Sawtooth Wilderness

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Joined
Sep 13, 2012
Messages
35
Trip Reports
5
Likes
147
Thread starter #1
Last week I drove from Salt Lake up to explore part of the Sawtooth Wilderness. I did this trip solo cause I have a hard time finding people to backpack. I have wanted to check out the Sawtooths for a few years now and finally got around to doing it. I came up with a 53 mile loop that looked promising. The start/finish was the Tin Cup trailhead next to Pettit Lake. The first day I hiked to Alice Lake then over a pass to Toxaway Lake. From Toxaway Lake I climbed over a second pass and dropped down to Edna Lake. From Edna I hiked past Hidden Lake over a third pass and down to Cramer lakes where I spent the first night. Lots of great scenery that first day. The highlight was the third pass between Hidden Lake and Cramer Lakes. Total mileage for day 1 was 21.2 miles with 4700 ft of elevation gain. The second day I hiked from Cramer Lakes to Red Fish Lake. The climb out of Red Fish was long and a bit on the warm side. After what seemed like a lot of climbing I finally dropped into Hell Roaring Lake. The scenery up until that point was pretty but not spectacular. After hitting Hell Roaring Lake the scenery bumped up a notch or two again. There was another climb from Hell Roaring Lake to Imogene Lake. Imogene Lake is beautiful and made a great spot to spend the second night. Total mileage for day 2 was 22 miles with another 4700 ft of elevation gain just like the first day. The first few miles of the third day was the best part of the whole route. The climb over pass between Imogene and Edith Lake was spectacular. I only had 10.3 miles left this day back to the trail head. After dropping below Edith Lake I hiked out past Farley Lake and then took a trail from Yellow Belly Lakes back to the trail head at Pettit Lake. I was done just a little after noon. I rinsed off changed clothes and drove back to Salt Lake and was home a little after 7pm. The 53 mile loop took 2.5 days to complete. The Sawtooths did not disappoint, very beautiful area. Below are some pics I took. I also took some video but doesn't look like I can add them to this post.

Alice Lake.jpg

Alice Lake

TwinLakes.jpg

Twin Lakes below the pass between Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake



CramerBasin.jpg

Basin above Cramer Lakes

CramerBasin2.jpg

Basing above Cramer Lakes

HellRoaringLake.jpg

Hell Roaring Lake

ImogeneLake.jpg

Imogene Lake

ImogeneSunrise.jpg

Sunrise on the third day.

ImogenePass2.jpg

Going over the pass between Imogene and Edith Lakes
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
77
Trip Reports
3
Likes
114
#2
I love the Sawtooths but haven't made it in there for backpacking...won't go solo in Grizzly country.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
138
Trip Reports
4
Likes
171
#4
@JeffG , you are a machine, those are some serious days! Imogene Lake is one of my favorites.
 
Last edited:

Ben

Member
.
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,657
Trip Reports
36
Likes
2,501
#5
I love the Sawtooths but haven't made it in there for backpacking...won't go solo in Grizzly country.
As Jackson said, no grizzlies in the Sawtooths. You'll be lucky if you catch sight of a black bear.
 
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
77
Trip Reports
3
Likes
114
#9
As Jackson said, no grizzlies in the Sawtooths. You'll be lucky if you catch sight of a black bear.
Well shoot, I thought the area had Grizzlies...they are so close to the other ranges that have lots of them so I thought they did. Dang it, should have made a trip. Oh well, that will have to be on the list for the future when I return to the US on vacation instead of living here (maybe eventually)
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

wabenho

Member
.
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
80
Trip Reports
11
Likes
256
#12
Thanks for sharing this! I have taken my family camping and day-hiking in the area and I often contemplated a similar backpacking loop (although I'll probably take double the amount of time). One thing that has dissuaded me is that this route is often described as very popular and busy. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on crowds during your hike? Did you go over a weekend?
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
613
Trip Reports
14
Likes
839
#13
Impressive miles and TR.
Thanks for sharing! Looks gorgeous!
 
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
77
Trip Reports
3
Likes
114
#14
What close by ranges have lots of grizz? (Go grizz!)
I guess of what they are attached to...mountains and forests pretty much continue north and all that is attached to the grizzly range in Montana...just figured they could be found in any contiguous forest/mountain range as there are no barriers to stop them moving. This was all conjecture and not based on fact in any way.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
1,963
Trip Reports
2
Likes
2,685
#15
We've had some great bear discussions on here. If interested, you might want to chase a few down, especially if you're worried about hiking in grizz country. And not all Montana ranges have grizz. The Bitterroots are generally considered grizz free, though there has been some evidence of maybe a lone bear or two, also the Sapphires. You're actually more likely to see grizz out in the plains along the Highline or the rolling hills near Red Cloud than in some Montana mountains, excepting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, of course. But even at that, people hike around the grizz all the time. They're really not people eaters in general, they don't view us as prey unless they're starving or just generally out of sorts. :)
 
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
77
Trip Reports
3
Likes
114
#17
We've had some great bear discussions on here. If interested, you might want to chase a few down, especially if you're worried about hiking in grizz country. And not all Montana ranges have grizz. The Bitterroots are generally considered grizz free, though there has been some evidence of maybe a lone bear or two, also the Sapphires. You're actually more likely to see grizz out in the plains along the Highline or the rolling hills near Red Cloud than in some Montana mountains, excepting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, of course. But even at that, people hike around the grizz all the time. They're really not people eaters in general, they don't view us as prey unless they're starving or just generally out of sorts. :)
I'm good. But thanks. Just me being uneducated about the exact limits of their range. They are prevalent in Galcier NP...highest concentrations of grizzlies outside of Alaska...and Glacier is attached to the rest of the mountains that are attached to Idaho's Sawtooths...like I said, I was making assumptions that they were there, and they probably will be eventually as they migrate and find new territories, just like they are gradually migrating from Yellowstone into the Wind River Range. It's not that I won't hike in griz territory, it's that I won't hike alone which is what most of my trips end up being.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2012
Messages
35
Trip Reports
5
Likes
147
Thread starter #18
Thanks for sharing this! I have taken my family camping and day-hiking in the area and I often contemplated a similar backpacking loop (although I'll probably take double the amount of time). One thing that has dissuaded me is that this route is often described as very popular and busy. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on crowds during your hike? Did you go over a weekend?
wabenho, the area does see quite a bit of use but it didn't seem too crowded most the time while I was hiking. Alice Lake, Cramer Lakes, Hellroaring Lake and Imogene Lakes all had quite a few people camping a them. The first night I camped above the upper Cramer Lake and no one was withing a half mile of my camp. Most the campers were all at Middle Cramer Lake. The second night I camped a at Imogene Lake and had to camp close to other campers. So the popular camping areas are heavily used but with a little effort you can find areas to camp away from the crowds.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2012
Messages
35
Trip Reports
5
Likes
147
Thread starter #19
Man, we did a similar route from Redfish Lake to the Tincup trailhead in 3 days. I am impressed you went from Tincup all the way to Cramer Lakes in one day. You could have dayhiked what we spent the weekend doing!

I also just wanted to reply to say, Go Grizz!!
I was tired for sure but I find if you keep moving most the day it isn't overly difficult to cover 20 miles. I'm usually packed up and on the trail before 7 and hike all day with only short breaks. I prefer to keep moving and don't spend much time at camp. Nothing wrong with that, just not what I like to do. Also I don't' carry much weight which also makes a huge difference.
 

Vegan.Hiker

I'd hike that
.
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,097
Trip Reports
32
Likes
3,302
#20
As Jackson said, no grizzlies in the Sawtooths. You'll be lucky if you catch sight of a black bear.
I saw a billy goat there once. It was scampering up Mt Cramer.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top