Crown jewel of the Gem State.
Fairfield, ID to the East. Mountain Home, ID to the West.
USFS Trailhead. Horse Facilities. Access from Pine-Featherville Highway on dirt road 181 at Moore’s Spring. Follow ICT signs for 11 miles to parking lot.
South Fork Boise River Road 227. Campsites at the South Fork of the Boise River. The small town of Featherville, ID is 8 miles to the West. Baumgartner Hotsprings and Campground are 4 miles to the East.
From Atlanta, take the Middle Fork Trail 8 miles upstream to the Junction with the ICT at Mattingly Creek.
Sawtooth Lodge is 3 miles west on Grandjean Road. Access from Highway 21 via Grandjean Road. Access to Stanley, ID (services) or Lowman, ID (no services) via Highway 21.
Access to Stanley via Stanley Lake Road and Highway 21 (9 miles)
Southeast 8 miles on highway 21 to Stanley.
Leaving the desert and ranching roads behind, the first solid single track of the ICT leads you up towards the jaw-dropping peaks of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area. Free flowing creeks and alpine lakes line the route and provide plentiful water. Your tireless climbing will be rewarded by off trail destinations like the isolated mountain town of Atlanta, ID or the hot springs pool at Sawtooth Lodge. As you cross the ICT’s highpoint at Ross Peak, the stunning views and cool mountain air will soothe your burning lungs and calves.
The trail leaves Highway 20 at Castle Rocks Rd taking you to the spired rock formations it is named for. After a short jaunt down the Pine-Featherville Highway, the trail resumes through a final stretch of cattle country before entering the Sawtooth National Forest at Hunter Transfer Camp. The first big climb of the trail takes you up the North Fork of Lime Creek on beaver-damaged, overgrown trails to Grouse Point Butte. From the bald topped butte, the first views of the Sawtooth Mountains are revealed across the South Fork of the Boise River in the valley below.
A bridge over the South Fork takes you to Willow Creek USFS Campground. Following Willow Creek, the long ascent to Ross Peak on clear trails takes you to 9200 feet, the highpoint of the ICT. Passing an abandoned Forest Service camp in Ross Basin, the trail ascends again to Mattingly Creek Divide and the boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness.
The Sawtooths are the crown jewel of Idaho’s vast mountainous interior. They have been valued by Idahoans for generations, receiving their first protected status in 1937 as the Sawtooth Primitive Area. In 1972, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area protected 756,000 acres, and designated the additional 217,000 acres of the Primitive Area as Wilderness. As you hike through this area, it is not hard to see why it is held in such high regard. Abundant wildflowers paint the meadows red, yellow, and blue with steep jagged ridgelines rising in all directions.
Mattingly Creek brings you to the Middle Fork of the Boise River through a stunning mountain valley with access to the historic mountain town of Atlanta. Accessed by a 3-hour drive on a washboard dirt road, the town is full of hardy mountain folk. Grab a beer and a cabin at the Beaver Lodge before returning to the Sawtooth Wilderness.
The trail follows the Middle Fork of the Boise to the high alpine Spangle Lakes. Cresting the ridge and more lakes, the trail gains the South Fork of the Payette at a wide water crossing. The cascading water and tumultuous falls lead the way to Grandjean Campground and the Sawtooth Lodge. The rustic lodge offers campsites, cabins, meals, and a revitalizing hotspring pool.
The climb up and over Trail Creek is long and strenuous, winding through a previous burn. On the opposite side of the pass, Stanley Lake and the touristy summer town of Stanley await to welcome you out of the wilderness.
Trail Towns and Resupply
Stanley Lake CG
Mountain Home, ID
c/o General Delivery
Mountain Home, ID 83647
Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday 9:30am – 12:30pm
c/o General Delivery
Fairfield, ID 83327
Monday – Friday 8:30am – 12:30am, 1:00pm – 3:00pm