Black Canyon to Big Burns

MODERATE 13 reviews

Black Canyon to Big Burns is a 12.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ririe, Idaho that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, horses, and backpacking and is best used from June until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

12.6 miles
2,532 feet

dog friendly



horseback riding


wild flowers


28 days ago

Doing this trail in one day makes for a long day. We started from the black canyon side. The first few miles are easy and beautiful (The whole trail is beautiful!) There are so many water crossings that it would have taken all day to keep changing shoes back and forth to water shoes each time. Just wear some wool hiking socks, good shoes, and forge through.
After about 4 miles you come to the beaver damn. This is about the last water before you make the climb, so fill up your bottles before you turn up the canyon to the left. The climb from the Black Canyon side is easier than climbing the burns side. You will climb for a few miles till you get to the trail signs. Once you see the signs, the climb is over. Turn left and drop steeply into Burns Creek. (I would not want to climb this side). Once you get to the bottom (a mile or so) you will see more trail signs. Turn left here and follow the creek out. Lots of overgrown vegetation and creek crossings. It was SO lush and beautiful, I didn't know Idaho had such lush scenery. My 9yr old pretended he was in the amazon rain forest.
If you want to make the loop, and you have a group, park a vehicle at each trail head and save the over two mile road walk back to black canyon trail head.
Next time I will just do Burns creek in and out and skip the climb.

11 months ago

Not well-marked. We had to guess that we were on the right trail.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Just did an overnighter on this trail. It has lots of trail crossings. I think 19 crossings is about right, so bring some water shoes. If you want to have an easier hike start out on the black canyon side. It is not such a hard up. I did the burns creek to start out, and it gets really rutted and steep. Not too many places to camp until you get to the black canyon trail junction. The trail is in some serious need of work. Super washed out, vegetation above your head. No ticks though, and not too many mosquitos. All around good hike, but I would caution dirt bikes it has a ton of narrow wash out. Solitude rating 10/10. Nobody was on this trail on a middle of July weekend. Happy trailing!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I am giving this 5 stars for the 2.5 mile portion we went in with our kids. If you like zero traffic, water crossings, beautiful views and a beautiful drive to the trail, you'll like this. I can't wait to do the whole loop. One of our new favorite hikes for sure!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

If you want solitude, this is a good trail. The unimproved road that leads to the trail head is long. It took me 50 min to reach the TH. You have to ford the same stream 7 or 8 times in the first 3 miles. Water was sometimes calf-high. At the begging of the moderate climb, around 3.5 miles into the trail, the path becomes narrow and you have to walk in vegetation that is 5-6 ft tall. The view becomes nice after that point. I didn't complete the loop because of the weather. I suspect the trail continues are a mix of tall vegetation and nice open areas with views. Since it is also a motorcycle trail, some areas are damaged and it is a bit harder to have a secure footing, especially after some rain.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This is a beautiful scenery. We did it early in the season and on a Sunday morning. There was not many traffic on the trail. We saw only two motorbikes and no other hikers. When we returned there was a lot more coming to trailhead.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Beautiful scenery! I did these 10.5 miles in two days (camped about 2.5 miles in burns creek canyon along the river) The water was quite high and it's still considered early in the season, so we trekked through snow and forded the river 19!!! times. Yes, I actually counted. 19 times! Solitude 10/10 because we saw no one the ENTIRE time. The only down side was the trail maintenance was poor (fallen trees, washouts, etc.).

Pro Tip: Instead of hiking along the 2 mile stretch or road, try hiking along the ranger trail. It's about 1.6 miles and goes up the hillside above warm springs area. Beautiful views and clean trail.

off road driving
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

the trails in this area are built and maintained by offroad motorcycle sticker funds, with the 100s of miles of trails it is probably the best offroad trail system in the states, it is a great area with room for all so expect motorcycles weekends will have the most use, little during the week, I have been hiking and riding these trails for over 50 yrs and have found nothing comparable anywhere else

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The trail itself is used by motorcycles. At some points it is very narrow. It crosses a few creeks several times. If the water is low, it is doable in hiking shoes using rocks and logs, but at some points you will have to ford it, so bring your fording shoes, it will make it easier. I went on Friday and met about 5 motorcycles within 5 hours. No hikers. So solitude rating for me was 9/10. Saw a moose and a few birds and squirrels.

10 months ago

11 months ago

11 months ago

Wednesday, October 28, 2015