Baron Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Mountain Lakes of Idaho’s Sawtooths

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I may be risking an impassioned debate here, but I think there are very few mountain ranges in America with as many drop-dead, gorgeous high mountain lakes as Idaho’s Sawtooths. In fact, the only ranges that arguably beat out the Sawtooths in that department may be the High Sierra and Wind River Range (and not coincidentally, the three share other similarities, including geology). Over nearly 20 years of wandering around Idaho’s best-known hills, I’ve seen many of those watery jewels. This gallery of photos from many of them may persuade you to agree with me.

I don’t make this claim about Sawtooth Mountains lakes lightly. I’ve hiked all over the country, and I’m a big fan of the Tetons, the Cascades (especially the North Cascades), the Winds, the White Mountains (where I started hiking), and other mountain ranges. Anyone reading my story “Tent Flap With a View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites” or looking at my photo gallery of favorite backcountry lakes will see I’ve camped by a lot of nice lakes.

When you consider the beauty and the sheer numbers of clear, high mountain lakes tucked in granite basins ringed by soaring cliffs and jagged peaks, I just think Idaho’s Sawtooths have little competition.

Some, like Sawtooth and Alice lakes, are well known. Others are more remote and obscure; you may have never seen a photo of some of these lakes. All are only reached by hiking or riding a horse for miles into the wilderness. Seeing these incredible places requires time and effort.

 

I’ve helped many readers plan an unforgettable backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooths.
Want my help with yours? Click here.

 

If you think I’ve overlooked an outstanding lake in the Sawtooths, or if you believe you know of a range with prettier mountain lakes, please suggest it in the Comments section below this story.

 

Tell me what you think.

I spent a lot of time writing this story, so if you enjoyed it, please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons below, and leave a comment or question at the bottom of this story. I’d really appreciate it.

 

The Big Outside is proud to partner with sponsor Backcountry.com, who supports the stories you read at this blog. Find out more about them and how to sponsor my blog at my sponsors page at The Big Outside. Click on the backcountry.com ad below for the best prices on great gear.

 

See all of my stories about Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, including “Jewels of the Sawtooths: Backpacking to Alice, Hell Roaring, and Imogene Lakes,” Going After Goals: Backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains,Ask Me: The Best Long Backpacking Trip in Idaho’s Sawtooths,” and “Ask Me: What Are the Best Hikes in Idaho’s Sawtooths?

 

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by USA Today and others. I invite you to get email updates about new stories and gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box in the left sidebar, at the bottom of this post, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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4 Responses to Photo Gallery: Mountain Lakes of Idaho’s Sawtooths

  1. Chris   |  August 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Nice picks Michael. It does look like a special place. The question though, how many of those lakes have you swam in? ?

    • michaellanza   |  August 29, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Thanks, Chris. I’ve swum in most of them, many have rocky shores and clear water along the shore that’s not clogged with marshy vegetation, making them quite accessible. Water temp depends on how late in summer, elevation, the lake’s depth where you’re swimming, and how much sun it gets (some lakes get more shade if they sit on the north side of tall cliffs). Generally, the temp can vary from cold but tolerable, to so chilly that it’s refreshing for less than a minute then you have to get out, to so frigid you’re swimming immediately for shore after jumping in.

  2. Bege Reynolds   |  August 29, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Wow! Beautiful photos and some of my favorites. Sometimes the places closest to home are the ones you treasure the most. Thanks for posting!

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