Smith Lake is not for the faint of heart. Known as the Queen of the Alps, Smith Lake sits upon her throne near the top of Sawtooth Mountain. There are many ways of getting to Smith Lake but there's really no one good way. I've been told that the Canyon Creek route is the fastest but from what I have seen from the summit of the Alpine route and from the Canyon Creek trail this route up Boulder Creek is NASTY. On one side of the creek is a super steep rock climbing maze and on the other side is an even worse steep brushy boulder field. Some people say that you can go up from L lake but I have seen the rock stacks and they are crazy! In my opinion the routes from Alpine Lake are the safest and easiest. Leaving the Trail at Alpine Meadows you climb you way up a hopefully dry creek bed.
Even though this is the easy way a rope will still come in handy for getting your packs up the many short rock climbs. After this first set of rock climbs the route becomes less technical but more obscure. You will have to push you way through brush for about another 1,500 vertical feet. Once you make it to the top of the pass you will be blessed with an absolutely awe inspiring view of Canyon Creek.
Now you will work you way around to the next pass along giant slabs of granite. When you finally make it to Smith Lake you'll be wondering "how do I get down to the lake?" Well, you don't, not from here.
There is one camp site you can get to on the west shore of the lake but it's very small and cut out of the side of the hill. What you should do is head on up to Morris Lake for the night.
There are a few very nice sights that would be worth spending a week at. There's no wood at these lakes, please don't have a fire. Also don't
even think about this trip if there's a good chance of spring thunder storms. Stuarts Fork can jump up four feet in just a few hours after a spring rain. Not to mention that Sawtooth Mountain acts as a giant lightning rod. This camp site at Smith Lake was totally destroyed a few years ago by lightning. On the way back you might consider going over the pass on the Stuarts Fork side.
This would be the easiest route to Smith Lake except for the last few hundred feet down to the lake is a total rock climb making the descent down to the lake very frustrating. From the outlet of the lake though it's pretty easy to spot the right route. After this first climb on the way back to Alpine Lake the route is very straight forward. Other than some brush near the Alpine Lake trail you be walking over sloping granite slabs the whole way back.