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Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho

01.11.18

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Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho

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  • The Pioneer Yurt at night with the sauna on the far right.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Skinning up the flank of Elk Lips near the Pioneer Yurt, a top run in the area.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Skiing down a mellow descent near Pioneer Yurt with Old Hyndman and Cobb Peaks in the background.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Testing the local powder near Pioneer Yurt.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Skinning up for a morning lap near Pioneer Yurt.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • The Pioneer Yurt with the majestic Hyndman Peak in the background.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • The group breaks a fresh trail into the Marshall Lakes Basin just an hour and a half from the the Williams Peak Hut.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • A skier finds his just desserts on the shadow line near the Williams Peak Hut.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Ascending the south face of Williams Peak near the hut. The spires and couloirs of the east ridge of Thompson Peak punctuate the sky above a frozen Profile Lake.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Skiing the south face of Williams Peak (10,635 ft) in mid-winter corn conditions near the Williams Peak Hut.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Sunrise relfected in an opening in Fishook Creek near the Fishhook Yurt.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Sunrise on Horstman Peak near Fishhook Yurt. The narrow couloir in the left of the photo is the Sickle Couloir.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • A tiny skier makes a turn in the lower half of the Sickle Couloir near Fishhook Yurt. Ski tracks on the apron of the Sickle Couloir.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Inside the Williams Peak Hut in the Sawtooth Mountains.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Stunning fall colors on the flanks of Cobb Peak at the juncion of Big Basin/Hyndman Basin. Jacqueline Peak (center, 11,027 ft) and McIntyre Peak (left, 11,210 ft) tower above.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • It's a long and gradual climb to the top end of Hyndman Basin.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Redfish Lake dock.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Looking down the classic U-shaped valley of Redfish Lake Creek Canyon.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Another view of the granite spires that make up Mount Heyburn from the southeast shore of the 3rd Bench Lake.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • A paved path along the highway leads to the river's edge where the hot water mixes in at Sunbeam Hot Springs.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Near Sunbeam Hot Springs, the spectacular Salmon River on the edge of the River of No Return Wilderness.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Horstman Peak towers above Fishook Creek.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • Morning sun filters into the Fishook drainage from the east.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
  • The primary destination up Fishook Creek is this beaver dam near the wilderness boundary that forms a beautiful reflecting pond for the high peaks further up the canyon.- Winter Retreat to Stanley, Idaho
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Contributor

The Sawtooth Mountains are a world-renowned mountain range best known for summer hikes to alpine lakes and rugged peaks, and like many mountain towns in the U.S., the visitors abandon Stanley, Idaho when the winter winds begin to blow. But if you’re reading here at Outdoor Project, winter may be when you decide to tune in.

It’s true, Stanley does quiet down during the winter, but that doesn’t mean the little town at the heart of the Sawtooths is at a want for outdoor adventure. The snow that blankets the mountains is an opportunity to enjoy these peaks and valleys from a different perspective—alpine lakes frozen over for the intrepid snowshoer to find under snowcapped peaks whose slopes and couloirs are measured for powder in inches per person.

Rent a room at the Mountain Village Resort, Redfish Lake Lodge, or at one of Stanley’s log cabin lodgings, and suit up for one of these backcountry adventures.

Backcountry Skiing

Williams Peak Hut: Booked a year in advance, but arguably the most prime backcountry skiing in the Sawtooths.
 

Fishhook Yurt: 3.9-mile skin up avalanche-proof and mellow Redfish Lake Road.
 

Pioneer Yurt: A remote and hidden yurt below Hyndman Peak with a tow-in option.

Cross-country skiing

Alturas Lake: south of Stanley along Highway 75, the ski area features nearly 10 miles of groomed cross-country trails

Park Creek: north of Stanley, Park Creek also features more than 5 miles of groomed trails

Snowshoe Hikes

When the winter comes, the trails in the Sawtooths earn a winter coat and beckon the snowshoer to climb into the mountains. While not built with the snowshoer in mind, these trails should be able to provide the kind of terrain suitable for snowshoes.

Fishhook Creek: A short and level snowshoe to a meadow overlooked by the spectacular Hortsman Peak.
 

Hyndman Creek + Hyndman Basin Hike: Connects to the Pioneer Yurt, base of operations for backcountry skiing in the area.
 

Redfish Lake Canyon: Redfish Lake freezes over in the winter, and Redfish Lake Canyon promises spectacular mountain vistas. Plus, the roads aren't plowed, meaning snowshoers get extra miles to hike in.
 

Bench Lakes: Offers the Bench Lakes Yurt in winter, which are rentable and operated by Sun Valley Trekking.

Hot Springs

Sunbeam Hot Springs: The most popular of a string of hot springs along Highway 75.

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