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Once the snow has settled into the mountains and down to the valley floor, all it takes is a beautiful sunny day to beckon out the young and old for a bit of recreating. Many Nordic skiers can be spotted along the Harriman trail. Their colorful hats pop out against the white snow, gliding through the serene Sawtooths.

Whether you feel up for a walk or perhaps a drive, here are some destinations and activities to keep in mind when exploring the Sawtooths.

Galena Lodge, Smiley Creek, and Stanley are destinations within the Sawtooths worthy of mention. Yes, the lakes, trails, and campsites are well-loved throughout the rest of the year, but perhaps they have earned a rest. Galena Lodge offers up full moon dinners, sledding for the young and old alike. Snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and overnight stays in nearby yurts are all activities to check out. Best of all, you can warm yourself by the large indoor fireplace with your favorite beverage and some tasty items from their menu. 

Just over the Galena pass, snowmobilers often congregate at the towns of Smiley Creek and in Stanley a little further north. These cozy Idaho mountain towns are less populated during the winter months offering the slower-paced, laid-back hospitality for which they are known. Snowmobilers can access many of the other nearby lakes in the Sawtooth Mountains. Be sure to visit the USDA Forest Service page at Sawtooth National Forest – Winter Sports: Snowmobiling for more information. 

Other Nordic skiing and snowshoe trails are available at Alturas and Redfish Lake. Visit North Valley Trails Winter – BCRD for information about these Sawtooth trails and others managed by the Blaine County Recreation Department. 

Other activities to consider this time of year include steelhead fishing, snowshoeing, and visiting nearby hot springs. Just remember to research so as not to trespass when finding springs. It’s also a good idea to always check road reports before traveling over the pass and check that your vehicle is ready for Idaho mountain winter driving. And remember, local guides are also available to provide a customized winter itinerary tailored just for you (or a group). Have fun, be safe, and welcome to winter in the Sawtooths!