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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.