For the first mile of the hike to Alice Lake, you'll walk alongside Petit Lake on a mellow level trail. Shortly after that, though, (about 0.6 of a mile) you'll start the strenuous climb that features several stream crossings, great cliff views and a gorgeous waterfall. As you make the solid uphill approach on the well-worn trail, you'll start to see the high wall of El Capitan reaching for the skies on your left. Although the trail switches back several times, keep your eyes on that prize as it will mean that you're almost there. When you finally reach it, there's a picturesque shallow pond reflecting the captain and giving you a taste of what's to come. You're only another half-mile to the shores of the lake, arguably the most beautiful in the Sawtooths. There are various spots around the lake to camp with views of the surrounding jagged mountains at every one.
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Trail of the Week
Open to: Hikers only
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Ideal for: An overnight or multi-night backpacking getaway
Trailhead elevation: 6,996'
Destination elevation: 8,596'
Length: 10.6 miles round-trip
Information: Visit the SAwtooth National Forest online at www.fs.fed.us/r4/sawtooth to find information about the Sawtooth Wilderness.