The Alice Lake & Toxaway Lake Loop is one of the more popular hikes in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho. Myself and four friends hiked the entire loop as an overnight. While camping at Alice Lake was a bit crowded, there’s no question as to why it’s so popular. It’s a gorgeous lake, and a thoroughly scenic hike.
I made plans to do the Alice Lake-Toxaway Loop so I could test out my new Kammock hammock. It was pretty rad, so be sure to read the review below.
- Distance: 11 miles out and back or 18 miles for the Alice- Toxaway Lakes Loop
- Trailhead: Tincup Trailhead at Pettit Lake
- Permit: required and free, available at trailhead
- Camping: campsites are available throughout the hike
- Dogs: dogs are allowed, leashes required July 1- Labor Day
- Campfires: not allowed
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Alice Lake: Stanley, Idaho
We began our hike from the Pettit Lake parking lot. I’m working at a lodge in Stanley, Idaho for the summer, and went with a crew of my coworkers who have the same days off as me. A few of us had to work until 5 pm, so we didn’t actually get started on the hike until after 6 pm. I figured that would still be enough time to get to Alice Lake before dark.
Alice Lake sits at 8596 feet, and there’s about 1600 feet of elevation gain to get there. There was definitely a long, steep climb to the lake. The trail is well marked, obvious, and easy to follow.
There’s five stream crossings along the way. Bring some water shoes because you’ll have to walk through a few of them. My friend Mel didn’t have shoes, went barefoot, and fell into one of the streams.
While the hike through the forest is pleasant, it starts getting really gorgeous when the trees open up and the mountains reflect on the water. We got there as the sun was low in the sky, so it was the perfect time for photos.
The only downside of our late start was that all the good campsites were taken at Alice Lake. It seems like one of the more popular hiking destinations in the Sawtooth’s because there were about 50 other people there. In comparison, the last overnight I did at a lesser known lake only had one other person.
I recommend getting an early start and finding a good spot before everyone else shows up. Or continue on to Twin Lakes or Toxaway Lake to find a less crowded camping area. Be sure to follow the rules at Alice Lake because there was a ranger there when I went.
Alice- Toxaway Loop
The next morning we continued the loop to see other lakes. We ended up on an alternate trail from Twin Lakes that was lots of fun. It was a crazy, steep hike up. Then we hiked through snow to get to the main trail.
There was still snow on the trail at higher elevations in July. It added an extra fun level to the hike.
We had a snack break then kept walking to Toxaway Lake. The trail does not stick close to the lake, so there were limited opportunities for views in that section. After Toxaway Lake, it sort of turned into a death march through the woods to circle back to our trailhead. We were all tired and ready for dinner.
This is a rad hike. If I did it again, I would leave earlier in the day so I could hike past Alice Lake and avoid the crowds and have less miles for day two. The entire loop can be done as a day hike, albeit a long one.
Kammock Hammock Review
- Hammock weight: 2 lbs., 8 oz.
- Sleeping pad weight: 16 oz.
Out of the box, some of the features I liked were the bright green color, how tiny everything packs down, and the stuff sack that’s attached to the hammock so it doesn’t get lost. The stuff sack is also nice because there’s also individual slots for the tent stakes.
Once I got to the woods, I picked out a few trees and started setting it up. There were no instructions, so I figured it must be easy. The straps have attached caribiners and different slots to clip into. There’s no knot tying involved; I just pulled the straps tight and clipped in.
There’s a bug net that zips closed, so I don’t have to deal with mosquitos bothering me at night. The net also zips off completely if I just want to chill in the hammock without it.
There’s a lightweight rain tarp that comes with it. My only complaint about the hammock is that the tarp has a total of six cords to tie to tent stakes. The tarp set up is more work than the hammock set up.
As far as sleeping in the Kammock hammock goes, it was a comfortable, cozy nights sleep. The inflatable sleeping pad has little friction ridges on the bottom so it doesn’t slide around like most sleeping pad and hammock combos. The inflatable pillow is fast to blow up. I didn’t really need it for sleeping because my head was already elevated in the hammock. But I put it under my knees, so they wouldn’t be overextended all night.
Breaking down the hammock in the morning is also super easy. The tarp and straps come down without any issues, and everything fits back into the stuff sack easily.
My final test for the sleeping pad in the morning was plopping it in the lake and seeing if I could float on it. I’m happy to say the sleeping pad can indeed be used as a flotation device.
Overall, the Kammock hammock, sleeping pad, and pillow is a great combination. The ease of use and tiny size are it’s best selling points.
Directions to Alice Lake
Set the GPS for Tincup Trailhead at Pettit Lake. You can grab a permit and start the hike from there.
I use the Sawtooth & White Cloud Mountains map. You can get it from Amazon or in one of the gear shops in Stanley, Idaho.
For a suggested packing list for this route, be sure to check out my long distance hiking gear checklist.