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Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide

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  • Burned (in 1994) but still majestic Douglas fir trees.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Sign at the junction of Johnson Creek and the Pats Lake Trail.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • The trial from Johnson Lake to Pats Lake was badly burned in the Rabbit Creek fire in 1994. It is now a beautiful riot of colorful shrubs, flowers, and young evergreen trees.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Artistic fire scars.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Pearly-everlasting (Anaphalis morgaritacea).- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) grows along the creek that drains Pats Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Grouse whortleberry (Vaccinium scoparium) are a tasty treat found throughout the Sawtooths in late summer.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Colorful shrubs start to change color in September.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • The outlet of Pats Lake with the west ridge of Anderson Peak in the background.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Sunset through skeleton trees from Pats Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Sunset over Pats Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) grows in the scar from the 1994 Rabbit Creek Fire.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking onto Pats Lake and the Rabbit Creek Fire scar.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • The Rakers just over the top of Blacknose Mountain and Arrowhead Lake. This view is from the summit of Anderson Peak.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Southwest face of the North Raker presents an imposing granite arete.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Memorial Plaque to Arval Anderson, who surveyed the first Sawtooth National Forest map in 1927.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking across Azure Lake down Johnson Creek.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • The island in Rock Island Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Rock Island Lake from a nearby peak.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking across the hanging lip of Azure Lake basin onto the Pats Lake drainage.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Johnson Creek was heavily burned during the 1994 Rabbit Creek Fire.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Azure Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Azure Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Wildflower and fire scar.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Curved-beak lousewort (Pedicularis contorta) grows in moist mountainous habitat. Flowers grow off a reddish stalk up to 40 centimeters tall. Basal leaves are deeply toothed and are more typically white.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Cutthroat trout caught in Pats Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking down onto Pats Lake from the trail to Arrowhead Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Nice cliff jumping rock in Arrowhead Lake.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • The trail from Arrowhead to the Queens River Divide.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking down onto Arrowhead Lake from near the Queens River Divide.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
  • Looking across Arrowhead Lake to Anderson Peak from above the Queens River Divide.- Pats Lake, Arrowhead Lake, + Queens River Divide
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fire recovery and ecology. Wildflowers. Beautiful lakes. Remote.
Cons: 
More than 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Mosquitos. Burned area.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
4,846.00 ft (1,477.06 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
29.20 mi (46.99 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,210.00 ft (1,588.01 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Pats and Arrowhead lakes occupy one of two cirques at the head of Johnson Creek. The mileages given are from the Little Queens Trailhead. The lakes, however, can be reached in nearly the same distance but with less vertical climbing from the Queens River drainage. To access from the Queens River drainage, check out the Lake 8,696 adventure. If you want to come in via Little Queens River, check out the Scenic Lake, Browns Lake, and Johnson Lake adventures that are located further down the Little Queens River Canyon. Note that the Queens and Little Queens drainages burned significantly in 2013.  Expect to encounter charred forest, downed trees, altered description, and other effects from the fire.

Pats and Arrowhead Lakes

Pats and Arrowhead Lakes fill two hanging basins in the northernmost cirque of the Johnson Creek headwaters. The steep walls of Blacknose Mountain and Anderson Peak hem in these emerald gems. Much of this basin burned in the Rabbit Creek fire in 1994. The climb up to Pats through a riot of flowers and shrubs crowding several springs is a very pretty section of the trail.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

• From Little Queens to Pats Lake: 14.6 miles, 4,846 feet.
• From Little Queens River to Scenic Lake: 9.6 miles, 3,423 feet.
• From Little Queens River to Browns Lake: 9.2 miles, 3,220 feet.
• From Little Queens River to Johnson Lake: 10.5 miles, 3,450 feet.
• From Queens River to Pats Lake: 15 miles, 4,294 feet.
• Queens River Loop : Queens River to Johnson Creek to Little Queens River: 29.8 miles, 5,930 feet.

Additional Adventures

From Pats Lake and Arrowhead Lake, it is possible to climb over the Queens River Divide to Lake 8,696 and then over the Everly Divide into the South Fork of the Payette River to Everly + Plummer Lakes.  This can be done as a day hike, or part of a longer, more extensive backpack route.

Off-Trail Hiking

Anderson Peak and Blacknose Mountain can both be summited via moderate Class 3 routes with some steep exposure on one side of each ridge. Anderson can be included as part of a ridgeline loop from Pats Lake by either its Class 4 west ridge or the Class 2 south ridge. Both Smokey Peak and Edaho Mountain can be reached by traversing nearly 3 miles of undulating ridgeline, the latter route being more difficult due to a raised dike halfway to the summit.

Anderson Peak is unofficially named after Arval Anderson, who spent the summer and fall of 1927 mapping the western half of the Sawtooths with his wife Maysal, younger brother Joel, and packer Hank Holverson. Anderson was one of his favorite triangulation stations, and it offers an outstanding 360-degree view from the summit.  A granite plaque commemorating Anderson is found on the summit

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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