Arguably the most beautiful place in Southern Idaho is tucked far away on top of a mountain. The mountain is called Mount Independence, and it hosts alpine lakes at the very top! This hidden gem is not easy to get to, but it is one of those places that will leave lasting memories of its beauty.
Start your Adventure
Oakley, Idaho is where the journey begins. Stop at Searle’s to get gas and ice cream to prepare for the trek! This is the last option for services before heading up the mountain. Take Basin Road to the east to get into the mountains. It takes about an hour to get to the trailhead, but be sure to have a high clearance vehicle. The road is rough, and is known to have popped tires. It is also only accessible in the late summer because of snow and mud. Because of the late snow melt, the best time to go is in July-September! The wildflowers will be blooming, and mostly everything is dried up. The entire mountain’s sides are covered in purple, red, yellow, and white flowers! Mountain Ranges are visible from above, as well as the Snake River Plains. Prepare to feel on top of the world!
Finding the Hike
Independence Lakes Campground is at the beginning of the trail head. There are restrooms and tables to make it an easy backpacking trip. To hike around all three lakes is 7.7 miles. To the first lake, it is 6 miles round trip. Be sure to pack plenty of water because it is long, and can be pretty steep trail at points. The trail is very shaded, so it is a great choice for a hot day! The trails are very well maintained and easy to navigate. It is moderately trafficked on the weekends, but not used much on weekdays. Be aware of your surroundings, there are cattle that roam the open range area and are very scared of you!
The land up in the mountains appears untouched, and needs to continue to stay that way. Be sure to always pack out what you pack in. The campsite is large, as well as the parking lot. Because of this, it is a wonderful place to camp! Remember to pack water. Lastly, check that all fires have been put out, and bring all the refuse back. Enjoy the hike and replenish your energy at Sophie’s Chatterbox for brunch, or Morey’s Steak House for dinner! They are located in Rupert and Burley, Idaho.