Starting at the Iron Creek Trailhead, the trail winds through timber before briefly merging with the Alpine Way Trail
just after entering the Sawtooth Wilderness at about a mile. After about 3/4 miles, Alpine Way Trail
keeps going, but this trail doubles back and starts climbing the north side of the Iron Creek drainage. After about a mile, you'll come to a crossing of Iron Creek. From here, you'll do a few switchbacks and 3/4 miles to gain the ridge and a spectacular view of Alpine Lake. Continue climbing with a few switchbacks and views until it levels off and you pass a small pond to arrive at Sawtooth Lake
as well as the junction with Baron - Sawtooth Lake #7478
. You should have almost 4.5 miles on your shoes by now and deserve a swim in the clear blue waters.
A final push as you climb around the north end of Sawtooth Lake
puts you at the summit of this trail in just 5 miles. Get one last look over your shoulder and drop into a rugged alpine valley spotted with tiny lakes, ponds, and marshes. Just under 2.5 miles from the summit, you'll meet up with Trail Creek Trail from the south and Observation Peak Trail from the west. You have options, but to stay on this trailhead north, you only have 7 miles to go.
FYI: You are now doing a section of the Idaho Centennial Trail (a collection of trails and routes that run from Idaho's southern border to the northern border).
In less than two miles as you drop into Stanley Lake, you'll see Bench Creek
Trail join you from the west. The trail mellows out and is an easy shallow grade the rest of the way out. You'll meet up with the Alpine Way Trail
again just 1.3 miles from the lake and the end of the trail.