Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Be sure to read the restrictions for the Sawtooth Wilderness area regarding campfires, camping at lakes etc. More information can be found online
This route makes for a fantastic 3-day loop, where visitors will be camping at lakes and traveling over high passes. Spectacular views are available within the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, and visitors will be able to see all the way across the valley to the White Cloud Wilderness. Several creek crossings make the trail entertaining with the opportunity to camp at a lake every night. Expect to see many other trail users along this route.
Need to Know
Rocky trail with 4 creek crossings that can be tricky during spring runoff.
There are a lot of rocky areas that could be ankle twisters. Just use caution in these areas.
From the Tin-Cup Trailhead at Pettit Lake, work your way 1/4 mile up to the Pettit Lake Cutoff Trail. From there you can head either clockwise or counterclockwise around the 17 mile loop. There is some great camping at Alice Lake, Twin Lakes, Toxaway and Farley Lakes. If you head up towards Alice Lake to start your run, you'll be traveling though old mature lodgepole pine and fir forests. You start traveling up along the creek which you'll end up fording in several places. During runoff, these creek crossings can be dangerous.
You then climb up into a high hanging valley where you start some long switchbacks up into the Alice Lake Basin. A couple of more creek crossings and you are almost there. There is good camping all around Alice Lake for your first night. Twin Lakes is about another mile past Alice and also has some good camp spots. From Twin Lakes, you pass over a 9,000 plus foot pass on your way to Toxaway Lake. This is another good spot to camp for your second night out. Farley Lake is another two miles below Toxaway Lake, and this is another opportunity for camping, but the sites are harder to find. The next morning you can head back out to the Tin Cup Trailhead via the Pettit Lake Cutoff.
Flora & Fauna
This is a beautiful high elevation lodgepole/douglas fir forest. Trilliums and lots of wildflowers in the springtime. Deer, elk, bears, pika, marmots, and lots of birds.