By Michael Lanza

When a friend who’s a longtime backcountry ranger in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which includes the gorgeous and lesser-known White Cloud Mountains, told me his favorite spot in the White Clouds is Quiet Lake, my 15-year-old son, Nate, and I decided we had to go see why. We recently backpacked several miles of rugged, off-trail terrain, tagging a summit at nearly 11,000 feet and ascending and descending a lot of steep talus and scree, to camp beside Quiet Lake, at over 9,200 feet. We had the lake to ourselves. I got this shot the next morning of Quiet Lake beneath the nearly vertical north face of 11,815-foot Castle Peak, tallest in the White Clouds.

Nate and I went there in part to celebrate the designation of three new wilderness areas in the White Clouds and neighboring Boulder Mountains—a part of the country that should be on every backpacker’s to-do list. I’ll write a full story, with many more photos and a video, about this trip later at The Big Outside.

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Meanwhile, see all of my stories about the White Clouds at The Big Outside, including one about a previous trip Nate and I made into the Big Boulder Lakes of the White Clouds, “Exploring a Wilderness Hopeful: Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains,” and my story about a 28-mile dayhike two friends and I took through the heart of the range. See also all of my stories about the better-known mountains immediately east of the White Clouds, Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.

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