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Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes

Sawtooth Mountains

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes

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  • Redfish Lake sunrise. The ride circumnavigates this 5-mile long moraine-bound lake.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Though the Grand Mogul Trail is in trees for most of the route, there are a few nice views of the surrounding peaks.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Trail sign at the junction with the Redfish Ridge Trail.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • A weathered old trail sign.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • The trail has sections of ridge-top riding.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • A veiw of Thompson Peak, the highest in the range.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • West face of Williams Peak with a spring cover of snow.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • The trail opens into a few meadows near the junction with Bull Moose Creek.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Trail sign at the junction of the Alpine Way and Grand Mogul Trail.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Looking onto Redfish Lake from the Alpine Way and Grand Mogul Trail.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • There are many wooden bridges that span a multitude of springs along the southeast shore or Redfish Lake.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Bridge along the west shore of Redfish Lake.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Bridge over Redfish Lake Creek before it enters the Redfish Inlet Campground.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Information signs at the trailhead.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • The north face of the Grand Mogul. The couloir splitting the face is called the "Boy Scout Couloir."- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • From the Redfish Inlet, the trail climbs above the lake and provides stunning views before it intersects the Bench Lakes Trail and northern moraine ridge.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Junction with the spur to Bench Lakes.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Douglas fir bark and lichen detail.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • The Fishook Creek Trail passes through a small grove of aspens just a short way up the trail.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
  • Just before the end of the ride at the Fishook Trailhead a short spur trail leads down to Fishook Creek and this old bridge.- Redfish Lake Loop, Grand Mogul Trail to Bench Lakes
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great loop. Nice views. Early season hiking and biking. Multiple options for recreation.
Cons: 
Riding is technical. Return leg can be crowded.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,963.00 ft (598.32 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Trail difficulty: 
Blue
Total Distance: 
13.20 mi (21.24 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,590.00 ft (2,008.63 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Redfish Lake and the region around Redfish Lodge are extensively developed with five campgrounds, day use picnic areas, public beaches, boat docks and rentals, a restaurant, and cabin rentals. Though the official “trailhead” leaves the Sockeye Campground, it is possible to start the ride directly from any campground or other trailhead parking area.

Grand Mogul Trail

The Grand Mogul Trail climbs out of the Sockeye Campground on the east side of Redfish Lake. It follows the crest of the eastern lateral moraine bounding Redfish Lake and offers a lesser-traveled route to the boat dock on the southwest end of Redfish Lake. 

Hikers will enjoy the pleasant walk along the moraine crest through a Doug fir forest that offers nice views of the White Clouds, Thompson Peak, and the Grand Mogul massifs. While the final mile along the south shore can be affected by the noise of motorboats and recreational traffic on the lake, it has a mysterious old-growth feel (see Redfish Inlet Hikes). 

At the junction above the southeast corner of Redfish Lake hikers are presented with the option to continue up a broad ridge toward Old Decker Peak on the Alpine Way Trail (closed to mountain bikes because of wilderness restrictions) to lengthen the hike or simply drop down the switchbacks to the inlet boat dock. From here you can catch a shuttle back to Redfish Lodge or circumnavigate the lake by returning on the Bench Lakes Trail (see description below).

Mountain Biking – Redfish Lake Loop

As a mountain bike ride, the Grand Mogul Trail (Sockeye to Redfish Inlet) is a nice mix of moderately technical rock dodging, short spurts of smooth singletrack, and some great, narrow ridge riding. The section along the south shore of Redfish Lake involves a handful of very technical terrain that involves boulders, tree roots, and creek crossings. 

The return leg via the Bench Lakes Trail involves a steady climb to the west moraine and then some fast cruising along the flat ridge. The switchbacks dropping to Fishook Creek are extremely rocky because of heavy use as the main half-day trail ride from the Redfish Corrals to Bench Lakes. The ride is moderately technical with lots of boulders (it’s a glacial moraine), but the overall experience of circumnavigating Redfish Lake is awesome.

Another option is for mountain bikers to descend the Redfish Ridge (Trail #400, 2.2 miles from Sockeye) and loop back to the lodge via the Decker Flat Road (#210) for a 16.2-mile loop that climbs 1,758-feet.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

• From Sockeye Campground to Redfish Inlet: 6.2 miles, 1,060 feet.
• From Sockeye Campground to Redfish Lodge: 13.2 miles, 1,963 feet.

Additional Adventures

The circumnavigation of Redfish combines several different trails. There are several short hikes around the Redfish Inlet and additional adventures up the Redfish Lake Creek Canyon (no bikes). The Bench Lakes (no bikes) and Fishook Creek trails offer additional adventures.

Wilderness Regulations

Though this loop is entirely outside the wilderness boundary, access to the wilderness is very close.  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 6-8 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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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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