Idaho's Majestic Mountains
There a few things in life that have the ability to strike a sense of awe and amazement that can evoke a sense of utter tranquility all in the same. Enjoying the surroundings of soaring mountain peaks, rolling sea of trees, waterfalls, pristine alpine lakes, nature, and wildlife of Idaho’s most majestic mountain ranges are just the start to what can be discovered! Nothing compares to the experience of taking to the outdoors with a day pack and other supplies to accommodate your journey.
Did you know that Idaho boasts over 114 mountain ranges? Who knew that there was so much to cover all in one state. The grand Rocky Mountains, known simply as ‘the Rockies,’ stretch across an extensive 3,000 miles. There are four subdivided areas to the Rockies that include the Colorado Plateau, the Middle Rockies, the Southern Rockies, and the Canadian Rockies. The excitement of preparing to get outdoors to the desired destination builds as you get closer to heading out to the trails. Perhaps heading out for a day of boating, fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hunting, or birding is your goal. There are nearly limitless activity opportunities when considering a day or possibly a few weeks in Idaho’s mountains. There is hardly anything in the world that can compare to the experience of the fresh air and the astonishment that can come from the natural wonders found within Idaho Mountian Ranges. A few of Idaho’s most popularly known Mountain Ranges include the Sawtooth Mountain Range, Boulder Mountains, Lost River Range, Smokey Mountains, Lemhi Range, and the Seven Devils Mountains.
So what is it that drives so many people to Idaho’s mountains for a day out exploring and sometimes conquering incredible feats? Some say that there is nothing quite like overcoming a mountain’s obscurities than to climb to the tippy-top of one of its highest peaks. While others might choose to hike the trails of a mountain while enjoying nature, even trek across the snowy scapes with snow gear, take to the winding and weaving of a courageous descent of downhill mountain biking, go on a nature hike with educational groups, hunt for the popular Idaho morels, some might take time to stop a relax alongside a body of water. The sound of vacation at a mountain retreat might be just the thing for you. There is undoubtedly something for everyone to enjoy in some of Idaho’s most prized destinations! A vast piece of what makes Idaho so great is its tremendous beauty displayed within its mountain ranges. Idaho is so attached to the heart of its mountains that it was decided to move one of the largest sequoias in the state to Downtown Boise. For the purpose of this article, we will be covering the Sawtooth Mountain Range, which is one of the most popular mountain ranges of Idaho, and some of the attributes that contribute to its popularity.
Sawtooth Mountain Range
Traveling to the Sawtooth Mountain Range is a treat in itself! Idaho’s extraordinary Sawtooth Mountain Range sits alongside the 100th National Forest Scenic Byway, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. In fact, the nearby city of Stanley, Idaho, is where three of the National Forest Scenic Byways converge. These include the Sawtooth, Salmon River, and Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byways. The Sawtooth Scenic Byway includes scenic stops and attractions such as Red Fish Lake and Little Red Fish Lake, panoramic views of portions of the Salmon River and the Big Wood River, Galena Summit Scenic Overlook, and many more.
Home to the ‘The Sawtooth National Recreation Area,’ the Sawtooth Mountain Range is home to abundant outdoor activity opportunities, including horseback riding, educational and recreational trails ideal for area exploration, a host of lakes ideal for outdoor enjoyment, as well as camping and vacationing rentals. In the colder months, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and winter weather activities with over 200 miles of groomed trails. Discover nordic groomed trail at Alturas lake and the other at Park Creek. Be sure to pick up an Idaho Trail Map Guide as well as the Winter Recreational Guide before heading out for on trails adventure. Hunting is also a popular activity within designated zones and requires proper licensing and tags.
There are 147 named peaks within the Sawtooth Mountain Range. The highest peaks include Thompson Peak, which soars to the height of 10,751 feet above sea level. The remaining top ten peaks following Thompson Peak is Mount Cramer (10,715), Decker Peak (10,705), Mickey’s Spire (10,769), Snowyside Peak (10,650), William’s Peak (10,636), Mount Carter (10,591), Elk Peak (10,581), Dave’s Peak (10,577), and Sevy Peak (10,479). If camping is more in line with preferred activities, there are abundant designated camping areas waiting to be discovered. Surrounding Little Red Fish Lake sits the Chinook Bay Campground, Mountain View Campground, and the Red Fish Lake Corrals for those who might be interested in Equestrian amenities. Glacier View Campground, Redfish Outlet Campground, Point Campground, Mt. Heyburn Campground, Sockeye Campground, and Point Campground are a few of the campgrounds surrounding Red Fish Lake. Choosing to stay closer to Pettit Lake might include Pettit Lake Campground. For those interested in staying in the proximity to Alturas Lake, there is North Shore Campground, Alturas Tent Campground, Smokey Bear Campground, and Alturas Inlet Campground, to name a few. There are areas that sit outside of the designated campgrounds available for designated dispersed camping also. Please keep in mind that all wilderness users must obtain a wilderness permit before use. These permits are available at trailheads. For groups of 8 or more and or the use of stock requires that a permit be obtained with the Forest Service Office. Please review rules and regulations before use of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.