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U.S. Forest Service

Intermountain Region Viewing Area


Thumnbail map and directions to the Viewing Area.

Camas lilies in the Sawtooth Valley. Camas lilies in the Sawtooth Valley. Photo by Kim Pierson, Sawtooth National Forest.

the Sawtooth Mountains with Salmon River in the foreground. Sawtooth Mountains with Salmon River. Photo by James Henderson, Sawtooth National Forest.

Guardian Buckwheat, Eriogonum meledonum. Guardian Buckwheat (Eriogonum meledonum). Photo by Kim Pierson, Sawtooth National Forest.

Sawtooth Valley

Forest: Sawtooth National Forest

District: Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Description:The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) is located on the Sawtooth National Forest and surrounds the lovely and historic town of Stanley, Idaho. The SNRA encompasses 756,000 acres and was established by Congress in 1972 “…in order to assure the preservation and protection of the natural, scenic, historic, pastoral, and fish and wildlife values and to provide for the enhancement of the recreational values associated therewith…” The SNRA includes four mountain ranges: the Sawtooths, the Boulders, the White Clouds, and the Smokies. This region has over 1,000 high mountain lakes and is the headwaters of four of Idaho’s major rivers: the Salmon, the South Fork of the Payette, the Boise, and the Big Wood.

The SNRA offers many attractions: hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and of course, spectacular wildflower viewing. The best wildflower viewing is in the late spring after the snow melts and the ground warms. The SNRA is habitat to three sensitive plant species that are endemic to the Stanley Basin: Stanley Whitlow Grass (Draba trichocarpa), Stanley Thalaspi (Thlaspi aileeniae), and Guardian Buckwheat (Eriogonum meledonum). In addition to the endemic species, the SNRA is also home to an insectivorous species, Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia).

Directions: Travelers are treated to a scenic drive en route to the SNRA from any starting point. There are a variety of ways to reach the SNRA. Consulting a map source would be the best way to determine the easiest route. For more information, please contact the SNRA Headquarters Visitor Center at 208-727-5013 or the Stanley Ranger Station, located just north of Ketchum, Idaho, at 208-774-3000.

Ownership and Management: Sawtooth National Forest, State, and private lands.

Closest Town: Stanley, Idaho.

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