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Big Elk Creek Trail is a 10.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Irwin, Idaho that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.2 miles Elevation Gain: 977 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Easy, wide trail for the 1st half, then two or three deep smooth rock water crossings for horses. Not for novice horse riders beyond this point. Trail narrow for 6 plus miles for the advance hiker or rider. Worth the ride to the end. Water is too deep before mid July. Advanced Hikers can take a upper trail to get around stream it but is steep narrow. Not made for horses. Look up to your left at the water crossing to see the trail.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
14 days ago

I thought the trail would be along the creek, but it's not really. You do get some nice views of it though. Two miles in there is a clearing right on the creek where you can strip for a break. I had lunch. It's way way way muddy and there is a lot of growth. The trail is also very very narrow. There was tons of horse shit on it. That's not the horses fault, but you really need to watch where you're going. It does kind of take away from the fun of the hike. I got three miles in and got to a point of diminishing returns, so I headed back. I'm not sure this is worth a whole ten miles. The sun came out on the way back and it looked really nice.

bird watching
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
over grown
rocky
snow
washed out
1 month ago

This trail is fairly flat but apparently a couple of avalanches have hit this area. At least two avalanche chutes have wiped out trees, covered the trail and even covered the creek for a short stretch. There’s no way your riding a bike down this trail right now (May 2020). But the views are amazing! The creek looks like a raging river, birds are out, fish weren’t biting today but that’s okay. Definitely a beautiful place but be prepared to be climbing over trees, mud and snow. Pretty crazy up there!!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful & great place for fishing too.

hiking
over grown
10 months ago

We hiked the first two miles with kids. Good for horse back riding, mountain biking, dogs and kids. Nothing very spectacular about this hike. It follows a river through the woods with steep banks and limited access to the river (at least for the first 2 miles). Fairly flat terrain. Your in a valley so no view points and the mountains on either side of the valley are plain. This trail is not bad but I think it is a 3.5 star tail

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail paralleling the creek. Easy grade, some rocks. Several places you can get water and put your feet in. We only hiked out 3.1 miles - at that point there is a small camp area and water crossing. Some bugs there too. July 22, 2019

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail on a early July hike! Plenty of watering holes for the dogs and to cool off. Plenty of beautiful flowers and amazing views! When we finished, headed to Melvin Brewery, great food and beer!

hiking
11 months ago

This was a nice trail that follows the river. We made it to the fork, approx 3 miles in. Take some bug spray this time of year incase there is not a breeze.

hiking
over grown
Sat Jun 29 2019

great easy hike! we only hiked about a mile in and back, bit it was along the river the whole way and it was a pleasant trip- even with toddler in tow! 4 stars because it was a bit overgrown at certain points, otherwise 5!

hiking
Sun Jun 02 2019

Beautiful and easy pace for my kiddos. Loved the wildflowers!

hiking
Sat Sep 01 2018

Enjoyed this as a trail run, 5 miles out and back. Lots of options for side excursions. Not much fun as a bike ride at my skill level but advanced riders might enjoy it.

hiking
Fri Jul 20 2018

Nice hike along Big Elk Creek. We took our dog and he was able to cool off in the stream along the way. My GPS measured 6.3 miles to the creek crossing and trail split to Siddoway Fork and Neeley Cove. Stream was still moving swiftly so we didn't attempt to cross. The trail also appears to cross the Big Elk Creek at about mile 5+, but there is an optional trail up along the cliffs on the north side of the creek. It is a good trail, although a little rocky. Didn't see any animals, but there are plenty of wild flowers. Still, watch out for thistles!

hiking
Wed May 30 2018

Very nice hike...even saw a moose on the other side of the creek. If you only want to do a shorter hike, turn around at the Dry Canyon intersection...about 2.7 Miles in. Otherwise, there are no real destinations before that...just a nice hike in the woods near a pretty stream. There was a little mud, but not all that bad. My 15 year old daughter hiked in canvas sneakers and got sore feet, but otherwise okay. Spots are a little rocky.

hiking
Fri May 25 2018

The trail has some muddy parts because of the spring runs offs. Otherwise it is dry. No snow. After about 2.5 miles there is a ford. You do not need fording shoes to cross, but it may not be easy to cross if you have small kids with you. I continued to Siddoway fork, but got to a creek that I was not able to cross (deep, fast running water about 45 feet wide), so I turned around and got back.

backpacking
Wed May 16 2018

This is a fun trail to hike and camp at. There's a pretty river that runs through and great scenery. Watch out for stinging nettles but other than that it's a fantastic trail!

running
Tue Nov 21 2017

Great trail. We made a late season run to the 6.5 mile mark in preparation for next year's Palisades Ultra Trail Series. Creeks were cold and snow was 1-4 inches with lots of animal signs, no actual sightings though. Can't wait until next year!

hiking
Fri Oct 20 2017

Great trail, super pretty, just very muddy.

hiking
Wed Aug 30 2017

A great trail for a hike with younger children. The trail is quite easy for the first four miles or so, with lots of nice views of the creek. There's plenty of shade along the way, and for those so inclined, several good options for campsites within the first three miles. Beyond the three mile mark, look for mountain goats on the steep canyon walls. At about five miles in, the trial splits, giving the more adventurous hiker several options, including the South Fork and the Siddoway Fork. The latter connects with Austin Canyon and Neeley Cove.

Mon Aug 21 2017

Nice easy hike. Trail was dusty so I guess no rain recently. Lots of Salmon in the river.

Sun Aug 13 2017

Gorgeous trail that follows the river with beautiful scenery and didn't see anyone else. River is still pretty high but passable now. Bring your keen type sandals for this one and go in August or September when it's warm and the river is lower. Or just make it a smaller hike since it doesn't cross the river for a while.

running
Mon Jul 24 2017

Beautiful trail with a gradual uphill on the way out and a fun gentle downhill on the way back. I went out about 3.5 miles, but the brush was getting pretty thick after about 3 miles, so I would recommend making it a 6 mile or shorter run/hike on this trail.

hiking
Mon Jul 03 2017

Beautiful trail! We went about halfway with kids and a dog, and it wasn't too difficult. the scenery is lovely. Bring bug spray!

hiking
Tue Jun 20 2017

Great trail! Both kid and dog friendly. Be careful around the creek, it was very full and very fast from winter/snow run off.

hiking
Mon Jun 05 2017

Over all great hike. Trail needed to be cleaned up. There was flooding in many parts. I posted some picture.

hiking
Sat Jun 25 2016

Very pretty. The trail is along the creek and there is plenty of shade. Loved it. Did only about half of the hike. Had to turn around about half a mile after dry canyon crossroad. The creek was too deep and wide to continue further.

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