Enjoy The Solitude & Scenery Of The Sawtooths With These Awesome Winter Adventures
It’s been absolutely dumping snow on Redfish Lake and Stanley, Idaho! That’s what makes the area an exceptional spot for enjoying winter’s splendor. While there are lots of trails and activities around the Valley, Redfish Lake is only accessible from the highway – so anyone interested in visiting the frozen wonder of Redfish will have to climb on a snowmobile or strap on some skis or snowshoes.
There are many great areas to ride snowmobiles near Redfish Lake, including many of the Forest Service roads and other access trails. The majority of these areas remain unplowed and ungroomed throughout the winter months, so they offer excellent, clear pathways for cruising. The Redfish Road from Highway 75 provides awesome access to the area where there are many clear places for riding and soaking up the views. If you decide to visit this area yourself, please be respectful of the rules and regulations that apply – and be respectful of buildings and other facilities. For rentals or guided trips, check out our friends at Sawtooth Traxx and Smiley Creek Lodge.
The Sawtooth Mountains have some of the best couloir skiing in the United States, and there are several Backcountry Huts throughout the area which service dedicated skiers. Access to great runs can be a bit long from the highways, so we recommend spending the night in one of these charming, mountain accommodations to gain the very best access to safety gear, information, and first shot at fantastic ski lines (of course!). Check out Sawtooth Mountain Guides and Sun Valley Trekking for more info on this awesome activity – and stay updated on the latest Avalanche Conditions from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.
Cross Country Skiing
If you’re a lover of great nordic skiing, you’ll find access to some excellent groomed trails in the Sawtooth Valley. From Park Creek to the Northwest of Stanley to Alturas Lake at the Valley’s Southern end, there are miles of well-established, regularly-groomed trails that offer challenges for all levels along with the reward of beautiful Sawtooth views. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the Sawtooth Ski Club or check out these maps of Park Creek Ski Area and Alturas Lake Ski Area.
Do you prefer the crunch and fluff of snowshoeing through powdery white? You can find all sorts of areas to explore near Redfish Lake. You’re only limited by your skill and energy. Many of the area’s trails and 4×4 roads make great locations for snowshoeing. Along the Redfish Road, you can find access to campgrounds and viewpoints – even a majestic bridge over Redfish Lake Creek – that offer great photos within limited distance of the highway.
As noted above, all winter activities in the area provide fantastic opportunities for photography. Many of these occasions may be the only photograph taken in or of that particular location throughout the entirety of the cold, Sawtooth winter. With bright blue skies and sunny days through the majority of winter, the rocky, white-soaked mountains stand out for rugged imagery. Exploring the region from different viewpoints – such as Galena Summit versus Park Creek overlook – offers a unique contrast.
Many people save their visits to Stanley, Idaho and Redfish Lake for the Summer. Hey, we can’t say we blame you! But there are also many incredible things to do and explore in the area throughout the colder months. And chances are, you’ll be some of the only people exploring that area at that time too! Just remember to pack lots of layers and snacks, and always plan for the cold.