Redfish Lake in Idaho

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Redfish Lake is a great family destination if you can get a campsite. I have taken my family camping here several times and we always have a good time. We usually join friends for a weekend of camping, hiking and paddling. This is not an adventure trip, just leisurely paddling with the kids. Redfish Lake is incredibly beautiful and it is easy to see why it is the most popular recreation area in Idaho. The water in the lake is crystal clear and frigid. You can easily see 30-40 feet down into the water. There is a small beach directly in front of the lodge and the water is shallow, 1-2 feet for a hundred yards or so. It makes a good place to wade even with small children. Keep in mind the water doesn't get above 55 degrees even on the hottest days.

Paddling Redfish Lake requires a little pre-planning. First of all, pick a campsite and make reservations!! It is very crowded throughout the summer and the Point, Outlet, Glacier View and Mt. Heyburn campgrounds are usually booked months in advance. (For reservations go to: Then click on the campground you want to check availability.

Even if you dont own a canoe or kayak you can still paddle Redfish Lake. Canoes and Kayaks are available to rent for a reasonable fee at the boat dock near Redfish Lake Lodge ( This is a fairly large lake and the water is very cold so stay close to shore if in a paddle craft. Powerboats are common on the lake, however most boaters observe the speed limit near the boat dock so large wakes arent a major problem. The views of the Sawtooth Mountains just past the point are incredible and worth a look.

There is a lot to do at Redfish Lake besides paddling. The visitors center and nature trail along Fishhook Creek is an interesting site and great for kids. In late summer you can walk along the boardwalk trail and see Kokanee Salmon (that give the lake its name) spawning in the creek.


Camping in any of several campgrounds.

Redfish Lake Lodge has rooms and cabins for rent but reservations are a must!

Check out:


$13/night camping fee.


This a popular area in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area with good signs to the commonly used camping areas. Take State Highway 75, from Stanley, Idaho, 4 miles south. Go west on Forest Road 214 for approximately 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Forest Route 213.


Sawtooth National Forest

Sawtooth National Recreation Area Visitor Center


Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location