Home to Sawtooth Adventure Company. Located in the Sawtooth Valley in central Idaho and sits at 6,250 ft elevation. Stanley, Idaho is surrounded by the Sawtooth Mountains, The Frank Church Wilderness and White Cloud Mountains. Idaho’s famous Salmon River of No Return flows past Stanley from its origin 30 miles up stream, on its 900 mile journey to the Pacific Ocean.
Stanley, Idaho summer weather
Stanley, Idaho has a reputation as the “coldest place in the lower 48”. While winters can be brutally cold, it gets its reputation for its cold summer mornings. It is not uncommon for Stanley to dip into the lower 30’s and upper 20’s at any point during the summer months. The fluctuation of temperature between 6am and 11AM can easily swings 60 degrees. This is due to the majority of land surrounding Stanley is above 9000 ft. The cold air pours into the valley in the mornings and a temperature inversion sets hold until the sun warms the valley floor . Stanley sits at the bottom of the Sawtooth Valley where all that cold air pools.
The holidays seem to bring a fury of questions about the river, visiting Stanley and exploring the Sawtooths. I felt it was a prime opportunity to help. After 20 years of helping friends, family and guests plan summer vacations in the Sawtooths here are a few recommendations.
Stanley, Idaho Vacation Tips & Hints
1. Plan early, lodging is your crux. Stanley’s saving grace to staying the small, chill mountain town Mecca…a limited amount of lodging. Stanley is a stunning place and as Boise grows (fastest growing city in the US!) finding lodging in Stanley will only get more difficult. Many places, once your in…your in and they will include you in any early booking opportunities. You can find a complete listings of ALL Stanley, Idaho lodging here
2. We joke….Do you know there are only 2 seasons in Stanley? Winter and July.
No doubt July is a breathtaking month in Stanley. June, August and September are also amazing and offer the same number of amenities and SIGNIFICANTLY less people. Planning your vacation outside of the month of July will significianly open up your lodging options, WAY less people at Redfish beach and a much shorter line at the Bakery.
3. Rule of thumb…June is Whitewater & hot springs. August and September means lake living, Mountain Biking & Fly Fishing.
4. If you have visited Redfish Lake Lodge you understand why it is our favorite place in the valley. At the same time, it gets very, very busy. Weekends are exceptionally buzzing as the weekenders escape the heat of Boise and fill out campgrounds to capacity. If you want stay at Redfish you will need to make reservations in early September for the following summer. Campgrounds reserve out 6 months in advance.
5. All this talk about avoiding July, I feel a little guilty. Why… Because 4th of July in Stanley is AMAZING! The whitewater is pumping, trails are in prime condition, the valley is GREEN and nightly live music at Stanley’s Velvet Falls Dance Hall. Not to mention, our favorite little town throws a BIG birthday party for America!. Stanley Idaho’s 4th of July is world-class and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Old fire engines, horse drawn wagons, kids on bikes and a HUGE water fight between rafts companies, all topped off with an amazing firework show under the Sawtooths.
Hard to believe that 2012 is all but in the books! 2013 will celebrate Sawtooth Adventure Company’s 13th season on the Salmon River. Every summer we get the opportunity to share this amazing corner of our country and expand our river family. Thank you, we are extremely grateful. We wish you all Healthy & Happy New Year!
Sawtooth Adventure Co’s annual training trip is a tradition. Every spring the SAC crew enters the lottery to pick up an early season middle fork permit. Considering SAC operates day trips on the Upper Salmon and the Main Salmon wilderness section, people ask why the Middle Fork? The MF is the perfect mix of technical rapids (similar to the Upper Salmon) and the components of a multi-day Idaho wilderness river trip like our Main Salmon Adventure. Not to mention tons of hot-springs and the opportunity to explore our own backyard.
Well trained, quality guides make all the difference . SAC’s training trip not only helps the crew sharpen their whitewater skills, but it is also a 5-day social experiment. There is not a better way to get to know your co-workers than on a wilderness river in Idaho. SAC’s new employee orientation occurs around a campfire while we hold our HR and marketing meetings between rapids on a raft. Senior guide staff has the opportunity to shape the rookie guides, while constantly learning tricks of the trade from each other. Guides refresh their swift-water rescue, wilderness medicine and culinary expertise in the middle of the largest wilderness in the US. The crew quickly gets to know one another on a personal level, that only 5-days on a river can offer. The teamwork and camaraderie gained through this experience benefits SAC every day, all summer long. Great guide teams are the #1 ingredient for great adventures!