The Sawtooth National Recreational Area is the home of some of the best hiking in the Western United States, and certainly in Idaho. According to most guidebooks, there are over 125 hikes in the Sawtooths and White Cloud mountain ranges alone! With that many options, we would love to suggest the three best hikes in the Sawtooth Mountains for families!
Be sure that as you hike you pack out what you pack in, stay on the trail, and use other important stewardship principles to help keep these wonderful areas clean, and preserved!
Lily Ponds and Waterfalls (Redfish Lake)
While the name may seem generic, the views and scenes on this hike are certainly not! Start by taking the incredible ride on the Redfish Lake Lodge boat shuttle, the kids will love this inexpensive boat ride that will cut off over six miles of hiking for you in only ten minutes! The boat leaves on demand, and has set pick up times. Once the boat drops you off you will be able to follow the clearly marked trail to lily lake. The lilies usually bloom around the first week of July, but are beautiful anytime of the year. After spending some time at the lake, you will want to look for the small wooden sign that will point you towards the waterfalls (south of the lake). The falls run biggest through June, but provide a beautiful mist at all times of the year. The hike is 1.5 miles round trip, and has moderate elevation gain. Be sure and stop in at the Lakeside Grill on your way back to reward yourself with a delicious ice cream cone.
4th of July Lake
Add a beautiful family drive to this hike as you drive to the White Clouds! Off of highway 75, and about 15 miles south of Redfish Lake Lodge you will turn east on 4th of July road and drive 10 miles to the 4th of July trailhead. This will be a bumpy dirt road, but doable in most vehicles. Once at the trailhead, you will see restrooms and a parking area. The trail is close to 4 miles round trip and will take you to 4th of July Lake. It is perfect for a quick little dip and incredibly scenic.
Fishhook Creek (Redfish Lake)
This hike starts at the Redfish Lake trailhead and it is 4 miles round trip. It has about 400 feet of elevation gain, and follows the stunning Fishhook creek until it opens up at a beautiful meadow and beaver pond as the trail reaches the Sawtooth Wilderness boundary. This trail is used by both bikers, hikers and some sections you may see some horses, so keep aware! This is a favorite trail of many, and had great views of fall colors in September. If you are looking for a little bigger hike, ask our staff about the Bench Lakes hike. It leaves from the same trailhead.
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