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Backpacking in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is a magical experience

Posted at 11:33 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 13:33:29-04

STANLEY, IDAHO — The Sawtooth National Recreation Area has reached a milestone as 50 years ago Congress designated 756,000 acres to preserve the natural beauty in the Sawtooths.

This vast area features so many different hiking options and many of them lead to alpine lakes, for the more adventurous people backpacking through the mountain range is a way to visit hundreds of remote alpine lakes.

I tried out a popular hike from the Tin Cup Trailhead at Petit Lake and made my way up to Alice Lake to spend a night under the stars.

Alice Lake

Alice Lake looks like a Bob Ross painting and it is easy to see why this hike is so popular with backpackers navigating the Alice-Toxaway Loop and also day hikers who make this an out-and-back trip.

Wilderness permits are required to enter this area, but hikers can fill them out at the trailhead, it's important to follow the rules no fires are allowed in this area, no drones, dogs must be on a leash until after Labor Day and it's vital that hikers pack out what they take in to help preserve this area.

I'm not a big backpacker, mainly because I don't have the right equipment, but I'm getting there thanks to kayaking expeditions that require paying attention to the weight and amount of space items take up.

I don't even have a real backpack so I suffered through the hike lugging my awkward green army duffel bag 6.5 miles up 1,500 feet of elevation to reach Alice Lake, the entire loop is around 20 miles and gains 3,500 feet of elevation.

There were also several creek crossings providing hikers with good spots to filter and top off their water, the mosquitos were vicious especially around the lake and this is also black bear country so storing food properly is another key to stay safe in the backcountry.

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area has been hosting events to celebrate 50 years all summer long, the next big event happens on August 20 with a community celebration at Pioneer Park in Stanley.