Snowyside Peak is the fifth highest mountain in the Sawtooth Wilderness of Idaho. It is situated at the junction of three counties - Custer, Blaine, and Elmore, and is the highpoint of Elmore County. The mountain is surrounded by numerous beautiful alpine lakes, several of which can be accessed by trail. The peak could possibly be climbed in a long day from the Tin Cup Hiker Transfer Camp TH at Pettit Lake, however it may be preferable to backpack to the vicinity of the peak and climb from a base camp. Great camping is available at Alice Lake and Twin Lakes at the southeast base of the peak.
From Boise, drive State Route 21 to Stanley. Turn right on SR 75. You may wish to acquire the parking pass at the Stanley Ranger Station before leaving town (see Red Tape). Drive south on SR 75 to the signed Pettit Lake road, turn right, then follow signs to the Tin Cup Hiker Trailhead.
The area can also be approached from the southeast. Drive northbound on SR75 from US20 or US26, or connect with SR75 from I-84 on US93.
From the Tin Cup TH, hike approximately 6 miles to Alice Lake, then on to Twin Lakes where the trail turns north and climbs to the saddle leading to Toxaway Lake. At the saddle ascend the ridge, first southwest, then west to Snowyside's south ridge, then turn north and stay on or near that ridge to the summit. Depending on route choices, some easy third class pitches may be encountered on the south ridge. In general, the east side of the ridge seemed easier than the west side. There was much loose rock on both sides.
A Sawtooth National Recreation Area parking permit must be purchased to park at the trailhead. The cost is $15 for an annual pass or $5 for a three-day pass. Obtain and complete the required Wilderness Permit at the trailhead.
When To Climb
The best time of year to climb Snowyside Peak is from July through September.
There are numerous campgrounds in the Sawtooth area. With the required Wilderness Permit, camping is also allowed in the Sawtooth Wilderness.
To obtain current conditions you may contact the Stanley Ranger Station at 208-774-3000.