Alice + Twin Lakes Hike

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Alice + Twin Lakes Hike


  • Trailhead kiosk at the Tin Cup Hikers trailhead.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Trail sign a quarter-mile into the hike showing the alternate route to the horse trailhead.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Fall colors flank Pettit Lake creek about 2 miles into the hike.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • The view onto open meadows from several switchbacks through talus fields on the north side of the canyon.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Looking down canyon into the White Cloud range from about halfway up the canyon.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • A nice hikers bridge spans Pettit Lake Creek in a narrow section of the canyon.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Looking up canyon toward the towering face of El Capitan.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Another fine view down Pettit Lake Creek canyon.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Alice Lake comes into view.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Alice Lake outlet.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • The stunning view from the north shore of Alice Lake.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Another great view from the shoreline of Alice Lake.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Trailside scenery along Alice Lake.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Fall colors decorate the shore of Alice Lake.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Trail sign at the junction between Alice and Twin Lakes- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • The view of the headwalls above Twin Lakes.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • Looking down onto Twin Lakes from the Snowyside Divide.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
  • A sunset view of the White Clouds peaks from a hillside below Parks Peak.- Alice + Twin Lakes Hike
Overview + Weather
Great views. Lakeside camping. Loop options.
Can be crowded.
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,718.00 ft (523.65 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
10.40 mi (16.74 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,953.00 ft (2,119.27 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description


It could be enough to say that the backdrop to Alice Lake is one of the most stunning views in the entire range. The combination of undulating, glacially-scoured bedrock covered in patches of alpine forest beneath a skyline of jagged spires and impressive vertical faces is breathtaking. Just 400 feet higher, however, the Twin Lakes are nestled beneath the north face of Peak 9,923.  Split by a narrow bridge of solid granite, these lakes occupy a cirque of equally stunning beauty.

Then there is the canyon leading up to these alpine gems. After traversing the shores of Pettit Lake, the trail crosses directly beneath a 2-mile-long rampart of 800-foot vertical cliffs guarding the southeast face of Parks Peak. Beyond this, a narrow canyon filled with a tumbling creek frames the precipitous face of El Capitan. Hikers simply have to turn around for an awesome perspective of the 11,000-foot peaks in the White Cloud Mountains across the Sawtooth Valley. Needless to say, the Pettit Lake drainage is an awesome place.

The fact that it can be combined with Toxaway and Farley Lake into a single 18-mile loop is genius. The natural beauty of the area makes this one of the most visited regions of the Sawtooths. Please respect the regulations banning the use of campfires as necessary to protect this invaluable resource.

The trail to Alice and Twin Lakes is frequently combined over Snowyside divide with Toxaway and Farley Lake.  This 18-mile loop includes 2,572 feet of elevation gain and can be done in a single day or multi-day backpack trip.

Most of the trail lies within the Sawtooth Wilderness.  Please observe the following  regulations:
• Mountain bikes are not allowed past the wilderness boundary.
• Self administered wilderness permits are required and available at the trailhead.
• Dogs must be on a leash between July 1 and Labor Day
• Camp 100-feet from trails, lakes and streams
• Pack out all garbage.
• Human waste should be buried in a cat hole 6-8 inches deep, buried and well disguised.  Pack out all toilet paper.
• No campfires allowed at Alpine or Twin Lakes.
• Permits required for all stock use in the wilderness.  No grazing allowed in the Salmon River watershed (This included the Alpine Lake drainage)
• No equine stock at Edith Lake.  ALL stock prohibited in the Goat Creek and Alpine Creek (Alturas Lake) drainages.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(86 within a 30 mile radius)

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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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