10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho
Table of Contents

Idaho offers a plethora of stunning hiking trails that showcase the state’s natural beauty and rugged landscapes. From alpine lakes nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains to panoramic views of Lake Pend Orielle, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking for an adventure, Idaho’s hiking trails will not disappoint. Here are 10 of the top hiking trails in Idaho:

1. Goat Lake: A Breathtaking Alpine Wonderland

Located in the Sawtooth Mountains, Goat Lake offers a moderate-strenuous hike with breathtaking views and a beautiful alpine lake. Prepare to be mesmerized by the scenic beauty that surrounds you every step of the way.

2. Pioneer Cabin: Cozy Solitude amidst Epic Mountainscapes

Near Sun Valley, the Pioneer Cabin trail takes you to a cozy cabin surrounded by epic mountainscapes. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in nature’s tranquility.

3. Scotchman’s Peak: Panoramic Views of Lake Pend Orielle

In North Idaho, the strenuous hike up Scotchman’s Peak rewards you with panoramic views of the magnificent Lake Pend Orielle. It’s a challenging adventure well worth the effort.

4. Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop: Backpacking Bliss in the Sawtooth Mountains

Embark on the famous backpacking circuit in the Sawtooth Mountain Range, known as the Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop. Be prepared to be amazed by stunning views and enchanting alpine lakes along the way.

5. Sawtooth Lake: Majestic Spires and Alpine Serenity

The iconic Sawtooth Lake hike takes you to majestic jagged spires and offers moments of serene beauty in the alpine surroundings. It’s a truly memorable experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Idaho offers a plethora of stunning hiking trails.
  • From alpine lakes to panoramic views, there is something for everyone.
  • Goat Lake showcases breathtaking alpine beauty.
  • Pioneer Cabin provides a cozy escape amidst epic mountainscapes.
  • Scotchman’s Peak rewards hikers with panoramic views of Lake Pend Orielle.
  • The Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop is a backpacker’s dream with stunning views and alpine lakes.
  • Sawtooth Lake impresses with its majestic spires and serene alpine scenery.

Goat Lake: A Breathtaking Alpine Wonderland

Nestled in the picturesque Sawtooth Mountains, Goat Lake offers hikers a moderate-strenuous adventure with breathtaking views and the shimmering beauty of an alpine lake. This popular hiking trail showcases the natural splendor of Idaho, captivating outdoor enthusiasts with its stunning landscapes and tranquil surroundings.

Hikers embarking on the Goat Lake trail are rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of jagged peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear alpine waters. The trail, with its moderate-strenuous difficulty level, provides an invigorating challenge for experienced adventurers. As you ascend, the scenery becomes increasingly captivating, with every step unveiling magnificent panoramas that leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s artistry.

At the culmination of the hike, hikers are greeted by the jewel in the crown – Goat Lake. This alpine wonderland shimmers with hues of emerald and turquoise, reflecting the surrounding mountains with grace. The tranquil serenity of the lake creates a perfect setting for relaxation and reflection, allowing hikers to immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings.

Discover the Magic of Goat Lake

For those seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience, a journey to Goat Lake is a must. The trail not only challenges your physical abilities but also rewards your senses with the breathtaking beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains and the enchanting allure of an alpine lake. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice adventurer, Goat Lake promises an adventure that will leave you forever enchanted by the wonders of Idaho’s great outdoors.

Trail Name Location Difficulty Level
Goat Lake Sawtooth Mountains Moderate-Strenuous

Pioneer Cabin: Cozy Solitude amidst Epic Mountainscapes

The Pioneer Cabin trail near Sun Valley invites hikers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, with a cozy cabin nestled amidst the grandeur of epic mountainscapes. This trail offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world. The journey begins with a moderate hike through scenic valleys and lush meadows, gradually ascending towards the pristine wilderness of the Pioneer Mountains.

Upon reaching the cabin, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The cozy cabin provides a comfortable retreat, allowing adventurers to relax and recharge amidst the serenity of the alpine landscape. Whether you choose to soak in the peaceful ambiance or explore the nearby trails, the Pioneer Cabin offers an unforgettable experience.

Trail Highlights

  • Immersive wilderness experience
  • Breathtaking views of epic mountainscapes
  • Cozy cabin retreat
  • Opportunity for solitude and reflection

Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of nature as you set foot on the Pioneer Cabin trail. From panoramic vistas to the comforting embrace of the cabin, this hike promises an escape from the fast-paced world and a chance to connect with the untamed splendor that Idaho has to offer.

Trail Name Difficulty Location Trail Length
Pioneer Cabin Moderate Sun Valley 10 miles

Scotchman’s Peak: Panoramic Views of Lake Pend Orielle

For those seeking a challenging adventure, the Scotchman’s Peak hike in North Idaho rewards hikers with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the glistening Lake Pend Orielle. This strenuous trail takes you through rugged terrain and steep inclines, but the effort is well worth it for the breathtaking scenery that awaits at the peak. As you ascend the trail, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests and diverse wildlife, making for a truly immersive nature experience. The trail itself is well-maintained but requires careful navigation, so be sure to come prepared with sturdy hiking boots and ample water. Reaching the summit of Scotchman’s Peak is a triumph in itself, but the real treat awaits as you take in the sweeping vistas of Lake Pend Orielle. The sparkling blue waters framed by towering mountains create a picture-perfect backdrop that will leave you in awe. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and appreciate the natural beauty that Idaho has to offer. To fully enjoy this challenging hike, it’s recommended to plan your visit during the summer months when the weather is milder and the trail conditions are more favorable. Don’t forget your camera to capture the unforgettable moments and share the beauty of this hidden gem with others. In conclusion, the Scotchman’s Peak hike in North Idaho is a rewarding adventure for those seeking a thrilling and picturesque outdoor experience. With its strenuous trails and panoramic views of Lake Pend Orielle, this hike exemplifies the beauty and ruggedness of Idaho’s natural landscapes. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and embark on this unforgettable journey into the heart of Idaho’s wilderness.

Essential Information

For those planning to tackle the Scotchman’s Peak hike, here are some essential details to keep in mind:
Trail Difficulty Level Strenuous
Location North Idaho
Trail Conditions Varied terrain, steep inclines
Recommended Season Summer
Hiking Duration Full day
What to Bring Sturdy hiking boots, ample water, camera
So, lace up your boots, hit the trail, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure to the top of Scotchman’s Peak. Just remember to respect nature, leave no trace, and take only memories and photos with you. Happy hiking!

Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop: Backpacking Bliss in the Sawtooth Mountains

The Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooth Mountain Range beckons backpackers with its breathtaking views, shimmering alpine lakes, and the allure of an unforgettable adventure. This iconic backpacking circuit offers a true immersion into the beauty of Idaho’s wilderness.

As you embark on this trail, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic vistas of jagged peaks, rugged valleys, and pristine forests. Along the way, you’ll encounter a series of alpine lakes that glisten like sapphires in the sunlight. Alice Lake, with its crystal-clear waters framed by towering mountains, is a true gem of the loop.

The trail winds through meadows carpeted with wildflowers and passes by cascading waterfalls, providing ample opportunities for rest and reflection. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or a novice hiker looking for an exciting challenge, the Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop offers a variety of landscapes and terrains to satisfy your adventurous spirit.

The Highlights of Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop:

Scenic Views Alpine Lakes Wildlife Encounters
Experience breathtaking vistas of the Sawtooth Mountain Range, with its jagged peaks and dramatic landscapes Discover shimmering alpine lakes like Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake, perfect for a refreshing swim or a peaceful lakeside picnic Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of elusive wildlife such as deer, elk, and even the occasional moose along the trail
Backcountry Camping Challenging Terrain Photography Opportunities
Set up camp beside the tranquil lakes or under the canopy of towering trees, immersing yourself in the serenity of the backcountry Trek across rugged terrain, navigating rocky slopes and steep switchbacks that add an exciting element to your wilderness experience Capture stunning landscapes, vibrant wildflowers, and majestic wildlife in photographs that will make memories last a lifetime

Embark on the Alice Lake/Toxaway Loop and be prepared to be captivated by the raw beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains. This backpacking adventure promises to be a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for Idaho’s natural wonders.

Sawtooth Lake: Majestic Spires and Alpine Serenity

A hike to Sawtooth Lake unveils nature’s masterpiece, with its jagged spires and the enchanting serenity of the surrounding alpine wonderland. Located in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountain Range, Sawtooth Lake is a must-visit destination for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts. As you make your way along the trail, you will be greeted with breathtaking views of the jagged peaks and pristine alpine scenery that Idaho is famous for.

The hike to Sawtooth Lake is a challenging but rewarding adventure. The trail winds through lush forests, crosses babbling creeks, and ascends to higher elevations, offering panoramic vistas at every turn. You’ll feel a sense of awe as you reach the lake’s shore, surrounded by towering spires and the tranquil beauty of the alpine landscape. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and appreciate the natural wonders that await you.

Trail Highlights:

  • Stunning views of the Sawtooth Mountains and its jagged spires
  • Opportunity to immerse yourself in the serenity of the alpine wonderland
  • Photo-worthy moments at Sawtooth Lake’s picturesque shoreline

Remember to pack plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate hiking gear before embarking on this adventure. The trail to Sawtooth Lake can be strenuous, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Experience nature’s artistry up close and create lasting memories as you explore this Idaho gem.

Trail Name Location Difficulty
Sawtooth Lake Sawtooth Mountain Range Moderate-Strenuous

Borah Peak: Conquering Idaho’s Highest Summit

Embark on the ultimate adventure by conquering Borah Peak, Idaho’s highest summit, and savor the incredible views that await at the top. This strenuous hike is a favorite among avid hikers and offers a rewarding challenge amidst the picturesque landscapes of Idaho. Standing at a towering 12,662 feet, Borah Peak offers a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring vistas that will leave you breathless.

The trail to Borah Peak is known for its steep ascent and rocky terrain, making it a suitable choice for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling adventure. As you navigate through twisting switchbacks and scramble over boulders, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the vastness of the Idaho wilderness.

Reaching the summit of Borah Peak is no small feat, but the breathtaking views make every step worthwhile. From the top, you’ll be treated to an expansive vista that stretches out as far as the eye can see. Take a moment to soak in the beauty of the rugged peaks, deep valleys, and endless sky, and let the serenity of the surroundings wash over you. It’s a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and a deep connection to the natural wonders of Idaho.

So, lace up your boots, pack your gear, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Conquer Borah Peak and witness the incredible views that await atop Idaho’s highest summit. Explore the rugged beauty of this magnificent trail, challenge yourself physically and mentally, and create lasting memories in the heart of Idaho’s wilderness.

Trail Information: Borah Peak

Difficulty Level Distance Elevation Gain Estimated Time
Strenuous 7 miles (round trip) 5,260 feet 8-10 hours

Fred’s Mountain: Scenic Views from Fred’s Summit

Experience the beauty of Grand Targhee Resort’s surroundings by embarking on a moderate hike up Fred’s Mountain, where panoramic scenic views from Fred’s Summit await. Nestled in the heart of Idaho, this trail offers a delightful outdoor adventure with stunning landscapes and a moderate level of difficulty.

As you ascend Fred’s Mountain, you’ll be greeted with awe-inspiring vistas that showcase the rugged beauty of the area. The trail winds through lush forests and opens up to expansive meadows, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the Grand Targhee Resort.

Atop Fred’s Summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and marvel at the majestic scenery, including the towering peaks and verdant valleys that surround you. It’s truly a sight to behold and a perfect spot to capture memorable photographs.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a moderate challenge or a nature enthusiast seeking beautiful vistas, Fred’s Mountain is a must-visit destination. Plan your hike and witness the unparalleled beauty that Grand Targhee Resort and Idaho have to offer.

Table: Fred’s Mountain Hike Details

Hike Name Location Difficulty Scenic Views
Fred’s Mountain Grand Targhee Resort Moderate Panoramic

Natural Wonders and Exploration: Tubbs Hill and Caves Trail

Embark on a leisurely hike along Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene, capturing postcard-perfect views of the glistening Lake Coeur d’Alene, or venture into the mysterious world of lava tubes and caves on the Caves Trail in Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Tubbs Hill, located in the heart of Coeur d’Alene, offers a picturesque escape from city life. This easy trail takes you through lush forests and along the sparkling shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene. As you meander along the well-maintained path, be sure to pause and take in the breathtaking views of the lake. With its crystal-clear waters and surrounding mountain vistas, Lake Coeur d’Alene provides the perfect backdrop for a peaceful hike. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk, Tubbs Hill is an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

If you’re seeking a unique adventure, the Caves Trail in Craters of the Moon National Monument offers a fascinating glimpse into Idaho’s volcanic past. Explore the ancient lava tubes and caves that were formed thousands of years ago during volcanic eruptions. This geological wonderland will transport you to another world as you navigate the dark and mysterious passages. The Caves Trail provides both underground and above-ground options, allowing you to choose the level of exploration that suits you best. Witness the remarkable formations created by volcanic activity and marvel at the natural beauty hidden beneath the Earth’s surface.

Tubbs Hill Caves Trail
Location: Coeur d’Alene Location: Craters of the Moon National Monument
Difficulty: Easy Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene Highlights: Exploring lava tubes and caves
Trail Type: Loop Trail Type: Loop

Can I Hike the Trails in Idaho if I Enjoyed Hiking in Montana?

If you enjoyed hiking in Montana, then you’re in for a treat in Idaho! The state is blessed with some of the best hiking trails, just like Montana. Whether you are looking for scenic mountain views or exploring stunning waterfalls, Idaho offers a diverse range of hiking experiences to suit all skill levels. So, yes, you can definitely hike the trails in Idaho and continue your love for the best hiking trails montana has to offer.

Exploring Idaho’s Diverse and Breathtaking Trails

With a multitude of diverse and breathtaking trails, Idaho promises outdoor enthusiasts an unforgettable journey through its rugged landscapes and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

From the stunning alpine lakes nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains to the panoramic views of Lake Pend Orielle from Scotchman’s Peak, Idaho’s hiking trails offer a unique blend of beauty and tranquility. Whether you are an experienced hiker seeking a challenging summit or a beginner looking for a leisurely stroll, the state’s hiking trails cater to all skill levels.

One must-visit trail is Goat Lake, where you can embark on a moderate-strenuous hike that rewards you with breathtaking vistas and the opportunity to relax by the pristine alpine lake. If you prefer solitude, Pioneer Cabin near Sun Valley is the perfect destination. This trail leads you to a cozy cabin surrounded by epic mountainscapes, offering a serene and rejuvenating experience.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Borah Peak is a must conquer. Considered Idaho’s best hike, this strenuous trail takes you to the highest peak in the state, presenting you with awe-inspiring views that will leave you in awe. And if you’re looking for a moderate hike, Fred’s Mountain at Grand Targhee Resort offers scenic views from its summit, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.

These are just a few examples of the remarkable trails Idaho has to offer. With its natural wonders and diverse landscapes, the state invites you to explore its hidden treasures and create lifelong memories. So put on your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and embark on an adventure through the magnificent trails of Idaho.


Q: Are these hiking trails suitable for beginners?

A: Some of the trails mentioned are suitable for beginners, while others are more challenging. It’s important to research the difficulty level and prepare accordingly for each trail.

Q: Are these trails crowded or overcrowded?

A: One of the great things about hiking in Idaho is that many of the trails are uncrowded, allowing you to enjoy the serene beauty of nature without feeling overwhelmed by other hikers. However, it’s always a good idea to check for peak times and plan accordingly.

Q: Are there any camping opportunities along these trails?

A: Yes, some of these trails offer camping opportunities, especially those in the Sawtooth Mountains and other wilderness areas. Make sure to check the specific regulations and obtain any necessary permits before camping.

Q: What is the best time of year to hike in Idaho?

A: The best time to hike in Idaho is typically during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is usually pleasant and the trails are more accessible. However, spring and fall can also offer beautiful hiking conditions, depending on the trail and elevation.

Q: Are dogs allowed on these trails?

A: Some of the trails mentioned allow dogs, but it’s important to check the specific regulations for each trail. It’s also advisable to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them to maintain the pristine beauty of the trails.

Q: Are there any guided tours available for these trails?

A: Yes, there are several outdoor adventure companies that offer guided tours for many of these hiking trails in Idaho. These tours can provide additional information, safety measures, and a more curated experience for hikers.

Q: Are there any facilities or amenities available along the trails?

A: The availability of facilities and amenities can vary depending on the trail. Some popular trails may have designated camping areas, restrooms, and picnic spots. However, it’s always a good idea to be prepared with your own supplies, including water, food, and necessary restroom items.

Q: Are there any entry fees or permits required for these trails?

A: Some of the trails mentioned may require an entry fee or a permit, especially if they are located within a national park or wilderness area. It’s important to check the regulations and obtain any necessary permits before embarking on your hike.

Q: Is it safe to hike alone on these trails?

A: Hiking alone can be a personal choice, but it’s always recommended to hike with a buddy or in a group for safety reasons. If you do decide to hike alone, make sure to inform someone of your plans and be prepared with safety equipment, such as a first aid kit and a map or GPS device.

Q: Are these trails accessible for people with disabilities?

A: Accessibility can vary depending on the trail, but many of the hiking trails in Idaho may have sections that are not accessible for people with disabilities. It’s advisable to check the specific trail information and contact the park or trail management for more details on accessibility.

Q: Are there any specific rules or guidelines hikers should follow on these trails?

A: It’s always important to follow Leave No Trace principles while hiking, which include packing out your trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife and other hikers. Additionally, make sure to check any specific rules or guidelines for the trail you plan to hike, such as restrictions on camping, fires, or pets.

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