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
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.
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.
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