Adventured: 9 June 2016
Packsaddle Lake has also been on the list for a while, and I had no idea how close it was to where I was, and how easy it was to hike! This is probably one of the easiest ones to put on my repeat list, and I managed to tell interns this year about it in time for them to go and enjoy it to.
From the Rexburg area, take US 20 up to the ID 33 E exit and follow that road for about 22 miles. There’s an old sign of sorts that says “Hoopes Ehco Ranch” It’s kind of hard to miss. You’ll turn there. It turns into a dirt road and you’ll follow it for about 5 miles until there’s a fork – take the left more road like route. Another 2 miles bring you to a wooden corral with a street sign on the right that says Packsaddle Lake Rd.
*Note: This hike can be a wonderful day hike, or a quick afternoon adventure. At this point, stop wherever your heart desires. We kept going all the way to the tiny parking lot at the top, but some of the interns stopped further back at one of the campsite looking spots. There’s a beautiful meadow with wildflowers all over that we drove through but would be a great spot of a hiking break. We stopped on the way back down for a bathroom break. If you do decide to drive all the way up, it’s about another 2 miles until the last fork. Head left. The terrain gets really difficult so if you don’t have a SUV or Jeep I’d recommend parking near this fork area. There’s a lot of big rocks and crevices in the road. My 4 cylinder Ford Escape made it up just fine but low clearance cars should just park.
The road will take you a little less than a mile up to the top and you’ll get really great views of the Tetons behind you. Off to the left of the tiny little pullout, there’s a decently steep trail headed down. You can actually start to see the lake from there and it’s about a quarter to a third of a mile to get there. The flowers are all so pretty around the area!
Once at the lake, you’ll have to cross over a bunch of logs on the water but you can see the rope swing! When we went, there was a big group around the swing and a handful of people scattered around the lake. We bypassed the swing at first and trekked around the entire lake. There’s a slight trail around the whole thing, you just have to look for it in some spots.
Take bug spray! The bugs made some of the better spots to sit and observe unbearable. We got bit so much! I would recommend bringing your fishing pole with and heading to the far side of the lake away from the swing. There were a lot of good size fish biting at the bugs and one of the interns had some pretty good luck a couple days before I made it out there.
By the time we made it around the lake, the big group of high schooler had moved on and it was just a couple people still swimming in the lake and hanging out. Army man tried the rope swing a couple times but after he explained how cold the water was the first time, I chickened out and just enjoyed watching him do it. The other group had a friend that swam from the swing to the other side and back, but he had been in the water awhile and got used to the temperature. I’m a wimp when it comes to cold, and didn’t hear the end of it.
We headed back around 7:30pm, mostly because we were starting to get hungry and the bugs were getting worse as the day was ending. For getting up there around 3pm and taking our time, it was a great afternoon and I’m excited to go back next year. With a fishing pole of course. And maybe a longer hike. We didn’t really know how long it would take to hike and with the late start, we wanted to make sure we got lake time.