Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Let's go hiking! Five of my favorite kid-friendly hikes in Stanley and McCall

Hi all,

The summer is fast slipping away! There's only a couple of weeks left before school starts, so time is running short to get the kids and family out of town for some mountain adventure in our state's top scenic locations in SW Idaho -- Stanley and McCall.

For my outdoor tip this week, I'm recommending five kid-friendly hikes in these cool, high-elevation areas:

4th of July Lake (courtesy
1. Short hike to 4th of July Lake and Washington Lake, Stanley area - This one is ideally suited for young kids because it's not a very long hike. It's about 1.7 miles to 4th of July Lake, and 2.8 miles to Washington Lake. Very easy hiking in a beautiful mountain setting in the White Clouds! Access the trailhead by driving south of Stanley to Iron Creek Road on the left side of Idaho 75. Take the road about 10 miles to the trailhead. Bring your flower book.
Drew and Quinn take a breather on the way to Alpine Lake
Gorgeous basin you climb through to reach the lakes 
Alpine Lake, the best spot for camping
Sawtooth Lake ... beautiful but not much flat space for camping
2. Iron Creek Trail to Alpine Lake or Sawtooth Lake, Stanley area - The Iron Creek Trailhead is located a few miles west of Stanley. Follow the Iron Creek Road to the trailhead and park. It's 8 miles out and back to Alpine Lake and 10 miles out and back to Sawtooth Lake. Alpine Lake lies in a shady forested setting. Sawtooth Lake is much higher with open views of the Sawtooth Mountains. It's a hefty hike to either location on a steep mountain trail, but your kids will do great. I also see a lot of young kids backpacking to Alpine Lake on this hike.  

Marsh Creek 
3. Marsh Creek fishing special, Stanley area - Fish for native westslope cutthroat trout on the Marsh Creek trail (single-barbless hooks only; catch-and-release) in this key tributary of the famed Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It's a 5-mile hike one-way from the trailhead to a glory hole at the junction with Bear Valley Creek. It's worth the walk if you're a diehard. Access the trailhead by taking Idaho 21 to the Lolo Campground and Bradley Boy Scout turnoff in the Cape Horn area. Turn left and proceed to the Lolo Campground. The trailhead is just past the campground.

Steve and Drew at Snowslide Lake 
Steep trail to Snowslide!  
Drew catches a little brook trout
4. Snowslide Lake, McCall - It's a steep two-mile hike on a rocky trail to Snowslide Lake, but it's a lovely forested lake with a bunch of small brook trout available for kid fishing. My son, Drew, and I hiked up there with Wendy and Huck last weekend. Had a great time! Took us about an hour to get to the lake at a swift pace.

Huckleberry Trail, Ponderosa State Park 
5. Huckleberry Trail, McCall - Ponderosa State Park built an addition to the Huckleberry Trail late last fall, and hikers and mountain bikers are really enjoying it -- for good reason. The trail runs alongside the east side of the peninsula, providing great views of this quiet side of Payette Lake. The trail starts off of the Fox Run Trail, best accessed from Pilgrim Cove Road. Follow the Huckleberry Trail along the lake for 2-3 miles until you join the main Huckleberry Trail. Continue on if you wish and enjoy a more deep forest setting to the top of Osprey Point.

There you have it!
Have fun!
- SS

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