If you are yearning for some solitude, the beautiful Sawtooth National Forest encompasses over 750,000 acres of wilderness in the southern part of Idaho and stretches further into nearby Utah. The massive forest requires six offices in the areas of Jerome, Burley, Fairfield, Ketchum, and Stanley and one in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The picturesque scenery of this forest features majestic mountain ranges and stunning landscapes of unspoiled wilderness. It's only two and a half hours from the state capitol, Boise, in a region lovingly referred to as Sun Valley. There is a small airport near Ketchum, but most visitors will fly into Boise. The proximity to Utah and Wyoming provides convenient access to parks in those areas as well.
One of the most popular hiking trails in the forest will provide you with views of Alpine Lake and Sawtooth Lake. If you're a budding photographer, this is the perfect trail to break out your camera and take some pictures. The difficulty level is moderate, making it accessible to most experienced hikers. Snow can fall well into spring here, so make sure you check the weather before you venture out and dress appropriately.
Length: 10 miles round-trip
If you want to experience the wilderness but aren't quite up to a moderate hike, the Lady Face Falls hiking trail may be more your speed. Found near the town of Stanley, this hike is just over five miles long. You'll be rewarded with a lovely view of the peaceful, clear blue water of Lady Face Falls. Also, a fantastic advantage of this trail is that you can experience it with your furry friend as dogs are welcome on the trail.
Length: 5.3 miles round-trip
Nearer to Ketchum, the Baker Lake Trail is for the experienced hikers who are up for a challenge. It may be a short hike at only two miles, but it makes up for length with difficulty level. Baker Lake is a popular catch-and-release fishing spot, so if you'd like to cast your reel at the end of the hike, make sure you grab your fishing gear.
Length: 14 miles
Speaking of fishing, if you're hiking with a family, the Fishhook Creek Trail is the perfect trail for your group. Because this is a gentle trail with an elevation gain of less than 400 feet and a roundtrip length of only six miles, it's accommodating for every generation. You can access this trail from the Redfish Trailhead area.
Length: 4.4 miles roundtrip
If you're a lake lover, make sure you plan to spend some time on this trail. It offers a two-for-one special on lake scenery that you won't want to miss. Using this trailhead, you can take the five-mile Prairie Lakes trail and the Miner Lakes trail. These paths will lead you through luscious meadows and towering pines. You'll feel energized after experiencing the fresh mountain air on these trails.
Length: 16.4 miles round-trip
If you enjoy fishing, there are plenty of opportunities to do so within the forest's waters. Fish for trout and salmon in the Salmon River, or even rent a boat to fish in Redfish Lake. Always make sure to check the local Fish & Game Fishing Regulations before you set up with your fishing pole.
Visit the nearby Snake River Canyon Rim Trail for some of Idaho's best geocaching. Unauthorized geocaches are not allowed in this national forest.
This forest is far from the city lights, so stargazing opportunities abound. Stay a night or two at the Smokey Bear Campground and enjoy the clear skies and bright stars all night long.
Address: 5 North Fork Canyon Road, Ketchum, ID 83340
Fee: Entry fee $0
The Sawtooth National Forest offers a beautiful landscape full of opportunities to enjoy some peaceful solitude. Whether you are searching for a unique campground, a plethora of hiking opportunities, or some rare wildlife viewing, there is something for everyone in this beautiful area. Depending on your weather preferences, you may want to visit during the summer when the temperatures are mild and there is little chance of snow. Visiting this area is a great way to take some time for yourself and get away from it all, and an RV is the perfect way to do that.