Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
8.5-12h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
26.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,397 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail is an amazing adventure in the Sawtooth National Forest that boasts scenery and seclusion. Explore lush forestlands, vast meadows, meandering streams, and idyllic lakes hidden in the unspoiled wilderness.

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Route Description for Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail

The Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Hike in Sawtooth National Forest is a high-effort, high-reward hike into the backcountry. This stunning adventure explores a variety of landscapes and demands several creek crossings, so come prepared to get your feet wet! Additionally, as this route is lightly trafficked, there are sections of overgrowth, making the trail difficult to follow at times, so using the trail GPS is advised. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and towel; the hidden lakes are quite tempting!

Setting out from the Prairie Lakes Trailhead, your adventure along the Prairie Lake to Miner Lake Loop Trail tracks southwest along the Prairie Creek Trail. Alternating between unshaded terrain and pine coverage, the path will ultimately reach the Prairie Lakes. Admire the beauty of the crystalline pools complemented by rings of towering evergreens, then continue southwardly, using the trail GPS. After some hiking, you will be diverted east to the Norton Lakes Trailhead. Here, the Norton Lakes Trail will guide you northeast along Norton Creek and up along a ridge overlooking a basin abundant with shimmering lakes.

Soon you will summit the southwestern ridge of Norton Peak. Beyond this point, you will dive down to Miner Lake. Take a swim in the alpine waters bounded by the ridges anchored by Norton Peak. When you are through luxuriating in the waters, travel northwest down Miner Canyon. Eventually, you will reconnect with the Prairie Creek Trail and retrace your footing north back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail Trailhead

The Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail departs from the Prairie Lakes Trailhead off National Forest Development Road 179.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Dispersed Camping

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail Elevation Graph

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Prairie Lakes to Miner Lake Loop Trail Reviews

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