Sawtooth Lake via the Iron Creek Trail is the number one hike in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
At 10 miles and approximately 1,800 feet of elevation, it’s roughly twice around our neighborhood loop at home so it seems like a great way to spend a day in the mountains.
The first few miles of the Iron Creek Trail is one of the most amazing trails we’ve been on – level enough that you can enjoy the scenery instead of watching your feet, beautiful forest, lush understory, and wildflowers galore.
Before Alpine Lake it starts to pick up, more of a rocky trail with incline starting.
The random patches of snow here and there lead to more snow and finally you hit complete snowpack halfway between Alpine Lake and Sawtooth Lake.
We brought microspikes, and they help somewhat, but the blazing sun quickly turns the snow to slush and it’s a messy slog even with appropriate footwear.
The juice is DEFINITELY worth the squeeze though, and it’s easy to see why this is the highest ratest hike in the area.
Glacier blue water surrounded by towering peaks, white snow, and green forests, clear blue sky, and complete silence. Sawtooth Lake is simply amazing.
The only thing that could possible make the day better – a pizza from Papa Brunees in Stanley. We assumed the crazy high Google reviews were because it’s the only pizza place within 50 miles, but that is not the case. This might be the best pizza we’ve ever had. And that’s not hiker hunger talking!

Literal. Mountain. Goats.

Literal Mountain Goats
Someday I will be badass enough to have goats carry my pack up the mountain! Goats! Seriously people, Goats!


Looks Bad, Folks

Looks Bad, Folks
This looks bad folks…


Taking It All In

Taking It All In
Now that is a look of early-hike satisfaction!


Through the Snow

Through the Snow to Sawtooth Lake
Plenty of snow after you pass Alpine Lake and head up towards Sawtooth Lake.


Alpine Blue

Alpine Blue at Sawtooth Lake
Sawtooth Lake is everything it’s hyped up to be!


Lotsa Wood

Lotsa Wood around Sawtooth Lake
Something I’ve been hearing my entire life.


Gnarly

Gnarly
There’s a tree under this ice somewhere.


Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear water in Sawtooth Lake
Listening to the ice crack and bubbles burst in the crystal clear alpine water of Sawtooth Lake.


Some Snow

Some Snow
There’s still some snow up here…


Alpine Lake

Alpine Lake
Looking down at Alpine Lake from the trail back from Sawtooth Lake.


Big Woods

Big Woods
This looks nothing like the alpine environment up at the lakes!


Sofa King Sunny

Sofa King Sunny
With a name like this, I’ll excuse the average non-hazy meh that this pale ale provided.


Well Deserved

Well Deserved
We now know why Papa Brunee’s Pizza in Stanley has such a high rating on Google reviews!