Fairfield Ranger District, Sawtooth National Forest

The Fairfield Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest is north of the Camas Prairie and Snake River Plain, west of Sun Valley, and south of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho.  This section of the Sawtooth has only dirt roads and mountains that are generally less jagged and spectacular than the Sawtooth range.  The Soldier Mountains define this district, and Smoky Dome (10,093 feet) is the highest point in the range.

The Soldier Mountains

The South Fork of the Boise River runs east to west through the center of the district, where most of the visitors are found.  Trout fishing is common in the river, while the federally threatened bull trout is locally abundant on the district.  Some of the trails on this district are are very steep, rocky, and poorly maintained, while others make for much better hiking.

Soldier Mountains from Jumbo Creek

 The Boardman Creek trail is a good trail that takes you from the South Fork of the Boise River to the base of Smoky Dome, however there are several stream crossings that require wading.  The Skeleton Creek trail gently gains elevation and takes you far north of the river.  The Paradise Creek trail is also an easy hike that takes you towards Paradise Peak, but wolves are very active along Paradise Creek.  Their tracks and scat and everywhere along the trail, and I have heard their calls and smelled their kills in the mid section of this drainage.
Smoky Dome

Wildlife seen on this district commonly include mule deer, elk, rare moose, black bears, foxes, coyotes, and wolves, while sheep and cattle are grazed in many areas.  The forest is predominately Douglass fir along with Engelmann spruce, quaking aspen, and ponderosa and lodgepole pines.  Most areas that are not forested are covered in sagebrush.

Soldier Mountains
Cascade on Jumbo Creek

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