I haven’t done an Iron Man Race, and don’t plan on ever doing one…and this is why! I’ve got my own IRON MAN I do…the Iron Creek Trail in the Sawtooth Mountains outside of Stanley, Idaho (hey, it’s got IRON in the name—so it counts).
We hiked it last year, and I fell in love! I’d even go so far to say it’s my favorite hike ever (not counting Angel’s Landing in Zion). This trail held my interest from start to finish!
We hiked this trail as far as Sawtooth Lake. That was long enough for one day (4-5 miles one way, and I didn’t think any view would top Sawtooth Lake…so why bother?). I knew going back down the trail, my feet would probably feel it, so I didn’t want to add extra miles.
This wins for awesome hikes because of the spectacular scenery–from pine forests to meadows to rugged mountains…
…and even more rugged mountains…
…to alpine lakes. I could have sat and stared at this lake all day long! So stunning!
On most hikes, there are long periods where the view isn’t all that great…but the Iron Creek Trail never disappointed me. My soul was spoon fed gorgeous sites continually…and it energized me. I hardly felt those 4-5 miles over rocks and icy creeks.
Other things grabbed my attention…like wildflowers! I LOVE wildflowers.
Occasionally, huge horseflies would offend and try to throw me off whack, but I swatted them away (sometimes flailing because there were so many), and eventually they went back to Horsie land.
After we had passed two alpine lakes and gained a bit of elevation, snow covered the trail. We had to forge our way through to what we thought might be the trail. That was fun. The creeks were overflowing, so it covered the trail in spots and we had to ‘frogger’ across (most of us got wet feet because we’re not too good at Frogger. I used to be great at Frogger, but I digress).
We finally reached our destination…or at least we thought so. We were at a lake and it looked pretty and had rocks to sit on to eat our sandwiches, so we thought we were done.
How wrong we were! The kids went a little further to explore (my kids hike double the miles I do with their exploring). Soon they were calling us to “Come see!”
So we humored them and went to look at what had mesmerized them. I thought it might be a little frog or deer, or maybe even a black bear (yikes!). But this is what we found!
Wow-za-pa-looza! Paint me a picture. The view was magnificent, and it was hidden just about 100 yards from where we had eaten lunch. If the kids hadn’t explored, we would never have seen this. THIS was Sawtooth Lake (when we looked on a map later). Isn’t it the most beautiful backdrop of mountains ever?
I couldn’t believe we had eaten lunch at that subpar lake below when we could have eaten here. Oh well! I know now and will definitely wait five more minutes to eat lunch here when we hike this again.
If you live in Boise, you can do this hike in a day. Get up early in the morning and drive to the trail (it’s about a 3-1/2 hour drive). Hit the trail by 8:00 or 9:00 and you should be done by 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon…just in time to head down the road 10 minutes to Redfish where you can relax on the beach and dip your sore feet in the icy water while you grill up some hotdogs (the all beef ones).
Best hike ever! I’m not lying. So if you’re like me and don’t want to train to do an Iron Man Race, hike the Iron Creek trail instead…and you’ll be an Iron Man (with a mind full of beautiful images to last you the rest of your life). That’s better than running so hard you throw up, isn’t it? I think so.
- Sawtooth Range – Camping in Heaven (joyinthemoments.com)