Sawtooth Backpacking Suggestions

BryanG

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Jul 22, 2016
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Currently planning on doing this trip in early July. Since I know a lot of people on here frequent the Sawtooths I wanted to get some opinions on the route and best places to camp at the respective lakes.
Is Edna lake a good place to set up a basecamp for two nights to explore the area or should I shoot for a different area?
With the current snow fall we are expecting to have snow on the passes when we go but we have microspikes. Will the passes still be passable or is it too early to tell?
Any recommendations on where to camp around Edna or Imogene lakes?
Any other thoughts or recommendations on the route are appreciated as well!
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Ben

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You might think about checking out Hidden Lake. It's nice. There are multiple spots to camp at the lakes you are going to. I don't think you'll have trouble finding a spot, provided you're not getting in too late.
 

leatherman

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Jan 24, 2012
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There are good campsites on the west side of Imogene - not so much on the east side. Also some cool smooth glaciated granite steps on the west side. For spending 2 nights I'd look closer towards Ardeth Lake and others in the Tenlake Basin area. There will certainly be snow in July with the current snowpack. There are 3 different divides you're going over. Snowyside pass going from Twin Lakes to Toxaway will have the most.
4 years ago around the 4th of July I was at Toxaway and talked with a couple of people who had just spent the better part of the day going over that pass. Also expect snow on the north side of the pass heading down towards Imogene.
 

LarryBoy

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If you're headed to hidden lake, pop over the pass to the Cramer Lakes if you have time. Beautiful area.

Edit - depending on your hiking/camping ratio, the below makes a nice 2-5 day trip. There's a boat shuttle that will take you across Redfish Lake, and it's easy enough to hitch down the highway to wherever you left your car. There's great camping to found anywhere and everywhere. Trails are easy, well-marked, and well-graded. The only downside to this route is it misses Imogene Lake. But! You could probably add it as a side trip :)

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BryanG

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Jul 22, 2016
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@LarryBoy I would love to do a hike like the one you linked above but I am always hesitant about the availability of hitching a ride back to our car. Do you have experience with hitch hiking in the area? We are planning on spending 5 days in the Sawtooth Wilderness and would like to see as much of it as possible but this will be my brother's second (maybe third by the time July rolls around) backpacking trip and I want to keep the miles under 10/day.

@leatherman well that's good news that the pass was still negotiable at the time last year. Just hope its not impassable this year.

@Ben thanks for the info, we like to get early starts so hopefully we wont run into any issues.
 

LarryBoy

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@LarryBoy I would love to do a hike like the one you linked above but I am always hesitant about the availability of hitching a ride back to our car. Do you have experience with hitch hiking in the area? We are planning on spending 5 days in the Sawtooth Wilderness and would like to see as much of it as possible but this will be my brother's second (maybe third by the time July rolls around) backpacking trip and I want to keep the miles under 10/day.

@leatherman well that's good news that the pass was still negotiable at the time last year. Just hope its not impassable this year.

@Ben thanks for the info, we like to get early starts so hopefully we wont run into any issues.
Easy hitch. Took me five minutes.

Note that this year is WAY bigger of a snow year than last year was. At this point I'm assuming a 3-4 week "delay" with regards to the availability of the high country - i.e. Dead Horse Pass in the Uintas is generally doable about mid-July. This year I'm going on the assumption that it won't be passable until around the second week of August. The entire West has had a big snow year this year... plan accordingly!
 
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