Alpine Way Trail

Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Dates: summer 2008, 2011

The Sawtooths from the Alpine Way Trail above Fishhook Creek on July 16, 2011

The Alpine Way Trail is a trail that travels about 17 miles from Stanley Lake to the Stanley Ranger Station. At the southern/eastern end the trail ascends a moraine above Fishhook Creek and follows the ridge to the base of Williams Peak. I think that this part of the trail has the best views of the entire trail, and I have hiked it many times. The views here range across the Sawtooth Valley, with the best views being of Horstmann Peak, Mount Heyburn, Thompson Peak, and the Grand Mogul. This end of the trail is commonly accessed from the Redfish Lake Trailhead.

Morning over Sawtooth Valley from my campsite above Marshall Lake on July 20, 2008

Below Williams Peak there is an unofficial trail leading from the Alpine Way to Thompson Peak. The Alpine Way passes Marshall Lake and nearly follows the boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness for the remainder of the distance. I once planned on spending a night at Marshall Lake, but because of the overabundance of mosquitoes, mud, and fresh wolf tracks I decided to camp on the ridge above the lake instead. I was glad with this decision because the views were much better, and there were many fewer mosquitoes.

A pond and waterfall next to Marshall Lake on July 19, 2008

A few miles past Marshall Lake the trail reaches the turnoff for Goat Lake, which is a much nicer lake than Marshall. A couple more miles down the trail you reach the intersection for the trails to the Iron Creek Trailhead and Sawtooth Lake. After this intersection, there are no other official or unofficial trails until the trail along Stanley Lake Creek, where the Alpine Way Trail ends. From here it is a short distance to the Stanley Lake Trailhead. While there are several ups and downs across the length of the trail, there are no major, prolonged climbs lasting more than a perhaps a mile (except for at the two ends of the trail).

Goat Falls, a short distance off the trail on July 3, 2011

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