Cabin Creek – photo by Erica Cole
Cabin Creek Lakes is an understated hike in the Sawtooth Mountains and this trail less traveled has its own rewards. The natural beauty of an approximate 8 mile roundtrip hike takes you through forests and meadows where all your senses are ignited. And best of all, there are five lakes. The adventure is finding them all!
The hike begins with the sound of the mighty flow of Cabin Creek soothing your thoughts. It’s nature’s lullaby. The constant rushing water coming from the higher elevations is a result of this winter’s record snowfall. The creek has noticeably expanded its banks carving a wider path to handle the overflow of moving water.
The hike is lush with green grass, lodgepole pine and Douglas firs. New vegetation growth mingled with the old-timers in the forest is a good indication the SNRA will be around for a long time. Let’s all do our part in keeping it wild – leave no trace!
There are beaucoup wildflower species decorating the landscape. The colors pop along the trail in all their brilliant shades of yellow, purple, white and red. Clusters of vibrant colors interlaced with green vegetation make it almost impossible not to stop every step for a photo op. Pace yourself or you may run out of batteries before reaching the lakes.
Wildflowers – photos by Erica Cole
A meadow bursting with sego lilies.
Sego Lilies – photo by Erica Cole
Don’t forget to check out your surroundings even when the natural obstacles of rocks and roots in the trail keep your focus on the ground. Breathe in the aroma of pine needles heated from the sun and the earthy scent of nature. Stop. Take it all in.
The trail alternates between shaded forest and sloping meadows. Small streams cross the trail throughout the hike. While your four-legged friend gets a gulp of water, check out the stunning wildflowers surrounding these streams.
Wildflowers by the stream – photo by Erica Cole
The trail has a steady incline the entire way. When you reach the Wilderness Boundary, you really gain some elevation. You got this!
And just when you think you can’t take another step……
Cabin Creek Lake #1 – photo by Erica Cole
The snow patches add an additional layer to this spectacular hike. Yes, it’s okay to make a snow angel — the mountains won’t judge you!
The second lake is at the source of the waterfall that flows into the first lake. Follow the trail along the east shore that takes you to the right of the waterfall where you will gain 270’ in elevation to the upper lake. Yes, this hike even has a waterfall!
Cabin Creek Lake #2 – photo by Erica Cole
Now that we’ve given you a sneak peak of Cabin Creek Lakes, does it make you want to experience this hike for yourself? You can! Use a topo map or a hiking guidebook to find your way to all five of these Sawtooth Gems.
Ready. Set. Hike!
Directions to Cabin Creeks Trailhead
Cabin Creek Road is located north of Alturas Lake on the west side of Highway 75 — look for the Busterback Ranch sign. Turn onto Cabin Creek Road and follow the signs on the dirt road to the Cabin Creek Trailhead.
Here’s a glimpse of Cabin Creek Lake #3
Cabin Creek Lake #3 – photo by Erica Cole
Blog written by Erica Cole