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Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
182.00 ft (55.47 m)
Trail type
3.60 mi (5.79 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.

While it is possible to get to Yellow Belly Lake from the Pettit Lake/Tin Cup Trailhead (See Farley or Alice Lake adventures), it makes little sense to hike up and over the moraine that divides the two large lakes when the more appealing trail follows the Yellow Belly outlet. Additionally, the view from the east shore of the lake is better. There is a road that accesses the west shore of Yellow Belly, but it is very rocky, slow, and tedious.

Yellow Belly Lake

Yellow Belly is one of five large moraine-bound lakes nestled in the eastern foothills of the Sawtooth Mountains. Unlike the others (Stanley, Redfish, Pettit and Alturas), Yellow Belly is not accessible by a well-maintained road. Thick forest grows right to a shoreline void of Forest Service campgrounds, day-use areas, boat launches, or crowded beaches. The short and nearly flat trail to the eastern shore is a great option for families who want to try backpacking with young kids.  The long peninsula and cove on the northeast corner of the lake is a great area for exploration.

Additional Adventures

The Yellow Belly Trail continues upstream to McDonald, Farley, and Toxaway lakes.

Mountain Biking

The loop from the Yellow Belly Trailhead connecting with trail 041 over to Pettit Lake and back around on road 365 is a fun and easy mountain bike ride (6.6 miles with 747 feet of elevation gain).  The ride is great for beginners and can be ridden in either direction from the Yellow Belly or Pettit Lake side.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring the Sawtooths - A Comprehensive Guide by Idaho River Publications.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Short hike. Good for kids. Trailside cascade.


Few views. Monotonous lodgepole forest. Motorized use.

Trailhead Elevation

6,940.00 ft (2,115.31 m)


Backcountry camping

Suitable for




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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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