Summer Guide: Top Things To Do in Stanley, Idaho


When is Stanley, Idaho’s Summer Season?

You’ve been cooped up in the house and working long hours all winter and spring. It’s finally starting to warm up, and the rainy days are dissipating. If you’re feeling an urge to travel somewhere new, to try an exhilarating outdoor sport, or to get away and stay in a beautiful cabin for the weekend, why not do all three!?

The summer season in Stanley, Idaho (Memorial day through Labor day) is perfect for tourists looking for something to rejuvenate their spirits by interrupting their daily grind. Stanley’s fresh mountain air and forest trees are the ideal antidotes since reconnecting with nature has been scientifically shown to reduce anxiety , slow down the body, and induce a sense of calmness. The Japanese call it “Shinrin-Yoku,” or “forest bathing,” and even consider it a part of their health program. Knowingly or unknowingly, these incredible health benefits draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to the town of Stanley, located at the basin of two major wilderness areas and within a federally preserved recreation area.

While that is a lot of people, they don’t all come at once, and there are plenty of opportunities and space for everyone to enjoy themselves, especially if you make reservations. In the summer, nearly every shop in Stanley is open for your convenience, most outdoor recreation is conducive to the warmer weather (apart from snow sports), and although the town of Stanley is small, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area surrounding it has plenty of space for people to disperse within its 756,000 acres!

Since you may feel overwhelmed trying to plan a getaway with such endless possibilities, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of our favorites and are publishing them here in this Summer Guide. Some suggestions you may be familiar with, and others may be a welcome surprise. Our recommendations suit the traveler looking for an outdoor adventure, a memorable event to attend (have you ever participated in a citywide nighttime street dance party?!), a five-star restaurant, and a place in the mountains to call home for the night.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What Are the Top Outdoor Recreation Adventures in Stanley, Idaho in Summer?

During the summer in Stanley, you can expect average temperatures in the 70’s, long hours of daylight, flowers to be in full bloom, animals to be out and about, the forest to be rich shades of green, a spectacular view of the Sawtooths, and an even more spectacular view of the night sky. All of this adds up to some fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation. Here are a few of our favorites:


When you think of Stanley in summer, you might begin daydreaming of fishing. With over 300 lakes in the Stanley Basin, the headwaters of the Salmon River, a picturesque mountain view, and world-renowned fishing, it is easy to understand why.

Top Places to Fish Near Stanley

The Middle Fork and Upper Main Salmon Rivers | Stanley Lake | Redfish Lake | Sawtooth Lake | Alpine Lake | Goat Lake | The Trail Creek Lakes

Top Fish Species In Lakes and Rivers Near Stanley

You can catch the following fish species around the Salmon Region (* Indicates always catch-and-release):

Arctic Grayling | Bass | Brook Trout | Bull Trout* | Crayfish | Cutthroat Trout | Golden Trout | Kokanee | Lake Trout | Rainbow Trout | Salmon | Steelhead | Sturgeon* | Sunapee Trout | Trout Hybrids (e.g., Tiger Trout) | Tiger Muskie | Whitefish

Always check with the Idaho Fish and Game on bag limits, special rules, open seasons, gear/bait restrictions, and which species are catch-and-release before you cast your line.

The following are some of the top fishing guides and resources in the Stanley region that can help make your dreams a reality:

Float Boat Fishing Guides

The River Company | Salmon River Anglers

Mountain Lake Fishing Guides

Sawtooth Mountain Guides | White Cloud Outfitters

Multi-Day Fishing Trips Guides

Aggipah River Trips | Middle Fork River Expeditions | Mystic Saddle Ranch | White Cloud Outfitters

Stanley Area Fishing Information

Stanley Fly Shop | View Steelhead Counting Stations | Idaho Department of Fish and Game Rules and Regulations

Fishing Licenses

Stanley Fly Shop | Mountain Village Resort


If you’re an avid angler, there’s a good chance you also appreciate hunting. Stanley, Idaho, doesn’t disappoint for either sport. Take advantage of booking a local outfitter to help with your bear hunts in June and your once-in-a-lifetime Bighorn Sheep hunt in August.

Best Summer Hunting Guides

White Cloud Outfitters | Mystic Saddle Ranch

Children biking on a dirt road

Mountain Biking

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) is 756,000 acres of federally preserved wilderness surrounding the town of Stanley, Idaho. Within are over 700 trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Below is a list of some of our favorite trails for mountain biking:

Top Biking Trails Near Stanley

Boundary Loop | Crooked River Trail Mores Creek Summit to Sunset Mountain | Elk Mountain Loop | Fisher Creek Loop | Fourth of July Lake Trail | Little Casino - Big Casino Loop | Redfish Lake Loop | Stanley Lake to Bridalveil Falls Trail

Top Summer Bike Rental and Bike Repair Shops

Balance Bike Works | Sawtooth Adventure Company | Redfish Lodge Adventure Hut

Best Summer Mountain Biking Guides

Sawtooth Adventure Company

Best Trail Guidebook and Map

Sawtooth & White Cloud Mountains Trail Map


Standard rock and alpine climbing seasons depend on where you are climbing but generally begin around June in Stanley. The climbs are said to be some of the best in the United States. For added fun, keep an eye out for summit boxes!

Best Easy Climbs Near Stanley in Summer

Little Fall Creek | Redfish Boulder | Super Slabs (Behind Redfish Lake) | Trail Creek Summit

Best Advanced Climbs Near Stanley in Summer

Barron Spire | Blue Rock Buttress | Classic couloirs and snow climbs in the Sawtooths, Boulders, Lost Rivers, and Pioneers | The Elephants Perch | Finger of Fate | Mount Heyburn | North and South Rakers | Warbonnet Peak | Thompson Peak

Best Climbing Gear

Sawtooth Mountain Guides | Riverwear

Best Climbing Guides

Sawtooth Mountain Guides

Guidebook and Maps

Summit Post | Mountain Project | Sawtooth & White Cloud Mountains Trail Map


The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is an incredible experience to be had. Areas within it boast the cleanest air of all the lower 48 states , the longest continental Salmon run, and a variety of alpine hikes. Here are a few of our favorite hikes and the resources to get you there.

Top Easy-Rated Hiking Trails

Fishhook Creek Trail | Lily Pond and Redfish Lake Creek Falls

Top Moderate-Rated Hiking Trails

Alpine Lake via Trail 640 and Alpine Way Trail | Bench Lakes Trail | Fourth of July Lake Trail | Hell Roaring Creek Trail to Hell Roaring Lake | Pettit Lake to Twin Lakes via Trail 095 | Sawtooth Lake via Iron Creek Stanley Lake Trail | East Fork of the Salmon River

Top Advanced-Rated Hiking Trails

Alice Lake, Twin Lake, Edith Lake Loop | Alpine Way to Stanley Lake Trail | Goat Lake and Goat Falls via Iron Creek Trail, Alpine Way Trail | Tin Cup Hiker | Redfish Lake Trail | Boundary Creek Trail

Best Hiking Guides in Summer

White Cloud Outfitters

Best Summer Hiking Guides

Sawtooth Mountain Guides

Top Summer Hiking Gear Rentals


Top Summer Hiking Pack Stock Rentals

Mystic Saddle Ranch | Valley Ranch Outfitters | White Cloud Outfitters

Horseback Trail Riding

Hire one of our local horseback trail guides who can take you to remote areas where you can truly appreciate the beauty of the surrounding wilderness. Options include half-day and multi-day rides.

Top Horseback Trail Guides and Rentals

A crowd of people around the Redfish Marina, on a boat dock

River Rafting

Idaho is home to 3,100 miles of whitewater rafting. That’s more than any other state in the contiguous US. Idaho is known for having some of the best whitewater in the world and should be on any paddler’s to-raft list! Adrenaline seekers flock from around the world to experience the eddies, chutes, and rapids of the Salmon River, along with the preserved wildlife and land surrounding it.

Here are a few of our favorite knowledgeable guides (aka Paddle Captains) who can help ensure you stay within the US Forest Services’ limit of launches, know navigable routes, and provide a safer river rafting experience.

Day Stretch Guides

The River Company | Sawtooth Adventure Company

Middle Fork Guides

Aggipah River Trips | Mackay Wilderness River Trips | Middle Fork Outfitters Association | Middle Fork River Expeditions | O.A.R.S. | Rocky Mountain River Tours

Main Salmon Guides

Aggipah River Trips | Mackay Wilderness River Trips | Middle Fork River Expeditions | O.A.R.S. | Rocky Mountain River Tours


Redfish Lake Lodge | Riverwear | The River Company | Sawtooth Adventure Company | Riverside Motel & Sawtooth Rentals

ATVs / UTVs / Motorcycling / Offroading

ATV/UTV season typically runs from Memorial Day to the end of September, depending on weather and trail conditions. Riding one deep into the wilderness offers an escape from crowds and the opportunity to see undisturbed wildlife. As a bonus, most rented ATVs/UTVs are equipped with GPS to ensure you find your way back safely.

Top ATV/UTV Rentals

Sawtooth Traxx | The Sawmill Station

Trail Map

Sawtooth & White Cloud Mountains Trail Map

Top Ways to Relax in Stanley, Idaho, During Summer

If soaking in a hot tub is your idea of relaxing, try soaking in a natural hot spring! Imagine all the benefits a hot tub offers — stress relief, muscle relaxation, better sleep, reduced pain, improved cardiovascular health — plus detoxifying, softening, and aiding in medical conditions (psoriasis and eczema) of your skin! Hot springs also have trace mineral absorption, which provides health benefits. There are plenty of hot springs near Stanley to choose from:

Local Spa

Mountain Village Hot Springs

Hot Springs in the Stanley Area

Basin Creek Campground | Basin Creek (Cove/Kem) | Bear Valley | Bonus | Boundary Creek | Dagger Creek | Elkhorn (Boat Box) | Mormon Bend | Sheepeater | Sitting Bull | Snake Pit | Trail Flat

Hot Springs North of Stanley On Highway 75

Lunch break Warm Spring | Owen Cabin | Slate Creek (Hoodoo) | Sunbeam | Upper Loon

Hot Springs West of Stanley on Highway 21

Bonneville | Deadwood | Kirkham | Pine Flats | Sacajawea | Tenmile

A band performing live outdoors

Stanley’s Top Summer Attractions and Events

In summer, the town of Stanley is buzzing with excitement. There are additional attractions around the city and an average of 90+ summer events. Whether you enjoy live music and street dancing, educational teachings, art, or looking at the stars, there is something for everyone. As proof, we’ve compiled a list below:

Top Stanley Attractions/Events Throughout Summer

Stargazing at the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve | Tent or RV camping in the wilderness | Stanley Museum | The Redfish Visitor Center & Gallery | Gerheim Gallery | Custer Ghost Town | Scenic drives around the SNRA and Redfish Lake | Wildlife & Wildflower viewing | Weddings | Yankee Fork Gold Dredge | Sawtooth Fish Hatchery | Sunset Appetizer Cruise or Pontoon (Redfish Lake Lodge) | Thursday Night Street Dance | Music on the Lawn (Redfish Lake Lodge) | Photography

Top Stanley Events Memorial Day Through June

Redfish Lake Lodge Run | Cowboy Poets of Idaho Summer Picnic

Top Stanley Attractions and Events in July

Sawtooth Forum & Lecture Series | Sawtooth Festival | Fourth of July Parade

Top Stanley Attractions and Events in August

Sawtooth Forum & Lecture Series | Annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival

A beer on a fence in front of a restaurant surrounded by people

Top Restaurants in Stanley, Idaho to Try This Summer

In a town that prides itself on providing top-rate service to its visitors, you can expect an excellent experience at any of the locally owned restaurants, diners, and lounges. Stanley's restaurant scene will whet any foodie's appetite with menus featuring gastro pub, bar, cafe, pizza, pastry, seafood, bistro, and international cuisines. The outdoor seating is some of the most spectacular in the state, with the rustic Sawtooth Mountains as the backdrop!

Top Stanley Restaurants Open in Summer

Kasino Club | Mountain Village Restaurant, Saloon, and Dance Hall | Papa Brunees Pizza Subs | Redfish Lake Lodge Limbert's Dining Room | Sawtooth Hotel | Stanley Baking Co. & Cafe | Stanley Supper Club | The Sawmill Bistro

Ultimate Shops In Stanley, Idaho for Anything You Need This Summer

Although it may feel like you’re far away from the conveniences of a big city, our local shops have got you covered for just about anything you might need while visiting Stanley.

Items Available for Sale in Stanley, Idaho Shops

Biking supplies | Clothing | Curios & Souvenirs | Grocery and convenience store items | Hunting & fishing permits and supplies | Liquor | Maps | Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) supplies and registration stickers | Shoes | Sporting goods

The Top Shops

Balance Bike Works | Gerheim Gallery | Mountain Village Mercantile | Redfish Lake Lodge General Store | Riverwear | Sawtooth Spirit | Stanley Fly Shop | The Sawmill Station

Where Are the Best Places to Stay in Stanley, Idaho During the Summer?

When you want to spend a day out enjoying the outdoors, consider using Stanley as a basecamp to return to at night for a warm bed and delicious meal. If you’re struggling to find a place, look into lodging alternatives like renting a camper van! As always, remember to recreate responsibly to help keep Stanley beautiful and free of human cause wildfires.

Hotels and Motels

Lower Stanley Country Cabins & Motel | Mountain Village Resort | Redfish Lake Lodge | Redfish Riverside Inn | Redwood Cabins | Sawtooth Hotel | Stanley High Country Inn | Stanley Town Square | Stanley Vacation Rentals | The Stanley Outpost | Triangle C Cabins | Valley Creek Lodge & RV Park

Vacation Homes & Cabin Rentals

Beckwith Lodge | French Creek Ranch | Ol’ Dredge Cabin | Redfish Lake Lodge | Sawtooth Vista Rentals | Torreys Burnt Creek Inn | Yankee Fork Cabin

Guest Ranches

Diamond D Ranch | Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch | May Family Ranch

RV Parks

Mountain Village Resort | Stanley RV + Camp | Torreys Burnt Creek Inn | Valley Creek Lodge & RV Park

Camper Vans


We invite you to experience your new favorite summer destination with your family and friends! Make the most of your summer and remedy those winter blues with a magical visit to Stanley, Idaho. The recreation is good for your heart, the food is good for your tummy, the wilderness is good for your mind, and the connection with others here for the same reason is good for your soul!

For recommendations on the top things to do in Stanley, Idaho, during other seasons, read our Fall Guide, Winter Guide, and Spring Guide.