Best time to visit Idaho

Sawtooth Mountains

This range of the Rocky Mountains boasts about 50 peaks over 3,000 m (10,000 ft) high

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin
Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho 2020 - Best Time

Part of the Rocky Mountains, the Sawtooth Range, is a paradise for all kinds of outdoor activities. The sharp, jagged mountains stretch for 1,756 sq. km (678 sq. miles) in Central Idaho, with the highest elevation at Thompson Peak, 3,277 m (10,751ft).

Thompson Peak in Idaho as viewed from the Alpine Way Trail in Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Custer County, Idaho 2020
Thompson Peak in Idaho as viewed from the Alpine Way Trail in Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Custer County, Idaho

Altogether there are about 134 peaks in the range, all higher than 2,700 m (9,000 ft). The Sawtooth Wilderness, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, and Sawtooth National Forest are the most popular destinations in the state for hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, boating, and climbing. The best season for these activities is from July through to September.

The Sawtooth Range from Sand Mountain Pass in the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho, United States 2020
The Sawtooth Range from Sand Mountain Pass in the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho, United States

The Sawtooth Mountains feature about 400 glacier lakes, many of which are located within Sawtooth Wilderness. All of the largest lakes—Redfish, Pettit, Alturas, Yellow Belly, Sawtooth, and Stanely Lakes—host campgrounds. The lakes and mountains are encompassed by over 40 trails that start from more than 20 trailheads. Goat Lake Hike, Marshall Ridge Hike, Fishhook Creek Hike, and Cramer Lakes Hike are among the most popular in the area.

Mt. McGown, one of the many impressive peaks in the Sawtooth range. Taken at Stanley Lake. 2020
Mt. McGown, one of the many impressive peaks in the Sawtooth range. Taken at Stanley Lake.

Stanley Lake is located on the base of McGown Peak at an elevation of 1,985 m (6,513 ft). It is one of the largest and most popular lakes in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the vicinity of Stanely, Idaho. It can be reached from State Highway 21. The lake features a boat launch, which makes it an excellent destination for paddling and boating in the summer months. The lake also has three campgrounds and few trails for hikers.