Edith Lake occupies a small hanging basin above the Yellow Belly Lake drainage, which can be accessed by two separate trailheads. See the Farley Lake adventure for more details about access to the canyon. Toxaway Lake is also nearby and is often incorporated into the hiking itinerary of those visiting Edith Lake.
Edith Lake is perched in a hanging basin at 8,700 feet below Imogene Pass. It is a worthy destination in its own right, or a great stop-over on a longer backpacking trip through the Sawtooths. The trail to the lake climbs across some beautifully sculpted granite as it weaves through pockets of forest and over the bedrock ribs that stand proud in this geologically jointed terrain. Campers based at Toxaway Lake can day hike to Sand Mountain Pass, around to Edith Lake, and down to the Toxaway trail for a 6.1-mile loop with 1,468 feet of climbing. It is also a great day hike for backpackers using Farley Lake as a basecamp.
Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Farley Lake: 4.9 miles, 1,247 feet.
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Edith Lake: 7.3 miles, 1,842 feet.
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Imogene Divide: 8.3 miles, 2,778 feet.
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Sand Mountain Pass: 9 miles, 2,943 feet.
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Toxaway Lake: 7.8 miles, 1,842 feet.
About 400 feet above Edith Lake the trail splits to climb over two separate divides. To the north, several tight switchbacks climb a narrow ribbon of trees in the middle of a steep talus slope to reach the Imogene Divide. From here another steep and heavily switchbacked descent leads to Imogene and Hell Roaring Lakes.
To the south, the trail wanders up a broad north-facing ridge before making a narrow and somewhat airy descent to a divide with the South Fork of the Payette River. There is a large northeast-trending zone of enriched mineral deposits at the divide. The color and consistency of this zone tends to be reddish with more granulated and un-cohesive crystals, resulting in the name “Sand Mountain Pass.” From here backpackers can link to Virgina or Hidden Lakes.
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 6-8 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.
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.