Things To Do In The Sawtooth National Forest

When people think of a typical vacation, Stanley, Idaho doesn’t regularly come to mind. This outdoor paradise is a hidden gem for those who love fresh mountain air and getting outdoors for vacation. It’s a great place to unwind and unplug for a week and explore the Sawtooth National Forest. Redfish Lake Lodge is located right inside the forest and is a great central location for your forest adventures. Here are some things to do while you are visiting the Sawtooth National Forest.


Hiking is one of the main attractions within the 756,000 acres of the forest. The Sawtooth Lake hike from the Iron Creek Trailhead is a great scenic hike that is about eight and a half hours round trip. If you start early, the glassy waters of the lake show a mirror effect of nearby peaks. You can catch a boat shuttle across Redfish Lake to hike to Alpine Lake. This is a great hike for avid hikers, it’s 11 miles roundtrip with some steep peaks. There are over 50 other trails that you can tackle from beginner to expert.



If you love fly fishing, Redfish Lake is a great spot in the area to enjoy casting a line. You can find landlocked salmon and trout in the lake. You can also fish along the Salmon River where you’ll find trout, steelhead, chinook salmon, whitefish, and cutthroat. You can take a guided boat trip or rent some equipment and go on your own adventure.

Scenic Drives

All you need is a car, snacks, and great road trip music. Sometimes you just want a beautiful view and to make a few stops along the way through a scenic drive. The Sawtooth Scenic Byway is the best and most comprehensive scenic drive in the area. It totals just over 115 miles and you should allow about three hours to complete it. You can start the trip in Stanley or Shoshone and work your way through the National Recreation Area, Redfish Lake, and Sun Valley. Stop at hiking trails along the way, swim in lakes, and view the local wildlife.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Stanley Lake in the Sawtooth Forest is a great spot for canoeing. The calm lake has a glassy effect that makes for great photos of the mountains. You can also try stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking on Redfish Lake.

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