Snowshoeing in the Sawtooths

Things to Do — By njensen on February 24, 2012 at 6:48 am

The Sawtooth mountain range is one of my favorite Idaho icons. The high, craggy peaks tower above deep canyons where rivers and lakes hide.

This past three-day weekend, I went on a snowshoe trip in the Sawtooths with several families involved with my son’s Boy Scout troop. We hiked in to an area just outside of Ketchum, Idaho, off of highway 75. The valley floor here is approximately 6,500 feet in elevation, and the Big Wood River meanders through meadows and aspens.

This a great place for an afternoon or snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the winter, as well as hiking and backpacking in the summer. The trails start at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area visitor center and head off through a flat, easy meadow. A gradual incline makes for an easy level of exertion, which you appreciate at this elevation.

We stayed at a winter camp lodge for two nights, with no running water or heat. Fortunately, we did have gas for cooking and plenty of firewood to keep us warm. The boys created quinzees and broke trails through four feet of snow. To me, this is the wonderful wild of Idaho, roughing it to extreme.

You don’t have to rough it to that level, since Ketchum and its many first rate hotels and restaurants are just a few miles down the road. Go out for some fun in the snow and head back to the warmth of your hotel.

Whether you take the extreme approach or the comfortable approach, outdoor Idaho beckons. Heed the call.

Tags: camping, mountains, snow, snowshoes