Hiking in Idaho is the secret that is now out. With some of the best hiking in the United States, there is something for everyone. What makes the hiking so amazing here? The alpine lakes, the Sawtooth Mountain range and just the natural beauty.
Two of our favorite areas to hike are in Stanley, Idaho and Sun Valley, Idaho. Located in Central Idaho, Stanley and Sun Valley both are within the Sawtooth National Forest.
Hiking in Stanley, Idaho
Alice Lake was probably our favorite in Stanley. This 13 mile, 1,600' in elevation gain hike is worth every step. There are river crossings, bridge crossing, beautiful alpine lakes, El Capitan of Idaho and stunning views throughout. You can read about the hike here: Alice Lake Hike
If you ask a local, they will tell you to hike to Imogene Lake. Most people use this hike as a multi-day backcountry camping trip. At 18 miles and 2,300' in elevation gain it isn't for everyone. But if you can take the time and have a little determination, you can make it (and if you have a high clearance vehicle you can make it to a different parking lot that makes it considerably shorter). We made it a day hike and made it to Hell Roaring Lake, saw some wildlife (a fox!), cooled off in a waterfall and had Imogene to ourselves the entire time we were there. Read more about Imogene here: Imogene Lake Hike
I was actually surprised we found this lake. There are so many blog articles and books written about finding this alpine lake that we thought we wouldn't have a problem. Except a lot of these articles are wrong. This hike isn't that long but there is rock scrambling and a short sheer rock wall to get up during the hike. 8.7 miles and 2,484' in elevation gain, it's not easy. We had this lake to ourselves for the entire day.
For more hiking options in Stanley, check out our article: Hiking in Stanley, ID
Hiking in Sun Valley, Idaho
If you can make it to this lake when there is zero wind, it will make for the most beautiful reflection lake. This is one of the shortest at 5 miles but packs a punch with 1,400' in elevation gain.
This hike is best done in the late spring. As the snow melts the spring flowers bloom like crazy. The hillside is covered with Lupines of all colors. Another short hike at 4 miles, but prepare your legs for 1,300' in elevation gain to reward yourself with this view.
After a short drive east from town, you will make it to the trailhead for Kane Lake. This lake is probably the quietest as it isn't that popular. So if you want some quiet back country camping, this is your spot. Only 7.5 miles and 1,700' in elevation gain, it's an easy hike for a couple nights. One of the best things? There are raspberry bushes on the trail!
For more hiking options in Sun Valley, check out our article: Hiking in Sun Valley