Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Payette National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
7 months ago

Its takes anywhere from 4 to 5 hours with breaks to complete. its absolutely beautiful went early October there was light snow but nothing unbearable.

backpacking
8 months ago

The views are amazing and the beach camping is all you would want. It needs to be emphasized how difficult the first stretch can be if you are backpacking. There is a lot of steep elevation gain before the trail briefly levels out into a meadow. Then there is some more uphill before dropping down to the lake. Enjoy!

backpacking
9 months ago

A beautifully strenuous hike up but well worth the effort. While ascending you will plateau two times and crest mountain ridges three times. If you're hiking with dogs access to water Will be after your first crest just a little over a mile up. Once you reach the lake,
The immediate campsites are very nice but used heavily, if you hike around the west side of the lake to the northside you will find more campsites and solitude. Enjoy.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike. First 45-60 minutes is a bit tough but lots of flat areas after that. The lake is beautiful. Hardly saw anyone and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

backpacking
9 months ago

It was a great trip, we started at duck lake trail and Hum lake. We passed duck lake went on ahead to hum lake. It was about 3.5 miles in and back. It was tough going down to hum lake with lots of blow down with trees. Great fishing if you make it down to hum lake. Lots of bugs, bring spray. Some deer tracks no big animals. Pack lots of water, you should fill up down at the bottom. My girls did this hike and they are 7 & 9, family friendly. The pictures are of Hum lake.

trail into lake either direction is in perfect shape. lots of hard work has obviously gone in to clearing deadfall. trails to the bomber crash site were in horrible condition. watch for Mamma Moose and baby at crash site. very very marshy conditions. in mid -late July. at upper end of lake.

10 months ago

Hiked 7-14 thru 7-16 and camped at the head of the lake. Snow is all clear, some flat areas are still wet/muddy. Lake is high this year, likely that the sandy beach will be water covered until next year.

Great hike, moderately strenuous just due to the short nature. It is uphill both ways, just like like my grandpa's walk to school. Totally worth either a day hike or an overnight.

Please note-- at the fork in the road, left goes through the meadows, but right goes through the steeper area. The map for this follows the right turn.

The trail was green, filled with wildflowers, bunchgrass, large conifers, and some small shrubs. Various bird calls, some deer, no large wildlife. Trail was exceedingly well maintained-- at least 5 bridges built to allow crossing, and some land-bridges built, too, over aluminum piping. Temperature was 70-80. We counted about 10-15 bug bites apiece when we got back to the car.


4 vacant camping spots up here-- only a 1 mile walk in. lots of available firewood for anyone with a little muscle.

We hiked this last year in June 2016. We hiked to the bomber which was a challenge. The water was high and we had to cross two rivers. It worked out because there were a lot of downed trees we had to hike over so the cold water was a welcome. If you're up for an adventure I'd say do it!! It took us from start to finish with a few resting points about 6 hours.

hiking
10 months ago

we gave it a try June 26. 2 miles in, lots of snow and lost the trail. we will try again in a couple weeks. beautiful anyway!!

hiking
10 months ago

Spouse and I hiked to Box Lake Saturday morning (7/1/17). Description rates it as "strenuous" but we felt it was somewhere between moderate to strenuous. 1st hour is on the steep side but the rest isn't too bad at all. Ran into snow (approx. 2-3 feet) in the saddle at 7,300 feet or so, but easily made our way to the lake overlook. Trail before snow is in good shape (wet in spots) and the 3 creek crossings are very manageable. Total time with a 20 minute rest/snack stop was 4 hrs and 15 minutes. All in all a great hike with beautiful wild flowers and views. Enjoy!

Beautiful! Hard hike but worth it.

mountain biking
Thursday, March 23, 2017

I enjoyed this trail. I would say it is moderate in difficulty but the last half that follows the river is a little tricky. I did this in 2014 and have it on my list for 2017 again. Skilled mountain bikers should have no issues with this trail.

backpacking
Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Loved the reward of this hike. Well worth it.

More great areas to ride ATV's! Idaho has everything to offer for the ATVer, hiker, horse back rider and even the walkers.
Great job!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I have rode some of these areas and they are absolutly beautiful and full of history.
Great job!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great day hike! Definitely not an easy hike but the views are worth the aching knees and glutes! It took us about 2 hrs to hike up and about an hour and a half to get back down with light packs. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much camping space is around the beach area so we're planning on coming back to stay a night. So beautiful!

hiking
Monday, July 25, 2016

The hike was great for my family of ages ranging from 3 - 60! We took our lunches and hiked through wooded areas and meadows before getting to the lake. We stopped there and ate our lunches at an available campsite. This was the perfect hike for an easy day hike. I did not fish it, so I am not sure how that is in Duck Lake.

hiking
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Great hike with a steep ascent at the very beginning and a constant incline for most of the hike. There is a beautiful meadow a little bit before you start the descent down to the lake. As mentioned by another, it is not an easy hike but it is well worth the effort for the beautiful views along the way and the lake at the end!

hiking
Saturday, July 16, 2016

Awesome trail with a cool surprise with the lake at the top. People that say this is an easy hike are bonkers. Steep going up and a lower body burner on the way down. Fun, but be prepared for the hard work up and back down.

backpacking
Monday, May 30, 2016

Good for a shorter hike. Not as scenic as trails in the Sawtooths, but no snow on the trail for Memorial Day Weekend.

hiking
Saturday, February 06, 2016

I did this trail in September 2015 with all the beautiful changing colors and not another soul in sight. I was the only person on this trail making it so peaceful and relaxing. Easy hike in and out with a few trees and creeks to jump over.

camping
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This was a great trail for our family's first backpacking experience. We camped right on the beach at Loon Lake and our boys (ages 9 and 11) loved swimming in the shallow lake, catching frogs, hiking over to check out the bomber and waking up to a moose right outside of our tent in the morning!

mountain biking
Saturday, July 25, 2015

Great ride. if you want to ride 20 plus miles it is recommended to start at Ruby Meadows and return to Chinnock Camp Ground. Bomber is a short hike left side of lake.

camping
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Great easy hike! Camped one night. Loon lake was beautiful and loved that there was some history there with the B-23 bomber plane wreckage. Not a bad spot to pick to crash a plane. All 8 men survived. Incredible! It's definitely worth the 2 hour hike!

hiking
Sunday, June 07, 2015

This hike was a pleasant one. The main loop and hike which is the 10 miles doesn't take you around the lake to the crash site of the B-23. Plan an extra 2 miles for this as well as a couple hours as the "trail" to the crash site is obstructed with hundreds of downed trees from the fires that came through this area a few years ago. If you make the trip in early spring, plan on getting wet if you want to get to the crash site, the water level is very high and the plane itself is in about 8 inches of water.

All in all it's a good day hike and the area is recovering from the fires a few years ago, lots of young growth and green, mixed with gray and charred trees.

hiking
Monday, July 21, 2014

I would give this 4 stars, but due to fires in the area within the last couple of years there are many downed trees on the trail. The area is recovering very nicely though. The ground is green and lush, just expect to see many burnt trees.

Also, note the trail does not fully loop around the lake! In order to get to the bomber crash site you must cross a creek on the far side (no bridge) and walk a through a thick, sometimes wet grassy area without a trail. I didn't learn this until after I had turned around so I'll be going back for the plane next year!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My very first trail! A few trees to jump over and creeks to cross but a lot of fun and beautiful lake.

hiking
Sunday, September 16, 2012

This is a great lake to hike into for many reasons! The scenery is awesome is just one reason among many others, but the main reason is the remain of a World War 2 plane that rest at the south end of the lake.

We discovered the Humbolt Mine on this trip. I added it as a POI to this guide. It is about a mile hike off the California Road. The map shows a shorter route to the mine, but we didn't take it.

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