Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Gateway to Idaho's High Desert. Headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management's central district and fire office and home to businesses, churches, and residences constructed uniquely of lava rock. Just north of Shoshone lie the Ice Caves, strange living glaciers in an arid lava desert. Guided tours explain the geologic and volcanic history of the largest cave shown, with a free museum full of Indian artifacts, minerals, and gems.

Ketchum & Sun Valley
Averell Harriman came here in 1936 to find a place for America's first ski resort. What he found was relentless sun, perfect snow, and a mountain just begging to be skied. Today, in addition to skiing, Sun Valley offers golf, tennis, fishing, and ice shows. Its sister town, Ketchum, which began with the 1880s mining boom, acts as the area's business district. Not to mention the tacit endorsement of its biggest fan, Ernest Hemingway, who is buried nearby in the Ketchum cemetery. Both the Visitor Information Center on 4th and Main and the Ketchum District Ranger Station on Sun Valley Road are open year-round with maps and brochures.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area Headquarters to Galena Summit
The Visitor Information Center for the 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area is open year-round north of Ketchum. There, you'll find information and exhibits on camping, hiking, biking, and campfire programs, as well as a Sawtooth Scenic Route cassette tour tape (which you can return at the Stanley Ranger Station, mile #186).

Heading north, with the Boulder Mountains on your right and the Smoky Mountains on the left, you'll climb to 8,701 feet at Galena Summit. Be sure to check out the overlook of the entire Sawtooth Valley as you descend.

Click here for a detailed description of this scenic byway as it passes through the Sawtooth NRA.

Sawtooth Valley Area
Smiley Creek Store is the place for fishing lures, flapjacks, and gas. Just past, at mile #167, is the marker for Sawtooth City, an 1880s mining camp, now down to a few collapsed cabins and a lot of history. Mturas Lake comes up on your left, a few miles off the Byway, and offers spectacular views, camping, fishing, and hiking. The Idaho State Fish Hatchery is located at mile #184. During the summer months, they offer tours daily that tell you how chinook, steelhead, and the endangered sockeye are raised. And finally Redfish Lake. Look for the sign on the left side of the road, and then be sure to stop.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 10 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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