Toxaway Lake Drainage is one of the most beautiful diversified alpine valleys in Idaho; it has it all. Mountain Biking, Fishing, Climbing, Hiking and Skiing can all be had in this most unique valley. For those who like spectacular waterfalls, this is the place. The waters tumbling from both Toxaway and Edit Lakes present some spectacular aquatic vistas, especially in early season while fishing for both brookie and cutthroat trout can, at times be prolific. Mountain bikers are allowed to the Wilderness Boundary, just past the wilderness permit box, and can access the drainage from both the Pettit Lake trail head and Yellow Belly Lake trail head. Biking from the Pettit Lake side is substantially more difficult than the Yellow Belly side. Three trail heads to this drainage exist. They are reached by driving north of Ketchum on Highway 75 over Galena Summit to the Pettit Lake highway sign where a left turn is made. Continue on the Pettit Lake Road to the backpacker’s parking lot where the clearly marked trail to Alice and Toxaway Lakes are marked. To reach the Yellow Belly trail heads, make a right turn at the Tin Cup Transfer sign and proceed approximately 1.5 miles to the 1st Yellow Belly Lake trail head. Passenger cars can access the Pettit Lake trail head easily however the Yellow Belly side is not passable to the roads end. Even 4-wheel vehicles will have problems with this road which has, in some areas, 2-foot rocks protruding from its surface with very steep inclines. Driving your passenger car to the 1st Yellow Belly Hiking trail head and riding your bike on the road to the secondary trail head is your best option. This road is even difficult on a mountain bike while the foot trail to the wilderness boundary is considerably smoother and easier to ride. Bring wading attire for the bridge-less/log-less stream crossings. An easy 1 mile hike to Yellow Belly Lake for those who want a much easier stole is possible from the 1st Yellow Belly trail head. Fishing for Cutthroat Trout in both Yellowbelly and McDonald Lakes is marginal, while tributary angling between the lakes, especially between Farley and McDonald Lakes offers better success. A Few Cutthroats can also be found in McDonald Lake #2 as well as Parks Peak Lake #1, however no natural reproduction is evident in either lake and all fish should be released to maintain the small populations solely dependent upon stocking by the Idaho Fish and Game. Fish small with multiple Midge and Midge Pupa Patterns for the brookies. Caddis, Stone fly, streamer and wooly worm patterns have worked in the streams. Toxaway, Farley and Edith Lakes are best fished in the early morning and evening for their sometimes elusive brookies. Bownot Lake and the unnamed lower lake can be fished during the day (brookies) with your best results below the waterfalls. The upper lakes above Toxaway appear to be fishless. Climbing opportunities of Parks and Snowyside Peaks are possible from this drainage as well as multiple unnamed summits. Skiing off the slopes of Snowyside peak into Toxaway Lake as well as the unnamed saddle to the lakes southwest is spectacular. A ski off Sandhill pass into Edith Lake is also fun.
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