Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide

Sawtooth Mountains

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide

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  • A view of the snowbound peaks above Kelly and Martin lakes from low on the Trapp Creek Trail.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Northern anemone.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Sitka valerian.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • There are a few openings that provide nice views along the Trapp Creek Trail.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Nice bridges span the creek crossings toward the head of Trapp Creek canyon.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Trail sign at the junction just before Marten Lake.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Trail sign at the junction just before Marten Lake.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Marten Lake in early July.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Kelly Lake in late July.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Kelly Lake in late July.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
  • Marten Lake in late July.- Marten + Kelly Lake, Bench Creek Divide
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Relatively short hike. Good option for early season. Good mountain bike ride. Family friendly.
Cons: 
Open to motorcycles. Mosquitos. Lakes aren't incredibly scenic.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
693.00 ft (211.23 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,863.00 ft (2,091.84 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Marten and Kelly lakes lie at the head of Trap Creek in the northern tip of the Sawtooths. The trail out to the canyon is a nice early-season hike when the higher-elevation trails are buried under snow. This relatively easy climb to Marten or Kelly lakes is a great option for kids on their first overnight trip. Though not as dramatic as other high alpine lakes, both are backed by steep headwall cirques that drop from the main divide.  

The trail to the Bench Creek Divide is steep and rutted, especially if you are on riding a mountain bike.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

• From Trap Creek Trailhead to Marten: 3.9 miles, 639 feet.
• From Trap Creek Trailhead to Kelly: 4.6 miles, 993 feet.
• From Trap Creek Trailhead to the Bench Creek Divide: 4.9 miles, 1,212 feet.

Additional Adventures

Near the head of Trap Creek is a four-way junction. The northern branch traverses into and down the Swamp Creek drainage. The western branch climbs to the Bench Divide and drops down Bench Creek. The southern branch leads past Marten, Kelly, and over a divide to Elizabeth Lake in the Elk Creek drainage.

Mountain Biking

This trail offers a relatively smooth and pleasant ride, a rarity in the Sawtooths. Other than the final steep climb to Marten Lake, it is rideable for mid-level bikers. The there-and-back ride is the least technical option, but it is possible to traverse north to Swamp Creek, ride south to Elizabeth Lake and down a steep technical descent to Elk Meadow. Alternately, you can hike-a-bike to the Bench Divide and descend the Bench Creek Trail to Highway 21 and Bull Trout Road.

Off-Trail Hiking

The surrounding ridges are mellow, and it is a relatively easy to scramble to Peak 9,330 or Point 9,005 for views of the greater range to the south.

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.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring the Sawtooths - A Comprehensive Guide by Idaho River Publications.

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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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