50 Wilderness Sites Across America
Mt. Regan and Sawtooth Lake, Sawtooth Wilderness (© Don Lowe/First Light/Corbis)
Redfish Canyon from Alpine Lake trail in Sawtooth Wilderness (Courtesy of Miguel Vieira via Flickr)
A lone flower among the rocks on the summit of Thompson Peak, the highest point in the Sawtooth Range (Courtesy of Flickr user Fredlyfish4)
The Salmon River and Sawtooth Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Courtesy of Flickr user Fredlyfish4)
Sawtooth range at dawn from Little Redfish Lake (© Kevin Schafer/Corbis)

Sawtooth Wilderness

Clean air, jagged peaks and alpine lakes

smithsonian.com

Location: Idaho
Size: 217,000 acres
Year Designated: 1972
Fast Fact: Sawtooth Wilderness, according to the EPA, has some of the cleanest air in the lower 48 states.

The Sawtooth Wilderness is a world of jagged peaks—hundreds of them, with 50 measuring over 10,000 feet in elevation. The area also encompasses nearly 400 alpine lakes, as well as the headwaters of three major rivers: the Boise River, the Payette River and the Salmon River. Designated as a Mandatory Class I air quality area, which heavily regulates the amount of emitted particulates allowed in the air, Sawtooth Wilderness boasts the cleanest air in the continental United States.

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