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A trip into the Sawtooth mountains and a visit to Redfish Lake has been de rigeur for any visit to Grandma’s for as far back as I remember… beginning with a trip in ‘84 when my younger brother heeded the call of the wild spirits and disappeared into the forest for hours, only to be found munching happily on the assorted snack foods of a group of elk hunters he had surprised. This area still retains a wilderness experience despite numerous infrastructure improvements and new campground development. Of note, Redfish lake is within the 1416 square mile Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the first Gold Tier site in the United States. The result is world class spectacular night sky astronomy unimpeded by light pollution, and makes this area a top pick to do some star gazing or meteor watching.
Fauna is abundant in the surrounding area. Deer, elk, bear, marten, moose, and pronghorn antelope all made appearances during my last rip to the area. Fishing at the beginning and end of season might net you Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout, and Kokanee. The general store has some basic tackle, but the nearest gear and license is in Stanley.
The lodge, separately owned and seasonally operated under USFS special permit, has been in operation since 1929 and offers day rental bicycles of multiple types, horseback riding, boat/canoe/kayak/SUP rentals, a general store, a restaurant, and minimal WiFi and cell service, staying true to its roots wherever possible.
Pro tip: Enjoy the 17 1/2 mile lake loop hike, but if you’d like to split that distance or have other destinations in mind, the marina operates an on demand boat shuttle for hikers to the trailhead at the far end of the lake during daylight hours. No reservation is required, but you can call to schedule pickup.
The road is severely pot-holed. with many lengths being 4-ish MPH if you are towing a trailer. This road is mainly good for razors and toy haulers, not RVs. Many spots are 1 lane only. There are also washouts intruding into the roadway making it a little tight to get by for a pickup truck sized vehicle
I came here during the summer of 2020 with my family. We had a great time. It was relaxing and beautiful to be outside. The sunsets were nice it was clean and quiet during the duration of our stay. The campsites themselves can be a little cramped and we were tent camping. Other than that, it was great with easy access to the water.
We camped here in June 2020. There are clean vault toilets but not much else. The reservoir was practically empty. There were not picnic tables and the roads off the main road were not maintained. It was hard to tell if there were campsites there at all, but there were fire rings so we pulled in next to one and set up. One other camper came in later and set up down by the lake, but otherwise it was really quiet. Nice place to get away from everyone during a pandemic.
Wide open campground with lots of space to roam. A good base camp for other area activities such as hiking. Not a lot of privacy between campsites but the sites have some room in between.