Tag Archives: Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

June 9, 2016 Quiet Lake, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

Picture a chain of peaks rising to over 11,000 feet, some composed of chalk-like rock that looks like snow from a distance. Scores of crystal-clear lakes above 9,000 feet, and creeks running with trout and salmon. Mountain goats, elk, bighorn sheep, black bears, even gray wolves. And the kind of solitude you can’t find in most wild lands. That’s the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho. Put this brand-new American wilderness on your radar—and get there before every other backpacker discovers how gorgeous and quiet it still is, as you’ll see in this photo gallery. Continue reading →

December 10, 2015 Hell Roaring Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Ask Me: Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips in Idaho’s Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains

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Hi Michael,

I appreciate your generosity in offering to help with planning for our upcoming Idaho trip. We’re looking to do a few things. Primarily, we’ll be dayhiking, but we’re also planning on at least one overnight backpacking trip. If there’s a three-day, two-night trip we shouldn’t miss, we’d be open to that, too. Our six-year-old son is traveling with us and he’s an experienced hiker and backpacker. He can do 8 to 9 miles/day with around 2,000 feet of elevation gain. We usually build in a rest day in between the hard days to let him recover. We’re bringing our ducky so we can paddle a lake or two and we might bring our mountain bikes. Continue reading →

October 8, 2015 Quiet Lake, below Castle Peak, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

One Photo, One Story: Backpacking Into Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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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. Continue reading →

July 1, 2015 Below David O. Lee Peak, Big Boulder Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Great Trip: Backpacking to the Big Boulder Lakes in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

Tucked away deep in the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho, the Big Boulder Lakes, a cluster of more than a dozen larger lakes and myriad tiny tarns, lie scattered like a handful of seeds cast to the ground in a basin above 9,000 feet, where copses of spruce and fir trees speckle an otherwise barren landscape of rock and dirt. The backdrop to the lakes, the White Cloud Peaks form a long ridge of chalk-like rock rising to well over 11,000 feet, scraping jagged edges against a brilliantly blue sky. I had heard other avid backpackers rave about this area, but when I finally backpacked in there with my son, the place far exceeded any description of it. Continue reading →

September 24, 2014 Hiking Trail 47 below Castle Peak, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Head in the Clouds: Hiking In Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

We gaze up at a wall of shattered, crumbling gray and white rock rising several hundred feet above us, a barrier of cliffs separated by severely steep gullies of loose stones. The gullies offer the only remotely feasible routes up or down, but they look about as stable as a mountain of marbles. We’re debating which gully to climb up, and it feels a little like choosing which heavy, hardcover book you want to use to smack yourself in the head. Continue reading →

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