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Stanley Area Adventures

Stanley Area Adventures

Recommended Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 132 miles/Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

Just two and a half hours from Boise sits Stanley, Idaho. Stanley is surrounded by amazing mountains and equally amazing trails. Stanley is a perfect place to take one of our campervans to see the spectacular mountains and lakes. We have been to Stanley numerable times and always have a great time in the mountains. We get a lot of questions about Stanley area camping and biking and where to go with our campervans so I though I would summarize some my thoughts. Plus our campervans fit in a number of spots that won't fit a recreational vehical. Reservations for the area campsites can be made on

Redfish Lake Campgrounds – These campsites fill up early during the weekends but you can usually find a spot during the week. Outlet Campground is my favorite since you have beach access and easy trail access. You can always go back to the main highway and camp in Sunny Gulch Campground if you want to be close to Redfish Lake.

Stanley Lake Campground – There are two main campgrounds at Stanley Lake and they both fill up very fast on weekends so you want to try and make reservations. If you are heading up during the week than you may be able to find a spot. There is some primitive camping in the area if you want to stay near Stanley Lake

Alturas Lake Campgrounds: Smokey Bear Campground halfway down the lake is my favorite, but it is not reservable so you need to get there early to find a spot. Alturas Inlet Campground is reservable and has a great beach for everyone to hang out on. Right up the road is the Alturas lake trail which is a great hike or bike.

Here are some Stanley Area Mountain Biking Suggestions. Each of the suggestions also has a link to more information and maps.

Intermediate Trails:

Fischer-Williams Creek Loop - Do you love natural flow? Have two to three hours to spare? Fischer-Williams trail will give you a perma-grin for the rest of day, moderate climbs followed by berms sculpted by nature's hand flowing through the trees over only 18 miles. Plus since this is Idaho you can soak in a hot springs afterwards to sooth any tired muscles.

Redfish lake Loop - This is a technical loop and a lot of fun with some good views. There are two climbs on this loop and the option to hike up to the waterfall above Redfish Lake. This loop will take you about 2 and half hours and is a classic.

Swamp Creek/Trap Creek Loop - This is a great loop to ride before you get to Stanley and has an amazing lake at the half way point. The loop can be ridden in either direction. If you plan to eat lunch during prime bug season you will want to bring along some bug spray.

Potato Mountain Loop - This trail experienced some heavy fire activity a couple of years ago, but has really bounced back to the amazing loop that it once was. Fischer-Williams Creek usually gets all the press, but this loop is equally fun and less crowded.

Expert Trails:

Big Boulder/Little Boulder - This is a classic ride that will take you high up into the alpine environments of the Whitecloud mountains. The climbing is long, but never grueling and the downhill is sublime. This is a big backcountry ride so it is best to come prepared for any and all issues.

Boundary Creek Loop – You want to start by parking a car at the Williams Creek Trailhead and then ride to the Boundary Creek Trailhead, since you will come out on William’s trail. From Boundary Creek Trailhead across from the Fish hatchery you will ascend for almost 2 and half hours. At the first saddle you will turn right on Little Casino and head towards the Casino Lakes. You will top out around 9000ft and stop for lunch. Don’t forget to look over your shoulders on the climb for one of the best views of Redfish Lake and the Sawtooths. From the top you will descend and turn right towards Warm Springs Meadows and Martin Creek. This descent is very rocky and a blast and will take us down into Warm Springs Meadow. From Warm Springs Meadow you will climb up to the Williams Trail and then Descend on the Williams Trail, which is the best part of the Fischer Creek Loop! At the bottom of Williams Creek Trail you will find your car. This ride takes around 5 to 6 hours.

Boundary/Little Casino – This is a shuttle ride so you will first need to drop some vehicles at the Little Casino trailhead. Then you will start at Boundary Creek trail and climb to the first saddle. From the first saddle at Boundary Creek you will turn left and head down Little Casino. Little Casino is really a hoot and is fast and twisty and you might get misplaced in one of the meadows where the trail tends to disappears. Little Casino will make for a long descent and the ride will take about 4 hours. 

Bowery Loop - You will start of off the Pole Creek Road on the trailhead for Gladiator Pass. The road changes here from 2wd to 4wd so this is pretty obvious where the starting point is. You will ascend to Gladiator Pass and then descend down the South Fork of the Salmon River to the Bowery guard Station. This is an epic downhill and your arms will be pumped by the end.  From this point you have a choice. Hike a bike up the Bowery Trail on ride on the East Fork of the Salmon Rd to the Germania Creek Trailhead. The time required for both choices is almost the same and it just depends on how much energy you have. Once you reach Germania Creek you will ascend up the creek along the trail and then up the dirt road. You will then descend Pole Creek Road to where you parked. This is a big ride and will probably take 6 to 8 hours.

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