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Cramer Lakes + Divide

Sawtooth Wilderness

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Cramer Lakes + Divide

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  • One of the first majestic views from the trail.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Looking down the classic U-shaped valley of Redfish Lake Creek Canyon that shows much of the terrain covered in the first 4 miles of the hike to Cramer Lakes.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Trail sign at Flatrock Junction.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Looking down canyon at the Thunder Wall from an brief opening along the Cramer Lakes Trail.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Looking across the upper Cramer Lake into the headwaters of Redfish Lake Creek.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • A stunning waterfall connects the upper and middle Cramer Lakes.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • A few small, unnamed lakes dot the alpine basin above Cramer Lakes.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Looking down the Redfish Lake Creek/Cramer Lakes basin from about 9,000 feet.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Clouds, shade, and serrated towers flank The Temple at the head of the Cramer Lakes Canyon.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Looking across the north face of The Temple at the headwaters of the Cramer Lake basin.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • The granite spires of The Temple tower over the switchbacks that lead to the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • A Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) sits in the top of a white bark pine (Pinus albicaulis). The bird builds huge food caches of tree seeds; excess seeds germinate and create new habitat.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Weather-worn sign at the top of the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • The towering northwest face of Mount Cramer, which holds a few multi-pitch technical climbing routes and potential for much more.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • The ridgeline heading north from the Cramer Divide has many good bivvy sites and offers spectacular evening views in nearly all directions.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Hidden Lake from the west side of the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Decker Peak to the Arrowhead seen from near the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • The west face of Mount Sevy and the Arrowhead lit up by the afternoon sun.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • From left to right: Sevy Peak, The Arrowhead, Peak 10,579 (Dave's Peak), and Mount Cramer.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Northwest face of Mount Cramer.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Evening camp on the ridge north of the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • The north face of Payette Peak with a ribbon of snow in mid-August.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Sunset.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Stars streaking overhead from the bivvy camp near the cramer divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Morning camp near the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Sunrise looking south from near the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
  • Payette Peak and an unnamed lake from near the Cramer Divide.- Cramer Lakes + Divide
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning alpine basin. Relative solitude. Waterfall. Glacial geology.
Cons: 
High use trail. Mosquitos. Boat shuttle fee.
Alerts: 
There is no bridge across Redfish Lake Creek, so the crossing can be dangerous during the runoff.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,020.00 ft (615.70 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
15.20 mi (24.46 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,570.00 ft (2,002.54 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

In just a little under 10 minutes, the shuttle boat across Redfish Lake deposits hikers at the south end of Redfish Lake and the beginning of a spectacular alpine canyon. Trails from the boat dock lead up Redfish Canyon and along both sides of the lake to several shorter adventures including some great destinations along Redfish Lake Canyon. Longer hikes up the canyon are described individually to Saddleback Lake, and Alpine Lake + Baron Divide. Cramer Lakes and Cramer Divide are located at the head of the canyon and are the final destination in this massive, glacially carved U-shaped canyon.    

Because of the longer distance and earlier attractions that siphon hikers off from the main trail, the Cramer Lakes see less day-hiking traffic. Though understandable, this is unfortunate, since the lakes and surrounding basin are arguably some of the most spectacular in the Sawtooths. The trail up Redfish Canyon follows a consistent and reasonable grade, making it possible for fit hikers to make the 16-mile round trip within the time frame between the morning and afternoon boat shuttles across Redfish Lake.

Backpackers visit the area more frequently on overnight trips or as part of longer point-to-point routes. Taking the extra time to enjoy the waterfall between Upper and Middle Cramer lakes or to watch the sun set on the impressive phalanx of towers and walls dropping from Mount Cramer, Peak 10,579, and Sevy Peak is the best way to enjoy this incredible location. The excessively switchbacked trail to the Cramer Divide and South Fork of the Payette offers outstanding views and allows for the possibility of several different multi-day routes throughout the range.

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 Trailhead to Cramer Lakes: 7.6 miles, 2020 feet
• From the Redfish Inlet Trailhead to Cramer Divide: 9.6 miles, 3065 feet

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 and well disguised in a cat hole 6 to 8 inches deep. 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.

Technical Climbing

If the Elephants Perch, Baron spire, and Warbonnet regions did not siphon off the climbers lower in the drainage, there would undoubtedly be a great concentration of climbs in the Cramer Lakes Cirque. The west face of Mount Cramer has seen a few ascents and other potential lines await future exploration.

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)

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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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