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Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage

Sawtooth Wilderness

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage

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  • The trail passes close to Iron Creek within the first mile.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Another nice view of Iron Creek at the first trail junction.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • The trail climbs through an open and shaded Douglas fir forest.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Alpine Peak reflected in Alpine Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Trail sign at the turnoff to Alpine Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Pika!- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Leash regulations vary by season in the Sawtooth Wilderness.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • A small fire scar exists along the southern shore of the lake and hosts buckwheat and cliff penstemon.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Sawtooth Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Alpine Peak (left, 9,861') and Mount Regan (right, 10,190') above Sawtooth Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Alpine forget-me-not.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Douglas fir bark and moss.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Penstemon variety.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Iron Creek Trailhead.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Look up Iron Creek from the Alpine Way junction.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Alpine Peak (9,861') viewed from the south shore of Alpine Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Looking across Alpine Lake to Alpine Peak (9,861') from the switchback leading to Sawtooth Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • Sawtooth Lake outlet.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
  • The north Face of Mount Regan (10,190') towers above Sawtooth Lake.- Alpine + Sawtooth Lakes, Iron Creek Drainage
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Relatively short hike to lakes. Awesome views.
Cons: 
Can be crowded.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,730.00 ft (527.30 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
9.60 mi (15.45 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,710.00 ft (2,045.21 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The close proximity to Stanley, relatively short hiking distance, and stunning views along much of the trail makes this one of the most popular destinations in the range. Alpine Lake is nestled into a beautiful glaciated bowl. Hikers cresting the Sawtooth Lake basin 600 feet higher are treated to the awesome view Mount Regan towering over the largest alpine lake in the Sawtooths. This makes a great day hike, overnight, or leg of a longer backpacking loop out of Stanley Lake.

Mountain bikes can be ridden the first mile to the wilderness boundary in order to speed up access to the high peaks. Campfires are prohibited at both lakes, and campsites are sparse along the steep shores of Sawtooth Lake, limited primarily to the north and south shores.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

  • Iron Creek Trailhead to Alpine Lake: 3.9 miles, 1,173 feet
  • Iron Creek Trailhead to Sawtooth Lake: 4.8 miles, 1,730 feet

Additional Adventures:

The trail at Sawtooth Lake splits and continues over two separate divides. The western trail traverses to a divide with Stanley Lake Creek and drops onto the McGown Lakes. The subtle saddle to the south of Sawtooth Lake drops into the North Fork of Baron Creek.

Wilderness Regulations

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 Sawtooth 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 + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(89 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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