Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Scenic Driving

There are roads that wind through country so spectacular that they achieve special status. They pass through breathtaking scenery, historic places and intriguing landscapes. They are called National Scenic Byways, and three of them, the Sawtooth, Salmon River and Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byways, converge in Stanley. The 100th National Forest Scenic Byway, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, was dedicated in 1992.

Sawtooth Scenic Byway (Hwy. 75)

Ketchum/Sun Valley. Historical mining area. Sun Valley was America's first destination ski resort. Ketchum Ranger Station is located on Sun Valley Road. Lodging, food, gas, golf, and tennis are here.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area Headquarters and Visitor Center. Mile Post 136.3. Travel information, maps, trip planning are available. Open year round.

Easley Hot Springs. Mile Post 142.5. Hot springs, showers, camping.

Russian John Guard Station. Mile Post 145.6. Historical Forest Service guard station.

Galena Historic Town Site/Cemetery. Mile Post 151.0. One-quarter mile east of highway.

Galena Lodge. Mile Post 151.9. Groomed cross-country ski trails, mountain bike trails and visitor services.

Galena Overlook. Mile Post 158.9. Interpretive turn-out, restrooms. Overlooks Sawtooth Valley and the Salmon River.

Salmon River Headquarters. Mile Post 162.6. Beginning of the River of No Return, the longest free-flowing river the United States.

Pole Creek Cabin. Mile Post 164.9. Leave highway, drive 3.3 miles east on Pole Creek Road. Oldest ranger station in the SNRA, built in 1909.

Smiley Creek/Sawtooth City. Mile Post 165.4. Visitor Services, airport.

Beaver Creek. Mile Post 166.4. Visitor Services.

Alturas and Pettit Lakes. Mile Posts 168.5 and 171.4. Leave highway and drive about 2.5 miles west to each lake. Scenic lakes, bordering the Wilderness. Boating, camping, fishing.

Obsidian. Mile Post 178.1. Visitor services.

Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. Mile Post 183.5. Built to help restore salmon and steelhead trout to their traditional waters. Summer self-guided tours, exhibits.

Redfish Rockshelter. Mile Post 185.1. Drive west 0.2 miles. Prehistoric rockshelter used by bands of hunters 9,500 years ago.

Redfish and Little Redfish Lakes. Mile Post 185.1. Drive west 0.6 miles to Little Redfish, 2.7 miles to Redfish, the SNRA's largest lake. Camping, boating and visitor services.

Redfish Lake Visitor Center. Mile Post 185.1. Drive west 2.5 miles. Information, interpretive walks, evening programs. Open summers only.

Stanley Ranger Station. Mile Post 186.6. Leave highway, drive 0.6 miles west to station. Fire information, woodcutting permits, maps. Open year round.

City of Stanley. Intersection of Highways 75 and 21. Rustic Western town. Only incorporated city inside the SNRA. Full visitor services, Chamber of Commerce, airport.

Go to Sawtooth Scenic Byway for more on the drive outside the recreation area.

Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway (Hwy. 21)

Stanley Creek Wildlife Interpretive Area. Mile Post 125.7. Short interpretive trail offering views of the Stanley Basin wetlands.

Stanley Lake. Mile Post 125.9. Leave highway and drive west on Stanley Lake road 3.7 miles. Fishing, boating, trailheads.

Elk Mountain Overlook. Mile Post 125.9. Leave highway and drive west on Stanley Lake road 3.5 miles and stay right to lookout. Views of Stanley Lake.

Nip & Tuck Road. Mile Post 125.9. Leave highway across from Stanley Lake road, go 1/2 mile, turn right and continue. Scenic dirt road to Old Stanley Basin with abundant wildflowers during late spring and summer. Allow 30 minutes.

Park Creek Overlook. Mile Post 123.5. Spectacular views of the Sawtooth Mountains. Deer and elk are often seen grazing in the meadows below.

Grandjean Scenic Area. Along the South Fork of the Payette, south of the Sawtooth Wilderness. Visitor services.

Go to Ponderosa Scenic Byway for information on the drive outside of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area's boundaries.

Salmon River Scenic Byway (Hwy. 75)

Stanley Museum. Mile Post 190.0. Historical Forest Service ranger station, now a pioneer museum. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Community of Lower Stanley. Mile Post 190.6. Historical Salmon River town site. Full visitor services.

Sunbeam Hot Springs. Mile Post 201.0. Natural hot springs on the banks of the Salmon River, where 170-degree water mixes with cool river water for a refreshing and soothing dip. Historical Civilian Conservation Corps building.

Sunbeam Dam. Mile Post 201.8. Former hydroelectric dam built in the early 1900's to provide power for gold mining. Roadside information kiosk.

Sunbeam Village. Mile Post 202.5. Visitor services.

Land of the Yankee Fork State Park & Custer Museum. Mile Post 202.5. Leave highway and drive north up Yankee Fork road. Custer and Bonanza Ghost Towns and the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge give a glimpse of Idaho mining history.

Elk Creek Floatboat Launch Site. Mile Post 203.4. Popular launch site for Salmon River kayakers and floatboaters.

Indian Riffles Overlook. Mile Post 205.5. Views of federally-protected salmon spawning beds.

Torrey's Hole. Mile Post 211.7. Visitor Services

Torrey's Hole Floatboat Ramp. Mile Post 211.8. Critical salmon spawning area. Floatboaters leaving the river should not disturb sensitive gravel spawning beds.

Go to Salmon Scenic Byway for information on the beautiful drive outside the boundaries of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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