Share:

Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake

Hells Canyon + Seven Devils Mountains, Idaho

Start Exploring
Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake

Share:

Advertisement
  • Looking north to Dry Diggins Lookout from the start of the trail from Windy Saddle.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • The trail into the Seven Devils passes through a burn area carpeted by wildflowers.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • The trail crosses clear glacial runoff from the mountains at the foot of an unnamed waterfall.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • A mule deer wanders along the an open meadow at Lily Pad Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • Basin Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • He Devil looms above Gem Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • Gem Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • He Devil (right) and She Devil (left) from the ridge above Sheep Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • Sheep Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • - Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • - Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • A backcountry campsite at Gem Lake.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • A mountain goat looks down from the rocks above camp.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
  • A mountain goat looks down from the rocks above camp.- Seven Devils: Windy Saddle to Sheep Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude. Mountain scenery. Wildlife. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
Rough road to trailhead. Blow downs on the trail.
Advertisement
Region:
Hells Canyon + Seven Devils Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,690.00 ft (515.11 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,590.00 ft (2,313.43 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

He Devil and She Devil are the two highest points in the Seven Devils Mountains, standing at over 9,400 feet. Sheep Lake, the final destination of this trip, sits at the base of the two mountains, and it is one of the larger alpine lakes in these mountains and very nicely isolated. Although just a short linear distance from the Windy Saddle Trailhead, the hike is 9 miles to reach the lake, descending and climbing back out of two drainages to get there. Note that there is a high route to the lake, but the trail is not maintained and has notable exposure in places.

The trail to Sheep Lake via Windy Saddle is an impressive journey through a recent burn area turned wildflower spectacle, into pine and alpine fir forest, and up through pristine alpine lakes. The numerous peaks and precipices of the Seven Devils Mountains tower above and fall below, forming the high points of the deepest canyon in North America. Hells Canyon is only visible from the start of the trail or by taking the junction trail to Dry Diggins Lookout from Lily Pond Lake.

The Seven Devils are remote and take a concerted effort to access, but those who make the trip up the rough gravel road to Windy Saddle and depart down the Sheep Lake Trail will be rewarded with a remarkable wilderness area. Mountain goats, pika, marmots and mule deer are common here. The mountain lakes are well stocked with trout, so consider bringing a fishing rod along with you. It's more than likely you will have a backcountry campsite on a lake in the mountains all to yourself, or you may even have the whole mountain range to yourself if you're lucky. There is nothing diabolical about this amazing place, and the origins of the name are unclear.

From the trailhead at Windy Saddle, the trail descends through the first drainage and through the 2008 burn area. Here you will have to navigate frequent blow downs and carefully pick your way through the wildflowers that flank the trail. After this section the trail enters the next larger drainage flowing off Sheep Lake and making up the West Fork Sheep Creek at the foot of Devils Tooth. At the creek crossing, numerous downed trees offer a bridge across the water, and a beautiful waterfall makes for a nice spot to rest. The trail climbs out of this drainage and up to Lily Pad Lake, where there is a junction for the trail along Dry Diggins Ridge to the Dry Diggins Lookout. Take a left at the junction to continue into the lakes basin on the way to Sheep Lake. There are great backcountry campsites at the lakes, and spur trails go from the main trail to Shelf Lake and up to Gem Lake. That being said, this is a pristine area, so make an effort to camp away from the lake shore and in already impacted areas, and pack out all that you pack in.

Camping is available at the trailhead and just down the road at Seven Devils Campground, and visitors should take the opportunity to visit the Heavens Gate Lookout on the way in or back out. There are no fees or permits needed to access this area. The trailhead is open once the snows melt in late June until the snows return in October or November.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
61 Members
Who's Done It
5 Members
Submission by
Team
216 Adventures Explored
74 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info