When planning the perfect pack trip for a specific group, one of the first questions we always ask is “how much time do you have?”. The next question typically centers around what the group is most interested in doing while in the back country, fishing, hiking, riding, ect. For a family or group of friends that are looking to do a four day trip that encompasses all of the above, you really can’t go wrong with a pack trip to Toxaway Lake.
Toxaway Lake is a large glacial lake located nine miles from the Tin Cup Trail Head. This large crystal blue body of water fills the valley and leaves spectators in awe. BUT, the scenery of Toxaway is not the best part! Toxaway is situated beneath two passes. The trail that cuts up and to the north leads you to the top of Sand Mountain pass. The views will absolutely take your breath away. The trail winds down the other side to Edna, Vernon and Virginia Lake. These lakes boast some of the best fishing in Sawtooth Mountains with multiple species of gorgeous trout just waiting to hit the end of your line! The trail that wraps around the inlet of Toxaway Lake and to the south takes you up to Snowy Side Pass. Snowy Side never disappoints as you gaze down at Twin Lakes and if you continue further down the trail you will find yourself peering down at Alice Lake.
Day one, you meet your guides at the Tin Cup Trail Head. The anticipation of the trip is palpable, not just from the expecting clients but from the guide staff, who wait all year to spend time in these mountains. You will get to watch our experienced packers load all of your personal gear and camping equipment onto our veteran pack horses. They will readily explain to you their knowledge of the knots and loops that have been in use since the dawn of packing history. The ride into Toxaway varies from the open hill slopes above Petit Lake to lodge pole pine forests. A stop at Farley Lake allows you to stretch your legs and enjoy a hearty lunch with the magnificent peaks looking down on you and the bright blue lake before you. The nine mile ride leads you to our base camp above Toxaway Lake. This tucked away camp offers solitude from the trail traffic and a gorgeous meadow to pitch a tent for the duration of your stay. A fresh spring bubbles nearby and the horses enjoy their meals from their high line area.
Day two and three, you awake to the smell of coffee as the guides have drinks and breakfast ready with a warm smile. Each day holds numerous opportunities for you and your group. You can pack a lunch and ride your trusty horses over the high mountain passes to fish the Sawtooth Wilderness trout or you can take a chair and a good book down to Toxaway Lake and enjoy the quiet beauty of the area. More of a hiker? Hike to the waterfall at the inlet of Toxaway Lake and scramble up it to get some amazing views that can only be seen on foot. Each night the guides will have the fire ring set up so that you can enjoy that campfire aura before snuggling into your tents and sleeping bags.
Day four, after filling up on good food and coffee, you will have a little time to take one last visit down to the lake. The guides will begin to saddle your horses and pack up camp. Once again, lunches will be packed and the trail will be waiting. The ride home will seem to fly by and soon you will be at the trail head meeting the packers as they unload your gear and put the horses in the trailer.
This once in a lifetime trip will not soon fade from anyone’s memories. The views, the food, the horses and the good company will follow you home back to your daily routine. You may find yourself day dreaming all year, like we do, about being back in the Sawtooth Mountains.
For more photos and a first hand account of a four day trip to Toxaway Lake from a return client and avid outdoorsman, click here.Read More