Explore the most popular camping trails in Targhee 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.

backpacking
15 days ago

This is a beautiful trail with, diverse scenery along the way. Only reason for giving it 4 stars is that its pretty popular and can get congested at times. Also when backpacking, good camp spots and firewood are a little sparse.

DONT GO HIKING HERE YET. We made it most the way up the mountain but the whole way up, there’s was still TONS of snow even though it was 75 degrees outside!! It looks deceiving haha, it starts out pretty dry but then get snowy real quick. We didn’t make it down to the lake, but from the view we had of it, it looked frozen still. We also had to park quite far from the trailhead because there was a huge puddle covering the road and we couldn’t drive through it in our little Subaru crosstrek. I’m sure this would be a great hike in July when the snow has melted but for now I’d hold off unless hiking through 2 feet of snow is your kinda thing! There was a beautiful view at the top but I don’t think frozen and bleeding legs from repeatedly sinking in the deep icy snow is worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

We got 5.4 miles away from the trail head in our little Toyota Camry and there is a large hill that is basically a mud hill. I went half way up but started to slide. Maybe I’ll bring a 4x4 next time

backpacking
2 months ago

It's a heavily traveled trail and a great one to start on. We usually hit this one in June each year for an overnight experience and the fishing in the upper lake is usually pretty good! Keep an eye out for moose and deer!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great weekend backpacking destination.

One of my favorites. I often continue on to the falls.

The hike there is beautiful, it's a little difficult to get down to the lake but worth it. There was quite a bit of people there already when I went (during summer of 2016)

hiking
7 months ago

The hike up to Aldous Lake was easy and the lake was beautiful. The tall pines we're fantastic and well worth the trip by themselves. Hancock Lake, the upper lake, was much more difficult to get to, but was still a great hike. Well worth the extra effort.

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous views of the river the whole way! Super easy flat trail. We were the only ones on it since it's mid September and just finished raining and was on the chilly side. Love the rock walls that line the river.... makes for some beautiful pictures!

Absolutely Beautiful!!!

We just went to the lower lake. Really fun trail. Gradual incline to the lower lake. Plenty of places to rest. The trail is mostly in the shade and has beautiful views the entire way.

hiking
8 months ago

If you're heading to the upper Palisades lake, it's 100% worth the extra effort to head up Waterfall Canyon.

I would recommend planning your hike for late June or early July. There is a spring fed waterfall that runs year round, but if you can catch the end of the spring runoff, a second spectacular cascading waterfall will be tumbling down the opposite wall of the canyon.

As with all areas in the Snake River range, watch for black bears. They tend to be shy and avoid people, but if you're lucky you'll spot one grazing for berries on the hill sides.

If an out and back hike is not your thing, you can follow the trail up through the top of the basin and catch the Waterfall Crest trail and Lake canyon trail back down to the lower Palisades lake (although note that these parts of the trail are a little more strenuous, and the trail down Lake canyon is pretty easy to lose).

backpacking
8 months ago

First of all, when the description says heavily used, it's not joking around. The first four miles of the trail (to the lower lake) will see a lot of traffic on the weekends in the summer, mostly due to the relative ease of the trail and the views along the way. Beyond the lower lake, the traffic drops off quite a bit.

The first four miles offer views of the creek. Mountain goats can often be seen on the canyon walls. The lower lake isn't anything too spectacular, though there is a nice resting area.

Between the lower and upper lakes, keep an eye out for moose in the marshy areas. At roughly six miles in, the trail splits. If you enjoy water crossings, you can continue on up Palisades creek. Otherwise, you'll cross the bridge and take a few switchbacks to the upper lake.

The trail along the upper lake will have you in the direct sunlight. However, once you reach the far end of the upper lake, there are several great camp sites. The forest service has even installed a vault toilet.

If you've come this far, the additional three miles up waterfall canyon is worth the effort, particularly in the late spring or early summer when the snow runoff produces a second cascading waterfall on the opposite side of the canyon. One can even take the waterfall canyon trail up to the top of the basin, where it connects with Austin canyon (which can take you over toward Big Elk Creek) and the Waterfall Crest trail, which at the crest connects to the Sheep Creek trail and the Lake Canyon trail, the latter taking you back down to the Lower Palisades lake (caution: this trail will likely be overgrown and GPS is strongly recommended).

birding
8 months ago

Many large and small birds - grouse, hawks, etc. there are also many eagles nests in dead pines- Just gotta look up. When you get to the end where it over looks the falls, look left while sitting on the bench and the nest may still be there. Pretty flat land, nothing strenuous at all. After the bench, there's a trail that continues down towards the water.

Great hike

birding
8 months ago

Scenic trail that parallels the Henry's Fork River. Observed lots of wildlife and bird species. Saw ospreys, Western Tanagers, ruffed grouse, Green Tailed Towhee, yellow warblers, mountain chickadees, northern flickers, bald eagle, red tailed hawk, Townsend's Solitaire, and even a Townsend's Warbler. Hiked to where we could see the waterfall, which is across the river. Great hike, beautiful woods and scenery, and not too much elevation change.

Liked this hike. It follows the stream the whole way and is very scenic. Elevation gain is gradual. You can fish the stream if you want

beautiful hike, the upper lake is totally worth it and the water is great to swim in during the warm season! took us about 5.5-6 hours to complete with lunch included! bring sunscreen and a camera, you won't regret either!

Started hiking a few miles before to make the hike longer. Beautiful scenery and very clear water. Watching the bald eagle fly by was the icing on the cake!

Great for a day hike or an overnighter.

hiking
9 months ago

The lake is pretty and you can swim in it if you can stand chilly water. However, if you don't have an all wheel drive, I don't recommend this trail. You'll have to park at bottom of the hill and it's at least a couple miles up a rough road to the trailhead without much scenery.

Very nice hike; the trail is well maintained and mostly in the shade, which is very nice. All stream crossings have bridges. Quite a few others on the trail today, but it is a Friday.

backpacking
9 months ago

Awesome trail up through a canyon following the creek to 2 lakes. Great fishing and camping, some prime Idaho backcountry. It is a popular trail but there is a reason for that ;)

2 miles with fat tire bike, sat on gravel slope at rivers edge then turned back. I had to walk with the bike so much a couple hiking for an overnight camp passed me. Coming back was fun had to dismount more for hikers with children nonetheless it's a beautiful creek.

I wonder if anyone white water paddles the creek. I didn't see any blockages or situations that may trap a paddler, but could not view the entire creek.

At my start and 1st hour I talked with 4 bikers (together but separated) coming down, made it to the fall but started at 7am and described it as very difficult with rock slides and trees over the path. These were young fit bikers and they were exhausted. I'm 68, not even intermediate in terms of this style of mountain biking and I found it too difficult with many-many rocks, huge roots, blind corners, and a rock slide across the path. All manageable coming down but slower than fast pased hiking with gear going up. A young couple showed me how slow I was as they kept catching up to me and then left me in their dust.

Lots of families, incapable little children, babes in arms and elementary school age kids beaten feet with their folks. Bikers cannot ride through groups of 4 to 10 (tiny children) and a good number of dogs all on leashes. Horse dropping but didn't see any horseback riders

If I go back it will be hiking with plans for overnight or two. Bike it early if you are strong of legs, shoulders/arms and aerobics. Wear a helmet of course.

Bear area so bring your spray.

The trail is taken good care of and over 50% of the trail is in the shade. The hike runs along the creek the whole time. Beautiful and scenic. Some rocky spots, but manageable. Nice hike.

great trail. make sure to use the rope swing at the upper lake.

This was a really fun hike and a beautiful trail. The trail goes along the creek the whole way up to the lake with several bridge crossings. We wanted to go fishing on the lake (lower palisades) but it is surrounded by brush and we didn't find any good fishing spots.

It was a good hike, 2.5 hours up with a 6 year old and a 1.5 year old. Stopped and had a picnic, and hiked down. The river was fast flowing and beautiful. It was a little tough for us, as it was our first hike. Make sure you bring enough water!

hiking
9 months ago

Love this hike!

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