Sawtooth Mountains, Range in Idaho

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Sawtooth Mountains

The Sawtooth Mountains are located in Central Idaho and were given their name due to their appearance, which resembles the teeth of a hand saw.

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  • The majority of the Sawtooth Mountain range in Idaho is within the Sawtooth Wilderness.
  • Activities in the area include hiking, backcountry skiing/snowshoeing, camping, fishing, and whitewater rafting.
  • Information concerning the Sawtooth Mountains and the Sawtooth Wilderness area can be obtained from Sawtooth National Forest (208) 737-3200 and/or Sawtooth National Recreation Area (208) 727-5013.


The Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho dominate the landscape and surround the little mountain town of Stanley, Idaho. The Sawtooth Mountains include more than forty high peaks that reach for the sky at a height of more than 10,000 feet. Nestled in the glacier basins of these mountains are more than 300 pristine, alpine lakes. In this area, which provides a glimpse of what the western land must have been like in the beginning of the last century, the summer visitor can enjoy many miles of wilderness wonderland. The area is known worldwide as one of the most pristine, scenic mountain regions, which is fairly accessible to the common person.

Location & Information

The Sawtooth Mountain Range is part of the Rocky Mountains located a few miles south of Stanley, Idaho and approximately 65 miles north of Sun Valley, Idaho. The majority of the mountain range is within the Sawtooth Wilderness.

Information concerning the Sawtooth Mountains and the Sawtooth Wilderness area can be obtained from

  • Sawtooth National Forest (208) 737-3200
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area (208) 727-5013


This well known mountain range provides many great places to hike, backpack, rock climb, mountain bike and go horseback riding. The rivers, which run through the area, also provide great places to go whitewater rafting and fly fishing.

Backcountry Skiing/Snowshoeing

If you are an avid backcountry skiing or enjoy snowshoeing in the backcountry, you may want to take advantage of the ski hut system found throughout the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Idaho. The ski hut system refers to open ski huts most of which are open buildings with running water, a place to build a fire, and room for sleeping on cots or wooden beds. You will need to bring your own bedding and food, but the huts are clean and completely free of charge.


Families looking for a way to enjoy the mountain range may want to look into fly-fishing or whitewater rafting. Both the Payette and Salmon Rivers start in the Sawtooth Mountain range, and are both are equally good places for fly fishing. Although there is no charge to fly-fish in these rivers, you do need to have a current fishing license.

Whitewater rafting

The Payette River and the Salmon River are excellent waterways for whitewater rafting.


A number of great hiking trails can also be enjoyed in the Sawtooth Mountains, usually during the summer, since in the winter many of the best trails will be covered in snow. In the summer, well-kept trails provide both short and longer hikes, from an afternoon to multiple days spent hiking the trails. It is also possible to hike away from the most popular trails and venture into the wilderness a bit. This is a good way to discover wildlife and have a unique experience.

Other Sawtooth Mountains Resources

Bitterroot Mountains

Large mountain range in western Montana.