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Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake

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  • Huge glacially carved walls flank the entrance to the Leggit Creek Valley.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Wildflowers decorate the lush openings along the Leggit Lake Trail.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • There are ample opportunities to access Leggit Creek for photography, or simply to soak your face.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Slender cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis).- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • False hellebore or Corn lily (Veratrum californicum).- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • The trail to Leggit Lake offers one of the most stunning flower displays in the entire Sawtooth range.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Looking down the long 4.5-mile, glacially carved, U-shaped Leggit Creek Valley from the lip of the Leggit Lake Basin.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Moss on a log at Leggit Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Summit Phone on Peak 9,694 above Leggit Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • The view south from Peak 9,694 above Leggit Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Looking down onto Leggit Lake from Peak 9,694.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • More wildflowers in fire scars from the Trail Creek fire in 2000.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Leggit Lake from the south shore.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
  • Leggit Creek tumbles over bedrock on its journey to the Middle Fork of the Boise River.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Leggit Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers. Glacial, U-shaped canyon. Open to mountain bikes. Canyon views.
Cons: 
Long day hike. Steep trail.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,300.00 ft (1,005.84 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
16.60 mi (26.72 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,220.00 ft (1,591.06 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Leggit Lake is accessed off of the Middle Fork of the Boise River trail upstream from the Powerplant Campground near Atlanta.   For a brief overview of the Middle Fork canyon check out the Powerplant to Mattingly Junction adventure. or the Atlanta overview for more general info about the greater region.

Leggit Lake

Leggit Lake occupies the very southern tip of the Sawtooth Wilderness. Miners exploring the Basin Claims on the east side of the canyon built a road into Leggit Creek sometime before 1964 when it first shows up on the Sawtooth Forest maps. Mining surveys in 1970 report the road as being virtually impassable. Over time, a trail to Leggit Lake was established as hikers explored the canyon beyond the end of the old mining road.

At the mouth of the canyon, a large buttress is reminiscent of Yosemite’s El Capitan in the way it soars vertically above the valley floor. The lower half of the canyon is carpeted with thick forest, while the upper half crosses through several open, sloping meadows and is arguably the best wildflower hike in the entire range. The lake occupies a small hanging basin ringed by steep but attainable ridgelines. The view down canyon from the lip of the upper basin is outstanding. The 16-mile out-and-back is a challenging day hike, but so is hauling food and gear for a multi-day backpack to the end of the canyon.

Basin Claims Road

Though the junction with the Basin Claims road has been obliterated by blowouts from above, it is still plainly visible in Google Earth. After crossing the drainage beneath the mines, bushwhack uphill in order to find the switchbacks and climb into the basin above.

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.

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Field Guide

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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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