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Getting the right photo of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley may seem like an easy feat. They’re big and seem to be right in your face anywhere you go in the Sawtooth Valley.

But sometimes you might be too close to get what you really want, like the Washington state visitor who approached me at Redfish Lake earlier this summer and asked where to get the best photo of the famed Sawtooths.

Well, the go-to place for me is the Park Creek turnoff, off Highway 21 about 7 miles before you get to Stanley driving from Boise. It’s north of Stanley just before you get to the Stanley Lake cutoff.

The Park Creek turnoff, which has an outhouse, is actually a groomed nordic ski trail in the winter.

It’s a great photo op in the summer with a wide-angle view of the mountains and the classic wooden rail fence in the foreground. The forest ridge between you and the mountains gives the photo some more detail. A forest fire burned through this area and that forest ridge is now blackened and gives more of a stark contrast between the creek meadow and mountains.

Experiment with daylight. Try some morning or evening shots. For some reason — actually it’s usually because I’m enjoying morning coffee leisurely in camp — I always seem to get there in the middle of the day when the lighting isn’t very good.

Anyway, this is a postcard photo — enjoy.

Pete has been writing about the outdoors in Idaho and the Northwest for decades. Give him a shout at

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