To put it quite simply; camping at Imogene Lake has it all. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting such beauty at this lake, and the trek up to it, but it proved me wrong. On your trail, you will find yourself passing bridges, waterfalls, overlooks and peaks all round you! 

You will want to turn onto NF-209 off of highway 75, about 10 miles outside of Stanley, Idaho. You will then turn left onto 315, and you can either park at the lower or upper trail head for trail 097. When you park at the lower, you will be trekking 9 miles. If you choose the upper, you will be trekking 6.5 miles to Imogene. Now, I would like to tell you up front that if you choose the upper, you better have a high clearance vehicle because it's a very bumpy, rocky and somewhat intimidating 2.4 miles from the lower trail head area. Although, I was very impressed to see a couple Subaru Outbacks and Foresters make it to the upper... haha, so take that as you will.

Okay, we got all the directions and precautions out of the way, and now to the fun part!

We started at the upper trail head and made our way after we signed our overnight wilderness permits just a little ways out of the parking lot. We then set out on a pretty easy trail that met the lower trail about 1.5 miles into it. This led us about 1 mile to go that then brought us to Hell Roaring Lake which is every bit as beautiful as Imogene. The trail meets with trail 092 which you will follow to Imogene. We trekked along the left side of the lake, and we were surprised that there wasn't very many spots for camping. I wonder if the right side had more? Anyways, we continued on the trail that led us up a 1000ft gain which was tough at times, but bearable. 

From Hell Roaring Lake to Imogene, you will travel about 4.1 miles, and you will cross 2 streams and come across a waterfall that you will want to take a selfie with. When you get to Imogene, there are plenty of spots to choose from. Whether you want to be right by the lake, or on a cliff side overlooking the jagged sawtooths. 

If you explore the area around, you will find a couple more waterfalls underneath Mushroom Lake. Just follow the trail, or the sound! 

Have fun, and stay safe!

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water purifier
  • Food
  • Camera
  • Bug spray
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RT Distance 13 Miles
Elevation Gain 1700 Feet
Activities Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

about 1 year ago

Moderate Hike To Stunning Lake

I've been to several lakes in the Sawtooth mountains and this is a favorite. The hike to Hell roaring is mostly flat, and to Imogene is a modest climb. Took about 3hrs 20 min from lower trailhead. Even if you see lots of hikers (likely), there are ample camping spots with relative solitude. I'll be back for sure.

Best

Favorite Sawtooth Lake!


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