Nearly 200 years ago, the first trappers to our area ventured over Galena Summit, creating a route that would become U.S. Highway 93 in 1926. Later, it was re-routed and named U.S. Highway 75 in 1977. It would also become the 100th national forest scenic byway- officially designated the Sawtooth Scenic Byway.
This 116 miles of pavement stretches through some of the most beautiful scenery in our country. Valleys, peaks, rugged mountains, and quaint little towns along the way. This historic highway will take you 3 hours to travel -and it won’t even seem like it. It also happens to pass through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). This area consists of 756,000 acres of beautiful mountain scenery. It also provides a habitat for many different wildlife species.
Plenty to see and do
The Sawtooth Scenic Byway stretches from Shoshone to Stanley- with many attractions along the way. You will want to take a full day to explore the area. Explore volcanic outcroppings and caves, stop for lunch at one of the many towns, stretch your legs at the Bethine and Frank Church Overlook near Galena Summit. Explore Redfish Lake, and conclude with a stay in Stanley. There are many options along this route for any curious sightseer almost any time of year. While parts of the route can become more challenging during fall and winter, it’s always best to check road conditions and construction schedules before heading out.
So what exactly does it take to become a Scenic Byway?
There is an Idaho Byways Advisory Committee which includes state and national agency representatives, local business leaders, and community members. The committee evaluates if the highway meets certain criteria- scenic, natural, recreation, historic, cultural, or archaeological elements- to name just a few.
Keeping it scenic
From Shoshone to Stanley, the Idaho Transportation Department appreciates and needs volunteers to keep the Sawtooth Scenic Byway looking its best. If you are interested in helping out with the Adopt a Highway Litter Program, please send an email to: email@example.com or visit Road Maintenance | Idaho Transportation Department. A BIG thank you to those who give their time to help keep this area looking its best!
To volunteer or donate to The Sawtooth National Recreation Area or to purchase a fabulous Goat Plate for your ride through the byway, visit Sawtooth Society.