The Sawtooth Mountains have long been recognized for their exceptional beauty and wild qualities. As the name suggests, this spectacular wilderness is comprised of hundreds of jagged peaks, 42 over 10,000 feet in height, with hundreds of high alpine lakes and tranquil basins. Within this dazzling landscape with its endless recreation possibilities, lie the headwaters of three major rivers. Deep, secluded valleys provide habitat for an abundant population of wildlife and many species of fish. Designated a Mandatory Class I air quality area by the 1977 Clean Air Act, the Sawtooth Wilderness has the clearest air in the continental United States. Many visitors come for the outstanding scenery, trout fishing, mountain climbing, hunting, hiking, horse packing and camping. Forty-two Wilderness trails cover about 270 miles. Some remarkable regions of the Wilderness are only accessible by off-trail route finding. Open fires are not permitted in some high-use regions, and group size is limited in the area to help stem the tide of human impact. On any given night, temperatures might drop to freezing, and in summer the mosquitoes have been known to provoke visitors.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Sawtooth Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Sawtooth Wilderness and Recreation Area - Public law 92-400 (8/22/1972) To establish the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the State of Idaho, to temporarily withdraw certain national forest land in the State of Idaho from the operation of the United States mining laws, and for other purposes