Sawtell Peak

Sawtell Peak: a well graded gravel road to the summit

Sawtell Peak is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 3.017m (9,898ft) above the sea level, located in Fremont County in the U.S. state of Idaho. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of Idaho. Because of the steepness of the road, trailers are not advised.

Located in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the road to the summit, also known as Sawtelle Peak, is a well graded gravel road. It’s called Forest Road 024 (aka Sawtell Peak Road). Although the road is in good condition, it does climb quite steeply and has many sharp turns. Because of the steepness of the road, trailers are not advised. The road could still be challenging for those afraid of heights since there are several exposed areas. A normal passenger, however, will have no problems driving the route except during periods of extremely wet weather.

The road is well maintained, but receives a lot of traffic. It does climb quite steeply and has many sharp turns and switchbacks. Starting from US-20 road, the road is 18.50km (11.5 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 1.054 meters. The average gradient is 5.69%. At the summit there’s a flight traffic control radar station.

Always check the weather forecast before you start your journey: adverse conditions are common. The locals have a saying here: There are two seasons: Winter and July. Drivers could encounter abrupt snow storms. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather and chilly, windy weather even during the summer months. The road is closed between November 1st and June 1st. It’s maintained by the FAA during winter months. However, this is only for personnel associated with the facilities on the peak. During the winter the snow can be as deep as 25 feet on the mountain, and avalanche conditions are always dangerous on all aspects. The drive offers great views of the valley floor, mountain peaks and wildlife. The views from the summit are truly something you don’t want to miss. The peak is known for its beauty and is named for a perceived resemblance to a Native American chief's profile while napping. The peak has also been called Chief Rains in the Face.
Pic&video: oldbmxer66


NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.