Unlock Idaho’s Best-Kept Secrets: 9 Hidden Gem Lakes In Idaho You Won’t Believe Exist

If you’re looking for some hidden gems in Idaho, you’re in luck today.

In this article, we’ll discover the 9 best hidden lakes scattered across the mountains of this beautiful state. 

These secret spots are tucked away in mountains and forests, waiting for you to explore. 

From peaceful waters perfect for a quiet day out to adventurous hikes leading to breathtaking views, Idaho’s hidden lakes are a treasure trove for nature lovers. 

Get ready to be amazed by these hidden beauties!

Goat Lake

Credit: Jacob Eckardt

Goat Lake, in the heart of Idaho’s rugged wilderness, is known for its striking blue waters and dramatic cliff surroundings. 

Located in the Sawtooth Wilderness, it requires a strenuous 8-mile round-trip hike from the Iron Creek Trailhead, with some challenging navigation near the end. 

The lake is a popular destination for those seeking adventure and isolation. 

Hikers are rewarded with stunning views, opportunities for high-alpine fishing, and the serene beauty of one of Idaho’s most remote lakes.

Imogene Lake

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Imogene Lake is a stunning, secluded lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness, accessible via a 16-mile round-trip hike from the Tin Cup Trailhead. 

This journey takes hikers through varied landscapes, including lush forests and open meadows, with breathtaking views of the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains. 

Imogene Lake is known for its tranquil waters and scenic camping spots, offering a perfect blend of adventure and solitude for backpackers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Boulder Chain Lakes

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The Boulder Chain Lakes consist of a series of stunning alpine lakes in the White Clouds Wilderness, accessible via a challenging 10-mile hike from the Livingston Mill Trailhead. 

This trek takes adventurers through some of Idaho’s most pristine and untouched landscapes, offering unparalleled solitude and breathtaking scenery. 

The lakes, each with its own unique character, are nestled among high mountain peaks and offer spectacular opportunities for fishing, photography, and backcountry camping. 

Expect a true wilderness experience, with clear skies and the tranquility of untouched nature.

Alice Lake

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Alice Lake, nestled in the Sawtooth Wilderness of central Idaho, is a gem reached by a 6-mile hike from the Tin Cup Trailhead. 

Surrounded by towering peaks, the lake offers breathtaking views and serene camping spots. 

The trail itself is a moderate challenge, rewarding hikers with wildflower meadows and alpine scenery. 

Visitors can expect crystal-clear waters, perfect for a refreshing dip after the hike, and panoramic views that epitomize Idaho’s rugged beauty.

Sawtooth Lake

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Sawtooth Lake is arguably one of the most iconic destinations in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area. 

Accessible via a 10-mile round-trip hike from the Iron Creek Trailhead, this lake sits at an elevation of over 8,500 feet. 

The journey offers spectacular views of Mount Regan and passes through Alpine Lake. 

Its crystal-clear waters and the dramatic Sawtooth Mountains backdrop make it a photographer’s paradise, with abundant opportunities for wildlife sightings and alpine exploration.

Alpine Lake

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Alpine Lake, a smaller neighbor to Sawtooth Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness, is reached by a challenging yet rewarding 7-mile hike from the Iron Creek Trailhead. 

This secluded lake is a tranquil oasis, offering pristine waters set against the backdrop of rugged peaks. 

The hike itself traverses through dense forests and alpine meadows, making it a perfect spot for those seeking solitude and a connection with nature. 

Expect stunning scenery and a peaceful hiking experience.

Bench Lakes

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Bench Lakes are a series of four beautiful lakes situated above Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. 

Starting from the Redfish Lake Trailhead, visitors embark on a 4-mile trek that offers varying degrees of difficulty. 

These lakes provide unique perspectives of the Sawtooth Mountains, with opportunities for fishing, photography, and picnicking. 

Each lake offers a distinct view and setting, making the hike a journey of discovery through Idaho’s alpine landscapes.

Hell Roaring Lake

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Hell Roaring Lake is an easily accessible yet remarkably scenic lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness. 

A 4-mile hike from the Hell Roaring Trailhead leads visitors through dense forest and open meadows to the lake’s expansive, tranquil waters. 

Ideal for day trips or overnight camping, the lake offers spectacular views of the surrounding peaks, fishing opportunities, and a peaceful setting that’s less crowded than other Sawtooth destinations. 

It’s a perfect spot for those seeking a moderate hike and the beauty of Idaho’s wilderness.

Fourth of July Lake

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Fourth of July Lake, located in the White Cloud Mountains, offers an accessible adventure with a 4-mile round-trip hike from the Fourth of July Trailhead. 

This scenic trail passes through wildflower-filled meadows and offers stunning mountain vistas. 

The lake itself, set in a picturesque basin, is a tranquil spot for fishing, picnicking, and wildlife watching. 

Its ease of access makes it a family-friendly destination, showcasing Idaho’s natural beauty without the need for a strenuous hike.