If you’ve not been to Idaho’s Stanley Lake, don’t die yet.

Stanley, ID is a magical place, a bend in the River of no Return, the Salmon River. Just up the road to the south, the Salmon river’s headwaters start at the base of Galena summit. It’s a beautiful freestone river that is home for abundant rainbow trout and the occasional salmon that have returned to spawn after a year or two in the ocean.

On the way into Stanley Lake, don’t past go without stopping to look back on the Sawtooth from the river bed of the Salmon River. Just 30 miles up the road, the Salmon River headwaters start one of the longest stretches of un-damned rivers in the U.S.

Don’t drive into Stanley Lake without swinging by the inlet. On the way there, you pass a beautiful lily pond and are offered an outstanding view of Mount McKinley.

There is a great beach at the inlet. It’s the best place to get in the water, drop a line and start a wilderness hike into Sawtooth National Forest.