Fourth of July & Washington Lakes

Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: 2.5 miles one way
Elevation gain: ~800 ft
Date: July 3, 2008

Fourth of July Lake

Fourth of July Lake is one of the most easily accessible lakes in the White Cloud Mountains of Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The well-maintained dirt road along Fourth of July Creek ends at a trailhead at an elevation of about 8,800 feet. From the trailhead it is only 1.5 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain to the lake, which sits at an elevation of about 9,390 ft. The trail can be somewhat steep in sections, but it is well maintained.

Looking southwest from Fourth of July Lake. The trail to Washington Lake crosses the ridge to the left of the photo.

The trail to Fourth of July Lake goes through forest and meadows, and Patterson Peak rises to 10,887 ft above the eastern end of the lake. From Fourth of July Lake it is a one mile hike to Washington Lake. The two lakes are at the same elevation, but the trail gains and then loses 200 ft as it crosses a divide between the two. This section of the trail passes through thin forest and a rocky clearing on the pass where a small unnamed lake sits between two peaks.

Washington Lake. The Chamberlain Basin is over this ridge.

Washington Lake is somewhat larger than Fourth of July Lake. Some people cross the ridge above the eastern end of Washington Lake (no trails over the ridge) to reach the Chamberlain Lakes and 11,815-foot Castle Peak.

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