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Redfish Lake, Stanley

#4 of 14 in Things to do in Stanley
Water Body · Nature / Park
Redfish Lake is an alpine lake in the western United States in central Idaho. It is located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains in Custer County, south of Stanley.

It is named for the brilliant sockeye salmon that once returned from the Pacific Ocean in such massive quantities that the lake shimmered red during spawning season. Currently, only a small percentage of the wild sockeye succeed in making through the several hydroelectric dams along their route back to the lake to spawn. Sockeye must not be targeted while fishing and must immediately be released if they are caught.

The surface elevation of Redfish Lake is 6,547 feet (1,996 m) above sea level. The lake is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) long and 0.72 miles (1.2 km) wide, with a maximum depth of 387 feet (118 m), and 11 miles (18 km) of shoreline. The actual trail around the lake is 17.5 miles (28 km) in length.

The average temperature of the lake ranges from freezing (32 °F (0 °C)) to a high of around 62 °F (17 °C) in late July & early August. The lake freezes over in winter, with ice thickness of 30–36 inches (75–90 cm).

The peaks which frame the lake at its south end are

Mount Heyburn at 10,229 ft (3,118 m) to the west

Grand Mogul at 9,733 feet (2,967 m).Redfish Lake is approximately five miles (8 km) south of Stanley; a paved access road from State Highway 75 delivers motorists to the visitor area at the north shore of the lake.
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  • We have photographed here before with a beautiful light on the mountains at sunrise. Unfortunately, this time it was so so, probably because of the clouds in the east and the widespread smoke from...  more »
  • Redfish Lake is a beautiful lake with stunning views of the Sawtooth Mountains, named after the sockeye salmon that used to come there to spawn. There are campgrounds and cabins, boats, kayaks, and...  more »

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