You are here

Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,730.00 ft (527.30 m)
Trail type
9.60 mi (15.45 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The close proximity to Stanley, relatively short hiking distance, and stunning views along much of the trail makes this one of the most popular destinations in the range. Alpine Lake is nestled into a beautiful glaciated bowl. Hikers cresting the Sawtooth Lake basin 600 feet higher are treated to the awesome view Mount Regan towering over the largest alpine lake in the Sawtooths. This makes a great day hike, overnight, or leg of a longer backpacking loop out of Stanley Lake.

Mountain bikes can be ridden the first mile to the wilderness boundary in order to speed up access to the high peaks. Campfires are prohibited at both lakes, and campsites are sparse along the steep shores of Sawtooth Lake, limited primarily to the north and south shores.

Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:

  • Iron Creek Trailhead to Alpine Lake: 3.9 miles, 1,173 feet
  • Iron Creek Trailhead to Sawtooth Lake: 4.8 miles, 1,730 feet

Additional Adventures:

The trail at Sawtooth Lake splits and continues over two separate divides. The western trail traverses to a divide with Stanley Lake Creek and drops onto the McGown Lakes. The subtle saddle to the south of Sawtooth Lake drops into the North Fork of Baron Creek.

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 in a cat hole 6-8 inches deep, buried and well disguised.  Pack out all toilet paper.
• No campfires allowed at Alpine or Sawtooth Lakes.
• Permits required for all stock use in the wilderness.  No grazing allowed in the Salmon River watershed (this included the Alpine Lake drainage).
• No equine stock at Edith Lake.  ALL stock prohibited in the Goat Creek and Alpine Creek (Alturas Lake) drainages.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Relatively short hike to lakes. Awesome views.


Can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

6,710.00 ft (2,045.21 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Suitable for




There is a natural hot springs soak off this trail. Does anyone know directions to it? It's known as Iron Horse Hot Springs.
Did this hike over the 4th of July weekend. It was pretty crowded, but folks spread out across the trail and the views were incredible. There was still a bit of snow at Sawtooth Lake, but there was enough room to camp.
Sawtooth Lake has always been one of my favorite places. I've been there several times but the most memorable were the two times I was there in late June/early July when the lake was still frozen over.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

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.

More content from Idaho River Publications