Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Idaho Trails

The 20 Best Backcountry Lakes: Rock Slide Lake

Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and unwrap savings this holiday season.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

Now 30% Off.
$4.99/month $3.49/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+


*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

If you’re not already hooked on the electric feel of a wild trout taut on the line, you will be after the 32-mile Queens River Loop, which may as well be a pilgrimage through the land of the almighty cutthroat. The circuit skirts half a dozen lakes in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness, and Rock Slide Lake is the inner sanctum for both its healthy population of cuts and its sheer beauty. Jagged peaks frame the pool, so you’ll have a lot to look at if the trout make you wait. To get there, tack on a 4-mile side trip from the north end of the Queens River Loop on Benedict Creek Trail (#462). “There’s a primo camping spot on a peninsula on the southern side of the lake,” says longtime Northwest Field Editor Michael Lanza. “Stand on the edge of it, and you can see cutthroat swimming in the clear water below your feet.” Give yourself at least five days to knock out the entire loop.

Trailhead Queens River Campground (43.821010, -115.210084) Season June into October, but aim for late summer for warmest weather, fewest mosquitoes, and blooming high-country flowers. Permits Get a free, self-issued permit at the trailhead. Contactfs.usda.gov/sawtooth