The end of summer is always a bittersweet time at Redfish Lake. The changing temperatures and colors, accompanied by shrinking crowds, add up to some of the most beautiful and peaceful days anyone could ask for. Unfortunately, with this beauty comes the realization that Fall and Winter are, once again, right around the corner. As we prepare to bundle up and watch hibernation begin, it’s important to squeeze our last little bits of enjoyment out of what’s left of the summer. In recognition of the changing seasons, join us and read along as we detail a list of 11 Things To Do Before Summer Ends in the Sawtooths.
TAKE A DIVE OFF JUMP ROCK
Jump Rock is located at the southern end of Redfish Lake, in a small cove just beyond the Inlet Transfer Camp and several of the camps spots located nearby. The area is easily accessible via the trail which climbs to the Lily Lake and Waterfalls. On most warm summer days, you can find a group of thrill-seekers plunging off the drop into the lake but, as the season winds down and kids go back to school, there’s an even better opportunity to enjoy this fun activity with a smaller group of close friends.
GO FOR A HIKE
There are hundreds of miles of trail sitting right at Redfish Lake’s backdoor and this is the perfect time of year to escape the summer heat and enjoy beautiful changing colors along the trail of your choice. Fewer people exploring provides more intimate outdoor experiences, while cooler temperatures make hiking much more pleasant. Some of the highest mountain trails are still even highlighted by blooming flowers and lingering berries, as they finally see the sunshine and warmth that lower elevations have enjoyed for weeks. It’s the perfect time to adventure as the wilderness prepares itself for the winter to come.
SPOT A SALMON
September and August make up the heart of Redfish Lake’s Salmon Run. This timeframe provides the best opportunity to witness one of nature’s most amazing natural journeys, in the return of native salmon to Redfish Lake following an over 900 mile journey back upstream from the Pacific Ocean. The bright red Sockeye Salmon, which returned each year to spawn in local waters, were what provided inspiration to early explorers as they named the lake Redfish. From that time, in the early and mid-1800s, the area has been a recreational highlight for visitors from across the globe.
Check out this list of Great Places to Spot a Salmon for more advice.
GET A GREAT DEAL AT THE GENERAL STORE
While Redfish Employees begin to prepare the Lodge for a winter slumber, throughout September, visitors are rewarded with phenomenal deals and discounts in the General Store. The Store closes its doors for the summer season on October 5, 2014, and it’s their goal to empty the shelves before they go. You can help out by purchasing souvenirs, groceries, outdoor gear, toys, jewelry, and much more – at discounts up to 75% Off. This is a perfect opportunity to do some great school shopping, as well as filling stockings for the Christmas Season. Discounts only get bigger as we get closer to our final days.
Fall colors in the Sawtooths can bring inspiration to anyone who visits Redfish Lake in September, but we’ve taken that a step further by providing several fun activities to take advantage of this beautiful scene. We’ve invited the Plein Air Painters back for another round of amazing art, from September 2-4, so don’t miss your chance to witness these talented individuals creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces which are then offered for sale. In addition to this fun group, we’ve partnered with Cowboy Poets and Quickdraw Shootists for fantastic performances from September 5-7, and we’re celebrating our local Fire and Emergency Crews with the Firemen’s Ball on September 20. Don’t miss your chance to find some cool, mountain inspiration.
ENJOY A GOURMET MEAL
Just because summer is ending and the colors are changing, it doesn’t mean the amazing food in the Lodge Dining Room is changing too. We’re still offering the most awesome options the area has to offer, so prepare your taste buds and some room in your belly as we keep cooking up gourmet mountain meals. You can’t miss standards, such as Trout and Salmon, while regular specials keep guests happy and guessing. For breakfast, don’t miss our weekend Brunch Buffet, which has fast-become the area’s most sought after breakfast option on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
RIDE A HORSE
If you haven’t taken the opportunity to enjoy a horseback ride through the area’s mountain trails, late August and September are perfect times to hop in the saddle. Visitors looking to try on their boots for a true western experience can find horses and guides waiting for them at the Redfish Corrals. Once there, friendly and helpful handlers welcome riders and acquaint them with the team of beautiful horses that will carry them along the trail of their choice. Rides are offered in set lengths, from 1 hour to Full Days, with fees adjust accordingly. Be sure to check out this fun mountain activity at RedfishCorrals.com
VISIT “THE BOULDER”
When glaciers carved up our area thousands of years ago, they left behind hundreds of giant, randomly placed boulders and rock formations. These rocky remains are referred to as glacial erratics and they form many unique spaces within the Sawtooth Mountain range. One such example is within short walking distance from the Lodge, near Point Campground. A large rock formation, uphill from the campground, has been affectionately deemed “The Boulder” by locals and visitors alike. This massive stone feature has been evaluated and explored as a rock climbing venue by hundreds of adventurous rockhounds and it’s a great place to play for everyone from rocky beginners to summit experts. The Sawtooth Mountain Guides offer short climbing lessons and classes here, so jump on with one of their groups to learn a new skill – or simply wander up and find your own way to the top – but be careful!
Check out the Sawtooth Mountain Guides for more details and climbing course options.
BIKE A MOUNTAIN TRAIL
While the Sawtooth Wilderness Area is off-limits to bikers, there a hundreds of miles of local trails which don’t cross this boundary and explore scenery that’s just as awesome. The Boulder-White Clud Range, which is located directly East of Redfish Lake, offers dozens of trails for exploration and dirt-shredding, while several rides North of town draw plenty of attention from seasoned riders. If you didn’t bring your own bike, Redfish Lake Lodge has several options available for rental, so be sure to stop by the Bike Shack and snag your rental or seek out some trail advice. If cruising on paved pathways is more your style, the Redfish Bike Shack offers a wide variety of bikes that are simply setup to peddle along the asphalt.
RENT A WATERCRAFT
As kids go back to school and parents join them, Redfish Lake becomes quieter, with less boat traffic and splashing activity. This makes it a perfect time to enjoy the warmest water temperatures of the year all by your lonesome. Hidden coves and wild spaces (think huckleberries) make paddling along the shoreline a wonderful pastime, while kayak and paddleboard trips seem to expand as fewer waves and boat wakes make the water more enjoyable to navigate.
For those looking for larger options, August and September can offer great opportunities to rent a pontoon boat for your own personal tours and parties. Rentals begin at 2 hours but expand to the entire day, so take advantage of beautiful weather and calm waters for some fun for the whole family.
HAVE A PICNIC
Picnic tables can be found around Redfish Lake, in abundance. This makes it the perfect location for a fun, family picnic. You and your family, can drive, ride, or wander, to just about any established spot along the Lake and find a perfect spot for nibbling your lunch as you enjoy some fun in the sun. The Redfish General Store offers a wide variety of food and drink options to make any picnic grand, while the Gazebo offers great sandwiches, wraps, and our famous – Living The Dream Soft-Serve Ice Cream – to add some sweet dessert to the end of your picnic experience.
WATCH SOME WILDLIFE
As fewer people begin to visit Redfish Lake in preparation for winter, many animals that are preparing for winter begin to become more adventurous and more visible to our guests. These animals are gathering food to hold them over for the winter months, as snow fills the valley and the Lake freezes over entirely (up to 10 feet thick). This increased activity creates many more opportunities to view unique mountain creatures and observe their natural behaviors as they prepare for their most difficult time of year. Take great care to watch and learn, but keep your camera ready, as these interesting animals make preparations for snow to fall.