Explore Seven Breathtaking Backcountry Lakes On This Exhilarating Idaho Hike
Consisting of countless mountain peaks and alpine lakes, Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness is considered a mecca for hikers. It would take a lifetime to explore it all and you still probably wouldn’t have covered all of it! We sure can try to experience everything this rich wilderness area has to offer, though, and this backcountry lake hike is a great place to start. This exhilarating hike doesn’t just take you to one or two alpine lakes, but at least
seven. Every step of this epic hike has something to offer, and it belongs on every adventurer’s bucket list.
Explore a good chunk of the Sawtooth Basin's natural splendor with just one hiking trail. At 27-miles, this trail is best as a multi-day backpacking trip. However, it's easily customizable so you can shorten it to your liking.
The hike starts at the Pettit Lake Campground near Stanley. The trail follows the lake's shoreline west before stretching southwest towards Parks Peak. A popular starting point for hikes in the area, this section of the trail is the most popular.
The next stop on this magnificent hike is one of the Sawtooth's most beloved alpine lakes: Alice Lake. With towering El Capitan acting as a backdrop, Alice Lake is a popular destination for day hikers, but don't stop here. There's so much more to see!
About 7-miles into the trail are the spectacular Twin Lakes. This marks a good spot to turnaround if you only want to do a day hike, otherwise continue on. Even more alpine beauty awaits further down the trail.
Continue on the trail for a few more miles and
another beautiful lake will soon come into view. Boasting crystal-clear water and surrounded by jagged mountain scenery, Toxaway Lake is a beautiful sight at the 11-mile mark.
Next up is Imogene Lake! The stretch between Toxaway and Imogene Lake is long, but you'll see that it's worth every step. Located around mile 17, Imogene is a backpacking dream come true. Far away from the more popular Pettit, Alice, and Twin Lakes, Imogene is an excellent camping destination for those who prefer to be alone in nature.
After Imogene, you'll backtrack for several miles on your way to the trail's final destination of Farley Lake. On the way, you'll pass a myriad of smaller alpine lakes, such as Edith Lake. Each lake, no matter how small, has something unique to offer and is worth exploring if you have the time.
At nearly 30-miles and boasting plenty of switchbacks in the rugged Sawtooth wilderness, this hike should definitely be reserved for more experienced backpackers. However, a day hike to Alice Lake, Twin Lakes, or even Toxaway Lake is possible for those who would prefer a single-day adventure.
Check out the trail map for this hike
. This is an excellent way to explore some of the Sawtooth's most pristine alpine lakes, so definitely be sure to add it to your bucket list!
What do you think? Will you be tackling this multi-day backcountry lake hike anytime soon? Let us know in the comments!
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