Farley Lake

Sawtooth Wilderness

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Farley Lake


  • The Tin Cup Trailhead is located at the base of the peninsula on the left side of Petit Lake. The trail to Farley Lake climbs over the glacial moraine on the left side of the photo and drops into the Toxaway/Farley canyon.- Farley Lake
  • An alternative approach to Farley Lake is to hike up the Yellow Belly outlet along the right shore of the lake, past McDonald and through the thick forest to Farley Lake.- Farley Lake
  • Looking north across Farley Lake to Imogene Peak.- Farley Lake
  • A view south across Farley Lake to Parks Peak.- Farley Lake
  • Farley Lake's steep and convoluted shoreline has a dearth of campsites, but it offers some stunning views and access to the nearby peaks.- Farley Lake
  • Trailhead kiosk at the Tin Cup Hikers Trailhead.- Farley Lake
  • Fall colors along the trail to Yellow Belly Lake.- Farley Lake
  • You can ride your mountain bike approximately 2 miles to the wilderness boundary. This is useful if your objective is one of the surrounding peaks, but less so if you are hauling a heavy overnight backpack.- Farley Lake
  • Fall color along the trail.- Farley Lake
  • Surrounding Petit and Yellow Belly Lakes, the forest consists of lodgepole pine. As you climb higher, large Douglas fir trees enter the mix before transitioning into sparcer, high alpine species around Farley Lake.- Farley Lake
Overview + Weather
Beautiful lake. Moderate hike. Can be looped. Peak accessible.
Popular region. Limited campsites. Mosquitos.
Snow can cover sections of Sawtooth trails and high mountain passes until early July in a big snow year.
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,247.00 ft (380.09 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
4.90 mi (7.89 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,220.00 ft (2,200.66 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description


Farley Lake can be accessed from either the Pettit Lake (Tin Cup) or Yellow Belly Lake Trailheads. The lake is a great stand alone adventure and within striking distance for young children. It is often visited as part of the popular backpacking loop that heads up the Yellow Belly drainage and down Pettit drainage (see Additional Adventures below)

Farley Lake

Farley Lake is contained in an irregularly shaped bedrock basin at the narrowest point of the Yellow Belly drainage. The south face of Imogene Peak climbs above the lake for more than 2,200 feet. The steep talus cone rising from the south shore connects to a narrow couloir that cleaves the impressive 2,300-foot north face of Parks Peak. The shoreline surrounding Farley Lake is limited in campsites, but the scenery and location are divine.

The hike to the lake is through a thick and somewhat tedious lodgepole forest for the first 4 miles. Hikers are rewarded, however, with the stunning waterfall that cascades down a bedrock slot shortly before reaching the lake. 

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:
• From the Yellow Belly Trailhead to Farley Lake: 5 miles, 928 feet.
• From the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead to Farley Lake: 4.9 miles, 1247 feet.
• The popular Farley-Toxaway-Twin-Alice Loop out of Pettit Lake: 18 miles, 3,169 feet.

Additional Adventures

Above Farley Lake the trail leads into two separate alpine lake basins that connect deeper into the Sawtooths. From Edith Lake it is possible to climb over the Imogene Divide to Imogene and Hell Roaring Lakes. A spur from here also connects over Sand Mountain Pass into the South Fork of the Payette River (see Virginia Lake or Hidden Lake).  From Toxaway Lake the main trail climbs over the divide to Twin and Alice Lakes. A popular loop connects Farley with the latter two for a popular backpacking loop out of the Pettit/Tin Cup Trailhead (18 miles and 3,169 feet total).

Mountain Biking

For day hikers or peak-baggers, mountain bikes can be ridden about 2 miles up the canyon to the wilderness boundary.

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 that is 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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(86 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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