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Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide

Sawtooth Wilderness

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide

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  • Potential climbing on the north buttress of Peak 9,266.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Trailside view up the Middle Fork of the Boise river not far upstream from the Rock Creek junction.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • The view down the Middle Fork of the Boise River with the jagged Peaks 9,635 (left) and 9,266 (right).- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Wildflowers choke a steep creek that crosses the trail at 7,000 feet.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • The upper Middle Fork is a beautiful U-shaped valley with several large, open meadows.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Mattingly Peak towers over the view down the canyon from 7,400 feet.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • A few campsites can be found along flatter sections of the creek above 7,400 feet.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Middle Fork of the Boise River crossing.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Trailsign to the Flytrip Basin.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Above the Flytrip Basin, the trail makes many switchbacks to gain elevation and cross the fledgling Middle Fork of the Boise River a time or two.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Cruising the trail below the impressive zebra-striped wall.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Zebra-striped wall deep in the Sawtooths.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • The headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Boise River from across the valley. The zebra-striped wall can be seen in the middle left of the photo.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Another creek crossing high up the Middle Fork of the Boise River.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Trail sign at the junction on the south shore of Spangle Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • The blue waters of Spangle Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Hiking above Spangle Lake for a quick jaunt to Ingleborg.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Looking down onto Spangle Lake with Glenns Peak in the background.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Inglebork Lake sign.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • A great swimming/cliff jumping opportunity from the peninsula jutting into Ingleborg Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Scarlet painbrush and Rydberg's penstemon decorate the north shore of Ingleborg Lake near the Inglebord Divide.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Back at the junction on the south shore of Spangle Lake.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Descending the north side of the Inglebord Divide into the Ardeth Lake Basin.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
  • Looking north from the Inglebord Divide.- Middle Fork of the Boise River, Spangle Lake/Divide + Ingleborg Lake/Divide
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Big canyon. Remote. Alpine lakes. Easy peak climbs.
Cons: 
Trailhead is remote. Mosquitos. Long hike.
Alerts: 
There are five creek crossings above Mattingly Creek, the first three of which can be tricky at higher flows.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,778.00 ft (1,151.53 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
30.00 mi (48.28 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,220.00 ft (1,591.06 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The trail to Spangle Lake climbs up the Middle Fork of the Boise more than 10 miles from the Mattingly Junction.  Check out that adventure for an overview of the M.F. Boise canyon or the Atlanta overview for more general info about the greater region.

Spangle and Ingleborg Lakes and Divides

The middle canyon between Mattingly Creek and Rock Creek traverses through sparse forest on a series of connected alluvial fans that have accumulated on the valley floor beneath Peak 9,266. Depending on how far you have traveled, hiking this section can feel a bit like riding a slow-moving conveyor belt through the somewhat monotonous canyon landscape.

The upper Middle Fork to Spangle and Ingleborg Lakes, however, is a spectacular canyon. There is a lot of variety as the trail skips back and forth between the sunny and shady side of the drainage. There are also some great views into the north side of Mattingly Peak. The final climb to Spangle Lake up a lightly-treed bedrock ridge is definitely a candidate for one of the prettier walks in the wilderness. Gurgling creeks, colorful wildflowers, and a beautiful zebra-striped wall await discovery.

Spangle and Little Spangle lakes are like a pair of mismatched twins. The larger of the two fills a deep granite bowl, but it has a boring, roundish shape. Little Spangle is quite shallow, but it has a beautifully convoluted shoreline with grassy coves for camping among exposed bedrock knobs. 

Higher up, Ingleborg Lake occupies a divide so subtle it is difficult to tell whether its waters flow south into the Middle Fork of the Boise River or north into the South Fork of the Payette River. Though the lake is actually part of the Middle Fork drainage, some of its water undoubtedly seeps through cracks and emerges as springs in the upper South Fork/Benedict Lake basin. The peninsula on the east side of the lake has a wonderful 10 to 15-foot cliff that is perfect for jumping into the refreshing alpine waters.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

• From the Powerplant Trailhead to Spangle Lake: 14.9 miles, 3,778 feet
• From the Powerplant to Spangle Divide: 15.7 miles, 4,129 feet
• From the Powerplant to Ingleborg Lake/Divide: 16.3 miles, 4,132 feet

Snow can cover sections of Sawtooth trails and high mountain passes until early July in a big snow year.

Technical Climbing

The north side of the Mattingly massif contains some of the most rugged terrain in the Sawtooths. The underlying rock is Idaho Batholith, so the prospect of quality rock is dubious. There are, however, several impressive faces and ridges that certainly have the potential to offer a technical challenge. There are also several steep couloirs that should hold potential snow and ice climbs early in the spring and early summer.

Additional Adventures

The upper Middle Fork Trail connects over the Spangle Divide to Ardeth Lake and over Ingleborg Divide to Rock Slide Lake.  Both are located in tributaries of the South Fork of the Payette River.  The Taylor Springs adventure is the jumping off point for all S.F. Payette trails.

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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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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