class 5) by traversing into talus on the north face.

Additional Adventures

It is possible to connect Boulder Canyon with Little Kane Creek via a faint, unmaintained trail that links the two.  Additionally, Wildhorse Canyon is the jumping-off point for many impressive hikes. Start by exploring the possibilities at the Wildhorse Canyon Trail, or the Fall Creek Canyon Trail.  It is also possible to link Wildhorse Canyon with Kane Creek via the Burnt Aspen Trail.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring Sun Valley - A Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder, Pioneer, and Smoky Mountains by Idaho River Publications.

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Published in collaboration with Idaho River Publications

Our mission is to inspire adventure with beautiful, comprehensive and waterproof map-based guidebooks.  Owner, publisher, and photographer Matt Leidecker, grew up exploring and guiding on the rivers in central Idaho.  His award winning Middle Fork of the Salmon River – A Comprehensive Guide is the standard by which other river guidebooks are measured.  Printed on virtually indestructible YUPO paper, IRP guides are truly unique all-in-one resources for adventure.  Each book is loaded with full-color maps, stunning photographs, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers.  Visit Idaho River Publications to explore our guidebooks to the Rogue River in Oregon and the mountains of Central Idaho.

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