Cabin Creek Lakes, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

I woke a little earlier, in time to stroll down to the lake just as the sun hit the far shore, I think this is my favourite picture I’ve taken of Pettit lake.

Pettit Lake

After a flat 6 mile walk along Alturas Creek yesterday it was time for something more challenging, the Alturas Creek trail is not all that interesting, passing through a lodgepole forest and not even giving very good access to the creek, Biff did manage to get his feet wet.

Alturas Creek

I had started out to do this hike yesterday but the instructions for reaching the trailhead made no sense. Today I followed the same instructions because, you know, if it doesn’t work the first time… As it turned out the roads from the Alturas Lake end had all been closed some time ago, there was no trace of them at all and the trailhead is now accessed from a completely different road. This did at least give me a chance to explore some more areas to camp for free along Cabin Creek though they were mostly occupied. The Forest Service campground at Pettit Lake is only $8/night with my old man’s pass but is limited to 10 nights.

The hiking book lists this trail as 6.2 miles round trip with 2,100 feet of cimbing, but as it turned out that was just to the wilderness boundary and the mile beyond the boundary to the lakes was the steepest part.

The first few miles to the wilderness boundary were a steady climb through a mix of dense forest, lodgepole and Douglas Fir, with occasional wildflower covered meadows

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff found his way into Cabin Creek every now and then

Cabin Creek Lakes

Finally a lake came into view, Biff was pleased to see it.

Cabin Creek Lakes

Very pleased.

Cabin Creek Lakes
Cabin Creek Lakes
Panorama of first Cabin Creek Lake

I knew from the poor map that I have that there were three Cabin Creek Lakes but because the trail inside the wilderness area wasn’t on the map I didn’t know which one this was. There appeared to be a trail around the lake to the left so I followed that.

August 1st: looking at a much better map I see that I arrived at the middle lake of the three Cabin Creek Lakes and that the twin lakes are not involved, this map still doesn’t have a name for any of them.

The trail was narrow and covered with deadfall but eventually lead to little stream above the lake with a nice view, the lunch view!

Cabin Creek Lakes
Cabin Creek Lakes

However there was no other obvious trail out of that area so I backtracked to the lake and then noticed a dirt scramble up our of the lake area. A few hundred yards further and the second lake appeared.

Cabin Creek Lakes

There were a few faint trails out of that area so we took the one less traveled and found more water – was this the third lake?

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff didn’t care because just beyond it was this – mission accomplished.

Cabin Creek Lakes

This area had a fine view of the area under the high ridge, perhaps in a future trip I will climb up to the ridge, it looked possible from the south end of the area (behind me in this picture)

Cabin Creek Lakes

Once again following a faint trail we continued south not knowing if the other lake was there, suddenly there was an edge and there below were twin lakes. There was no way I was going to scramble down there without knowing of there was a way back down the mountain so they will have to be explored from below on some future trip. This was the high point for the day at 8,800 feet, strange to think that at home many of my summer hikes start above this altitude.

Cabin Creek Lakes

There was a great view of the valley we had climbed up, from the base of the big valley at the bottom.

Cabin Creek Lakes

We casually wandered about in the general direction we had come and got back on the trail at the first lake, Cabin Creek had several nice little waterfalls.

Cabin Creek Lakes

We marched down the trail, knees and feet increasingly complaining, we both drank large amounts of water as the temperature climbed to 80F. After 9.2 miles and almost 5 hours we were back at the truck.

One tired dog, and some tired dogs on me too.

Cabin Creek Lakes

From the road out we got a view of the area we were in, I think we went round the hump on the right side.

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff slept the whole way back to camp then collapsed next to The Caravan, once he made it inside he only left once more that evening and slept on the bed from 9pm to 8am, barely moving. This morning he is fine and pranced around the campground ready for more.

Cabin Creek Lakes

A good day’s hiking and viewing with perfectly clear skies all day after the storms of the days before.

Published by Bob Palin

Englishman in the wilds of Utah

One thought on “Cabin Creek Lakes, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

  1. I enjoyed your photos and description of the trail and lakes. Biff sure loves trails with plenty of water, but the snow was the big event of the day, for sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at
Get started
%d bloggers like this: