Sawtooth Association

Alpine Lake (Iron Creek)

Know before you go!

ACCESS: The Iron Creek Trailhead is very popular. Be ready with a back-up plan if you cannot find a parking spot. Please do not park in the sagebrush or trees on the side of the road, it destroys delicate alpine habitat.


Please don’t cut switchbacks! It causes erosion, destroys vegetation, and ruins the trail. This trail has many switchbacks, please use them!


Most of our trailheads do not have trash facilities. Please be prepared to pack out all of your trash from the trail and trailhead.


Fires are NEVER allowed at Alpine Lake because of its high use and limited fuel sources. If you see a rock fire ring on the ground it is illegal, please don't use it.


Due to the high use and lack of natural soil, packing out human waste is strongly recommended here. Help protect our water quality and fragile alpine ecosystems by using wag bags. There is a restroom at the Iron Creek Trailhead.


Store your food in a bear hang or bear proof container. A fed bear IS a dead bear. Help keep our wildlife wild.


This trail enters wilderness. You need a free wilderness permit which can be picked up at the trailhead. Make sure you are aware of all the wilderness regulations.


Trailhead: Iron Creek Trailhead

Round trip: 8 miles

Elevation gain: 1300 ft


Alpine Lake is a popular hiking destination in the Sawtooths. Enjoy great views this whole hike. The trail follows the valley bottom and gradually climbs. After crossing a small creek the trail climbs more steeply. View the lake from the trail or find the user-made trail down to the lake. The user-made trail is unmarked and steep.

If you are not feeling up for the whole hike to Alpine Lake, there is a great view point of the Iron Creek Valley out to the Stanley Basin before the trail climbs more steeply. The viewpoint is located approximately 3 miles up the trail.

This is also a popular destination for backpacking. Please help take care of this beautiful lake by following Leave No Trace practices. Campfires are never allowed at Alpine Lake.

*Note there are two popular hikes to lakes named Alpine Lake in the Sawtooths. The other Alpine Lake is located in the Redfish drainage.
Alpine Lake