Hut Report: Fishhook Yurt in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains
The short stroll into the Fishhook Yurt meant one thing to our rowdy party of 12: a pony keg strapped down and dragged via plastic Walmart toboggan.
Nestled in a quiet meadow along the Fishhook Creek in Idaho’s rugged Sawtooth Mountains, the yurt is flanked by the range’s classic jagged peaks as well as idyllic rolling hills as far as the eye can see. With a gentle approach—four miles and about 300 feet of elevation gain—it makes for both a keg-friendly and accessible trip, ideal for big groups and families. While the quick approach can be blamed for debaucherous evenings and overpacking, don’t let the easy access fool you. In a prime position to access Sawtooth giants like Horstman and Thompson peaks, the Fishhook is an excellent jumping off point for anyone looking to cut their teeth in the alpine.
Aesthetic lines like the Gun Barrel and the Sickle would make the Fishhook a seriously fun place to camp out in the springtime, while low-angle tree skiing down low means you won’t get holed up inside if the avalanche danger spikes. Scenic walks and rolling slopes are abundant on both sides of the Fishhook Valley and well as the lower flanks of Thompson Peak, with ample opportunities for low-consequence strolls.
Fortunately and unfortunately, our New Year’s Eve trip didn’t have much in the way of avalanche danger. Less than a foot of snow on the ground meant the ski season had just barely started, so we tip-toed around the high peaks mostly concerned with the early season snow snakes lurking under our skis.
The sleeping structure is a unique setup, with space for up to 14 guests if everyone’s down to get cozy. Bunk beds and a wood-fired stove line a Mongolian-style yurt, which is connected via a covered walkway to the hut-like tent. Two more bunk beds, a kitchen, and a cozy wood dining table fill the hut, which is a cozy spot for a hearty dinner and game of cards in the evening.
Oh, and then there’s the wood-fired hot tub. It’s a labor of love that we were skeptical of at first, and then shocked that we almost passed up on by the end. The glorified bucket snugly fits two, filled with buckets from the ice-cold river then heated over a few hours by the wood stove underneath. Once it’s roaring, it’s really roaring—the perfect way to soothe tired legs after a long day of walking around the snowy hills.
Access the Fishhook Yurt south of Stanley, Idaho, off Highway 75. The pull-out is about one hour from Ketchum, and the first mile of the approach follows the unplowed summer road to Redfish Lake. Owned and operated by Sun Valley Trekking, you can book the yurt guided or unguided. If no one in your party has been to the yurt before, a mandatory hut orientation is required ($380) for Day No. 1 of the trip. Hut rates are $440/night for up to eight guests, and an additional $55 for each person (kids 6-12 are $25/night).