Redfish Lake is a phenomenal location to enjoy and explore throughout the summer, but many people leave without understanding what happens here throughout the winter months. While many of you may be familiar with all the fun things to do in the area during summertime, we wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the little known facts that make Redfish Lake and the Stanley, Idaho area an absolutely amazing place to visit during the snowy season.
- We’re Closed…
Redfish Lake may be one of the most amazing places to be during warmer weather, but it’s a frigid and quiet place to be during the wintertime. Redfish Lake Lodge typically closes at the beginning of October – often just as snow is beginning to fall – and we leave the trails and playtime to dedicated snow bunnies from Mid-October to early May.
- Roads From The Highway Into The Lake Aren’t Plowed
One factor that impacts access to the Lodge is the fact that the roads into the Resort from the highway are not maintained through the winter months. This means that once the snow begins to fall, it won’t be removed. Visitors to the area will find that the roads are groomed instead of plowed, so you’ll have to park in a highway turnout and make your own path in.
- Coldest In The Lower 48?!
Stanley, Idaho is considered by many to be the coldest town in the lower 48 states. This title is heavily contested, but Stanley has earned it regularly by being the town with the most sub-zero temperature days in the calendar year. As many locals can attest, this chilly place can even drop below freezing in July. While this rarely happens, it’s always good to be prepared.
- Redfish Lake Freezes Solid (On Top)
Given that Stanley is the “coldest in the lower 48.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Redfish Lake actually experiences a deep freeze that creates a thick layer of ice over the entire body of water. It’s pretty incredible to realize that the ice can grow to more than 6 feet thick in some places. Snowmobilers have even been known to explore the Lake surface aboard their snow machines. While this is undoubtedly an incredible experience, we highly encourage caution while exploring this neat natural wonder.
- Roadways Become Amazing, Empty Nordic Ski & Snowmobile Trails
While the roads into Redfish Lake aren’t plowed throughout the winter, they are often groomed. This creates an amazingly open and friendly pathway to explore with your cross-country skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles. You’ll never experience Redfish Lake at a more quiet and peaceful time, and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of snow-covered peaks – maybe even some wildlife.
- Sawtooth Mountain Guides Are Experts At Backcountry Skiing & Safety
The Sawtooth Mountain Guides are famous for the epic climbs and treks they conduct throughout the summer, but they’re just as famous for their outstanding guided backcountry skiing adventures. As you can imagine, the Sawtooth Wilderness contains some incredibly rugged and challenging ski lines that are totally inaccessible and untouched by most. Anyone embarking on one of these trips will not soon forget it. These guys also provide Avalanche Training Courses which have helped countless winter adventures stay safe during their explorations.
One awesome feature of the ski trips organized by the crew at Sawtooth Mountain Guides is their unparalleled access to the only Yurt System within the boundaries of the Sawtooth National Wilderness Area. This is a super special honor given to an elite group, so guests enjoying this experience can count themselves among a select few. If you’re an experienced and dedicated skier or rider, this is definitely a perfect opportunity to take it to the next level.
- Ride A Snowmobile Anywhere!
If you visit the Stanley, Idaho area during winter, you’re bound to see plenty of snowmobiles. They can even be seen navigating their way through town alongside many roadways. Snow machines are simply a way of life in this area during the snowy months. The most popular trail runs from Smiley Creek (25 miles South) all the way up to Stanley (and back), and it’s an amazing way to soak up the scenery while experiencing the exhilaration of a motorized ride through the snow-covered forest. If you don’t have your own machine, you can rent from Smiley Creek or Sawtooth Traxx.
- Can’t Miss Awesome Winter Events in Stanley
Winter time may be quiet in Stanley, but the locals are always looking for ways to have a good time. There is no shortage of fun activities to keep visitors busy – from pick-up ice hockey games to curling and skijoring, along with classics like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In addition to fun activities, the area plays host to several exciting festivals – including the Sawtooth Outdoor Bonspiel, Sun Valley Nordic Festival, Snowmobiler’s Ball, Stanley-Sawtooth Winterfest, and finally the Sawtooth Ski Festival. If you’re not familiar with any of these events, be sure to visit Stanley to check out all the competitions, fun, food, drinks, dancing, and so much more.
- Fishing Starts in March!
Many people think of fishing as a summer activity, but that’s only half of it. Truly hardcore anglers fish for the entire year, and you’ll often find them in Stanley near the end of March. That’s when the local Steelhead Trout season begins, which offers some of the most challenging and spectacular fishing available in our area. Come pay us a visit to catch one of these monster fish and compare your fishing story with all the other fisherman enjoying the area’s seasonal Steelhead run.
If you’re wondering what Redfish Lake is looking like this time of year, be sure to visit our website and check out the live webcam pictures which are regularly updated. This is a very unique front row seat to the activity occurring on the lake and you can often spot picturesque views, wildlife activity, incredible weather, and even a person exploring here or there. If you’re interested in the view from Stanley, check out the live webcam views from SawtoothCamera.com and MountainVillage.com/Live-Webcam.
Now that you have a better idea of all that the Sawtooths offer through the winter, start making plans to come visit. Be sure to check out the list of events that were discussed above. These are excellent opportunities to experience Stanley in a way that most people just don’t. You’ll most likely leave the area with some fun, new friends and an unforgettable life experience.
Redfish Lake Lodge opens for the summer season on May 27, 2016 and reservations are open now. Visit us online at Redfish Lake Lodging to plan your trip today. We’ll look forward to seeing you soon.