Idaho is a hikers paradise, and the Sawtooth Mountains and the surrounding area provide the best hiking in Idaho! Many a book has been written on all of the hiking this area has to offer. We would like to list three of our personal favorite Idaho hikes for each skill level! For more suggestions, talk to a local guide, buy a map at the Redfish General Store or visit any of the shops in town. Happy Trails!
Check out our amazing accommodations at The Redfish Riverside Inn right in the middle of all the amazing hikes!
Note: Please be a good outdoor citizen when visiting the Sawtooths! Pack out what you pack in, fill out the permits provided at each trailhead (they are free), and use proper trail etiquette! Peak hiking time is the end of July through the end of August, while there are hundreds and hundreds of trail miles, you will run into other visitors during this time. Trailhead parking lots do fill up during these times, so be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.
The Redfish Lily Ponds and Waterfalls – Take the Redfish Lake Lodge boat shuttle to the south end of Redfish Lake (leaves on demand). Follow signs for Lily Lake. The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip. It is perfect for families with young children, or those who want incredible views with very little effort. In 2020 the U.S. Forest Service installed a beautiful new bridge that is worth the hike to see alone!
The Bench Lakes- Available with or without the Redfish boat shuttle, park at the Redfish hiker trailhead (near the lodge). Follow signs from the Redfish Trailhead for the Bench Lakes. Be sure to make it at least to the second lake. There are five lakes, but the trail only goes until the second lake, and other lake ascents become more difficult. The trail is along the west ridge of Redfish Lake, and provides views of the water. With shuttle this hike is 6 miles, without shuttle, it can be upwards of 8 or 9 miles.
Cramer Lakes- This hike is around 17 miles round trip. Take the boat shuttle to the other end of lake and proceed up Redfish Canyon towards Flat- rock Junction and Alpine lake. At Flat-rock Junction, take a left and cross the creek. This can be dangerous in the spring. Follow trail to the three Cramer Lakes. The first lake flows into the second via a stunning waterfall. The boat shuttle picks up at 9, 12, 3, 5 and 7pm. Plan ahead to allow time for a pickup.
Other Popular Trailheads: Iron Creek, Lower Hell Roaring, Tin Cup (Pettit), Fourth of July, Alturas, Upper Hell Roaring
These suggestions and trailheads are mostly located in the Sawtooth Mountains (except for the Fourth of July trailhead). For more info on hikes in the White Cloud, Pioneer or Frank Church ranges, purchase a guide book or seek out a guide from Sawtooth Mountain Guides.
- Pro Tip #1: The best hiking is often found in September and early October!
- Pro Tip #2: There is no better way to reward yourself after a spectacular day of hiking then by enjoying a delicious meal at Limbert’s at Redfish Lake Lodge and getting a delicious drink or cocktail at the Rustic Lounge or Lakeside Grill! Trust us on this one!