8 of the highest quality lake hikes in Idaho

8 of the highest quality lake hikes in Idaho


Distance: 8.5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate (with a strenuous last push within the peaks)

Talk about views! This trail leads high into jagged granite peaks where Sawtooth Lake is cradled in the basin below McGowan Peak. In the upper miles with the trail you can view the complete Stanley Basin below and the White Cloud Mountains from the distance. This could cause with an awesome day hike or possibly a sweet position for backpackers to camp and view the sunrise. Sawtooth Lake is likewise inside of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, which implies the stargazing is first-rate whenever you spend a night while in the peaks.

Upper Palisades Lake (Targhee National Forest – Irwin)

Distance: 13.3 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate

Above Swan Valley to the Idaho side of your Tetons, Upper Palisades Lake is truly one of those surprisingly blue lakes that seems more like a postcard than the real world. The gradually climbing trail follows Palisades Creek past Lower Palisades Lake, up and up to the stunning turquoise water. Don’t quit prior to payoff!

Lower Gospel Lake (Gospel Hump Wilderness – Grangeville)

Distance: 4.4 miles out and back
Difficulty: Strenuous (almost thousands of feet in elevation lost and then gained coming back up)

The surprisingly peak-packed Gospel Hump Wilderness in Idaho’s Wind River Range has always been somewhat heli-copter flight radar for hikers — even Idaho natives. Reach one\’s destination (4WD recommended) from Grangeville via Forest Road 221 heading south, on the intersection of Forest Road 444. After about six miles on 444, you’ll start to see the — somewhat obscure — trailhead (look for the tiny cairn for the east side in the road). It might take effort to get to, but you’ll be rewarded through an uncrowded lake oasis and excellent trout fishing. Like many trails in Gospel Hump, this is not really maintained, as well as the route starts along a top mountain ridgeline and drops into the alpine lake hidden in the canyon below.

Roman Nose High Mountain Lakes (Selkirk Mountains – Naples)

Distance: 4.5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Very easy to moderate — the bigger you go, a lot more it gets.

The Roman Nose trail traverses three alpine lakes in northern Idaho’s Selkirk Range — that’s three lakes for that price of one! The trail is an element boardwalk, part rocky scramble, along with the landscape is densely forested until it uncovers within the lakes and farther over the ridgeline. If it’s huckleberry season (usually August-September), you’re set for a trail-side treat. There’s and a waterfall nearby if you’re up for just a little off-trail exploration!

Upper minimizing Stevens Lakes (Coeur d’Alene National Forest – Mullan)

Distance: 5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate

Near Lookout Pass away I-90, inside Bitterroot Range, the 2 main Stevens Lakes are jade-colored beauties flanked by pine forest (and yellow larches in fall). There’s a smaller waterfall that you’ll pass over the ascent in this particular hike, in case you’re up for the scramble after the swim in Upper Stevens, you may climb Stevens Peak — at 6,800+ feet, it’s the highest point around. Peek over into Montana while you’re up there.

Bloomington Lake (Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest – Bloomington)

Distance: 1.4 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy

Clocking in below two miles from the parking zone, the trail to Bloomington Lake offers lots of bargain. In the center of the Bear River Choice of southeastern Idaho, you’ll pass a pond before going to Bloomington Lake using a backdrop of forested granite cliffs. Continue farther up and relish the view, or try to find the rope swing that can drop you in the lake for a refreshing swim.

Tin Cup Trailhead to Edith Lake (Sawtooth National Forest – Stanley)

Distance: ~14 miles out and back
Difficulty: Strenuous climb towards top

This route features three lakes, with much more in case you keep going an extended trek from Edith Lake. Almost all of the route accocunts for perhaps the Toxaway Lake loop (among the many essential backpacking routes in Idaho), but Edith Lake is away from the loop and farther on the Sawtooth peaks, this means fewer people in addition to a more stunning vista through the high trail. The road also crosses a creek (more than once) that cascades over the cliff face in a very wide, shallow waterfall. Your way culminates having a take a look at the forest and the surrounding pink granite summits.

Crags Campground to Ship Island Lake (Salmon National Forest and Frank Church–River of climax Wilderness – Cobalt)

Distance: 20.4 miles out and back
Difficulty: Strenuous

This is not a casual day hike, but a multi-day route that can you into backcountry dreamland deep from the Bighorn Crags. Ship Island Lake may be the largest lake in the crags — picture clear, deep water and superb fishing, with cathedral-like rock spires towering above. This rugged country is part of Idaho’s largest wilderness area. While it’s not in a dark sky reserve, the remoteness of Ship Island Lake ensures spectacular stargazing including a stellar have a look at the Milky Way. Yep, a lake hike using a big bonus.