First time in to the Sawtooth Wilderness!

Jan 9, 2018
It was a long haul for me to get down to the Tin Cup Trailhead, but I was incredibly excited to do the Alice-Toxaway loop. Maybe the most popular route in the Sawtooths.

I linked up with my group at the trailhead and we started out and planned on hitting Alice Lake on first night. It seemed like most groups were doing the loop in the opposite direction as we were. That could be because of the 600 ft climb we would give ourselves at the end of the hike.

The hike up to Alice Lake was hot! I was thankful for the stream crossings and made sure to dip my hat in every one! It was just a little over 6 miles to get up to the lower lakes. Sometimes when you first walk into an area you are just blown away by the views and that is exactly how I felt walking in to Alice. You can immediately tell where is gets its name as the ridge line looked just like a saw blade with jagged peaks jutting up. We were there fairly early and found a great campsite. For the rest of the day we explored a bit, took in the views and watched group after group of hikers coming into the lake. There are a ton of campsites around the lake so it was my guess that everyone found a spot.

The next day we weren’t sure exactly what we were going to do. We had an extra day to do the loop so we were considering taking a zero somewhere and do some day hikes. We set out from Alice Lake and immediately started up the pass towards Toxaway Lake. We decided to go down and check out Twin Lakes since we were in no hurry. There was no one there when we rolled in. We found an incredible campsite right in between the two lakes and then decided to make our zero a near-o and we were just camp at Twin Lakes. In the evening it was the same story as the night before. The longer we were in camp the more people we watched coming in.

The next day it was on to Toxaway, but first we would have to get over the pass. After watching people on the pass the day before, I was very excited to go over it. There is always something magical about cresting a pass and getting your first look into the next drainage. I found the trail from Twin Lakes to the top of the pass, very easy. It was a pretty short hike that way and looking back, it seemed like a much tougher climbing coming from Toxaway.

We pushed on down past the lake a little ways to a campsite that a friend had stayed in once. It was a little site on the banks of one of the Toxaway Lakes and came complete with its own water fall. We watched people hiking up to Toxaway all day. We were worried when people stopped for a few hours at the waterfall that they were going to camp, but they pushed on to Toxaway. Finally, on the last night we didn’t have people camped right next to us. It was a perfect way to spend the last night.

The final day we hiked back out to the Tin Cup trailhead. It was all downhill until we turned off of the Yellowbelly Trail. We were dreading this last climb. As it turned out, the grade was easy and we cruised right up it.

This was an amazing 4 day trip into the Sawtooths. Easy trails, incredible scenery and lots of the people (not my favorite part). I would highly suggest this route if you’re in the area.

Thanks for checking it out!



Mar 3, 2013
Nice report

Now, do the north / south traverse with off trail stuff. most excellent and minimal people......
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