Alpine Lake is an extremely popular destination for both day hikers and overnight backpackers. The trail climbing out of Redfish Canyon is an impressive feat of switchback engineering and has a few sections that could make those suffering from acrophobia a little uneasy. Otherwise, the climb offers outstanding views of the glacially-carved U-shaped canyon below. The campsites around the lake are impacted by heavy use. A fire ban is in place, and the Forest Service is conducting rehabilitation research on some of the more impacted sites. Please do your best to limit your impact when visiting this beautiful alpine basin.
The trail continues over Baron Divide to connect via Baron Lakes to the Grandjean trailhead. Baron Lakes are more commonly accessed from the Redfish Canyon by descending the many switchbacks on the west side of the pass. There are several possible multi-day loops that integrate the Baron/Redfish trail system.
Note that the boat shuttle across Redfish Lake costs $10 each way. While not required, the hike is an additional 5 miles (one way) without a shuttle. Also note that snow can cover sections of Sawtooth trails and high mountain passes until early July in a big snow year.
Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:
• From the Redfish Inlet TH to Alpine Lake: 5.4 miles, 1,902 feet
• From the Redfish Inlet TH to Baron Divide: 7 miles, 2,689 feet
For hikers and backpackers who want to stay in the Redfish Lake Creek Drainage, Cramer Lakes are an excellent destination. The descent from Baron Divide to Baron Lakes is an easy day hike for backpackers basing out of Alpine Lake.
Most of the trail lies within the Sawtooth Wilderness, so 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.
• Campfires allowed ONLY in a backcountry pan or fire blanket
• Campfires are NOT allowed at some lakes and in some drainages in the Sawtooths. Please review the campfire restrictions at individual trailheads.
• Permits required for all stock use in the wilderness. No grazing allowed in the Salmon River watershed (This includes the Alpine Lake drainage)
• No equine stock at Edith Lake. ALL stock prohibited in the Goat Creek and Alpine Creek (Alturas Lake) drainages.
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