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Family Friendly Hikes Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho?

My husband and I have a 4.5 year old and an 8 month old. We try to stay within 2-3 hrs for weekend camping/hiking trips from Boise. We're looking for some beautiful and scenic yet short mileage hikes we can do with the kids. 2-2.5 miles round trip is what the 4.5 year old can handle without being carried. We have a Deuter Kid Carrier Backpack that she goes in other times but is getting to be heavy. Any suggestions would be so appreciated. 

We are planning to hike to the below lakes this weekend if anyone has any other suggestions.

  • Bench Lakes
  • Yellow Belly Lakes




4 Replies

@kaypaynay Welcome to the community!

We have a few folks from Idaho here in the community, we'll tag them here to see if they have some good ideas for you: @Rainbow @IDmountainmama @Keyzbackpacking @ModFamGlobal .

Hopefully they have some good advice!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.


Just a couple more folks who might have some insight into your question: @ScottieP @Idaho @IdahoAussie @Idahogirl71 @IdahoSteeler83 @ScottGH 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you, @REI-JohnJ, for the mention. I, too, am looking for day hikes in Idaho for a future visit. My daughter and son-in-law moved to Mountain Home in June and I've been drooling over the beauty of Idaho, planning a visit in the Spring.

I did found this YouTube video series about hiking the Sawtooth Mountains that highlights some short, easy hikes, but is worth the watch:

There are many good videos about hiking in Idaho and especially within a short drive from Boise. @kaypaynay, I would be very interested to hear what you end up doing.

Stay safe and enjoy!

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. –Aristotle

Hi KP! We just got back from time at Bull Trout Lake, near Banner Summit and the Sawtooths.  The smoke is really thick right now, but hopefully it will clear up enough for some late summer hikes!  I recommend the hike to Fourth of July Lake for a relatively easy hike, although it's closer to 2 miles one way.  I featured that as part of a larger post on backpacking in the White Clouds to Chamberlain Lakes, but you can see some photos, elevation, and maps here:

And even though it's not part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, if you're up for something a little different, there are some great, family-friendly hikes in the Sawtooth National Forest further south.  This is a hike we did earlier this summer, an easy 2-mile round trip around some pretty incredible rock formations at Castle Rocks State Park and City of Rocks:

We've been backpacking with our girls since they were little, and have finally retired our Deuter Comfort Kid Pack! We took it on some pretty fantastic adventures in Costa Rica, New Zealand, and all over the Pacific Northwest.  Good luck with your fall trips!

- Ben and Michelle, Mod Fam Global