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Join Call of the Wild in the legendary Sawtooth Mountain Range of wild and wonderful Idaho! The Sawtooth’s are famous for deep walled canyons, remote alpine lakes, and dramatic vistas. Our route from Pettit Lake to Redfish Lake offers some of the finest backpacking in Idaho – minus the crowds of other areas. We’ll spend our days backpacking through rocky river canyons, meadows and even cross a few passes before we retire each evening in solitude by a lake or rushing stream. We’ll cross creeks, explore the forest, and enjoy fantastic meals en route prepared by your guides. You’ll leave this area having discovered an amazing range of mountains and lakes off the radar of many other visitors.
Our journey will begin in Boise, Idaho, where you'll be collected from the airport and then driven to the trailhead for our first evening together. From here, we set out on our 6-day backpack across the Sawtooth Mountains. We'll travel 31 miles by foot before ending the last day back in Downtown Boise for our celebration dinner. This trip is perfect for anyone looking for a very unique women's only backpack vacation and who love to take pictures. Join us for this great women’s backpack trip!
This trip is run in conjunction with Sawtooth Mountain Guides.
Minimum 4 participants; Maximum 12 participants
TO SEE THE PHOTO SLIDESHOW OF THIS BACKPACKING ROUTE, CLICK HERE.
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Day 1: Arrive Boise
Day 2: Petit Lake TH to Toxaway Lake (1800’, 7 miles)
Petit Lake is located just outside of the Sawtooth Wilderness boundary and is one of the five large lakes located in the Sawtooth Valley that mark the full extent of the now retreated valley glaciers. The trail pops over the forested lateral moraine on the north side of the lake and then follows a parallel glacial valley past avalanche-blasted Farley Lake for about 6 miles to Toxaway Lake at 8323’.
Day 3: Toxaway Lake to Hidden Lake (1600’, 6.3 miles)
Sand Mountain Pass lies directly above Toxaway Lake at 9240’. The pass divides the Salmon River Drainage from Payette River Drainage, into which the route descends on the way to Hidden Lake. On the opposite side of Sand Mountain Pass Virginia Lake and Edna Lake lie at the uppermost reaches of the South Fork of the Payette River. The trail passes by Virginia and Edna before a short climb to camp at Hidden Lake.
Day 4: Hidden Lake to Upper Redfish Lakes (2400’, 6.5 miles)
This is perhaps the most strenuous day of the circuit with over half of the route covering off trail terrain from Cramer Lake to Upper Redfish Lakes. The lack of a maintained trail to Upper Redfish keeps many people away from this spectacular location. Early in the day the route climbs over the Cramer Divide (9520’) above Hidden Lake before dropping into the three Cramer Lakes and a return to the Salmon River watershed.
Day 5: Layover at Upper Redfish
There are two great options for off-trail hikes on this day. One is to Reward Peak and Kathryn Lake located directly above Upper Redfish. Reward Peak at 10,070 feet offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Sawtooths from near the heart of the range. Descent from Reward Peak can be via Kathryn Lake before returning to Upper Redfish.
The second option is a strenuous loop hike around Packrat Peak taking in Packrat, McWillards, Oreamnos, Blue Rock, Feather and Warbonnet Lakes along way. This is among the most spectacular terrain in the Sawtooths and should not be missed!
Day 6: Upper Redfish to Canyon Camp (-1400’, 4.5 miles)
After a leisurely start this is an all-downhill leg to the Sawtooth Mountain Guide’s Canyon Camp. Fresh food for the last evening and following day will be brought it. The descent to the Canyon Camp is down Redfish Canyon, which was one of the most heavily glaciated zones in the Sawtooths. The Canyon Camp is situated on clean granite slabs at 7200 feet with views of Mt. Heyburn, the Grand Mogul, and Packrat Peak.
Day 7: Day hike to Saddleback Lakes (1100’, 3.5 miles) and final descent to Redfish Lake (-700’, 2.5 miles)
Saddleback Lakes, known to hikers in the Sun Valley area as Shangri-La, sit underneath the hulking granite monolith the Elephant’s Perch, which is popular amongst rock climbers. Fast hikers can do a non-technical scramble to the summit of the “Perch.” Others may choose to swim and relax on the granite shores of the middle and largest Saddleback Lake and take in one of the sweetest spots in the Sawtooth Wilderness.
Once back at the Canyon Camp by mid-afternoon the route to Redfish Lake is a quick 2.5 miles. A 10-minute boat shuttle offers a quick (albeit bittersweet) return to civilization, cold drinks, and a chance to reflect on the trip from the lawn in front of Redfish Lake Lodge.
Day 8: Depart Boise