this is Steve at a mystery lake in the Payette National Forest
- Climb Observation Peak (elev. 9,151 feet) in the Sawtooths. This is the only mountain in the Sawtooths that has a trail to the top, according to summitpost.org. The hike from the Grand Jean Trailhead is 12 miles round-trip. Here are more details.
- Hike to Red Mountain Lakes, near Lowman. This area is closer than Stanley. Drive to Lowman and go north on the Clear Creek Road (USFS Road #582) for about 12+ miles to a junction on the right with Forest Road #515. Take #515 to the trailhead. If you like to fish, try catching trout in the lakes.
- Hike to Marten Lake, near Banner Summit between Lowman and Stanley. Watch for the trailhead just past Banner Summit. It's a pretty easy hike to Marten Lake from Banner Summit. It's about 5 miles to the lake. It's an out-and-back day hike unless you want to plant a shuttle vehicle at the Trap Creek Trailhead by Idaho 21, and it's about 10 miles total, and you won't have to retrace your steps. Again, bring your fishing pole if you like to fish.
- Hike to 4th of July Lake and Washington Lake in the White Clouds. This is a nice, short one for young kids, but more of a drive. Drive to the Sawtooth Valley either via Stanley or Ketchum, and watch for the 4th of July Road on the east side of the valley. The long dirt road takes you to a high perch where you start hiking to 4th of July Lake, the first lake. It's only a mile to this location. Keep going into the White Clouds and you'll come to Washington Lake, within view of Castle Peak.
- Hike to Snowslide Lake in the Payette National Forest near McCall. This is one of the more accessible lakes in the McCall area. The lake is only 1.5 miles from Lick Creek Road, northeast of McCall. Once at the lake, you could climb to Snowslide Peak (elev. 8,522) or just hike to the saddle to look into the Maki Lake basin.
- Hike to Boulder Lake near Lake Fork, south of McCall. This is a pretty easy one, too ... 2.6 miles from the trailhead. You take Idaho 55 to Elo Road, go east on Elo to Forest Road #403, and go east to the trailhead at Boulder Meadows Reservoir. It's an out-and-back hike, with great views of the mountains in the Payette Crest.
- Hike the Deer Point Trail to the top of Bogus Basin. If you don't have time to get out of town, here's a good one that I've blogged about before. It's a 5-mile loop that circumnavigates Bogus Basin.
- Take the chairlift to the top of Bald Mountain in Sun Valley or Brundage Mountain in McCall. These are great options if people would prefer to get a "free" ride to the top. Both resorts charge a fee to ride the chairlift. At Sun Valley, it's $25 for one ride, and $30 for a full day. At Brundage, it's $10 for one ride, and $30 for a full day. Both mountains have great trail systems to explore if you'd like to walk down.