South Fork Payette River Trail #452

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Sawtooth Wilderness

South Fork Payette River Trail #452 is a 26.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lowman, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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.

Length26.8 miElevation gain2516 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingFishingHikingHorseback ridingrunningForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallWildlifeBugs
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Reviews (3)
Photos (41)
Recordings (1)
Completed (4)
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Jay Peery
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

A very cool area that seems to not get a lot of visitors. The crux of the trip is the two water crossings - sport sandals and poles will make it easier. There are not many quality camping spots on this route, so be aware as you plan your hike that it may be harder to find a good spot than you think. There is a very significant wash-out on the upper part of trail. It’s marked with cairns, but it’s tricky going. Also some very muddy, overgrown and rocky sections to the trail. Lots of great views of the river along the way and Elk Lake is stunning. Many spots to access water on this route.

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Stacey Waldrup Hahn
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BackpackingBugs
First to Review

Decided to get away from the snow and completed this trail the second week of June. There are two crossings - Baron and Goat Creeks - that make this trail difficult if the water levels are high. In mid-June, the crossings were at mid-thigh level and higher. (I'm 5' 4'') Be prepared to get wet and also to have a backup plan if going earlier in the season!! The trail itself is an easy hike with slight elevation changes as you go through forest and meadows. Not very used, this trail is very plant-covered in spots with several fallen trees to climb over. There are camping areas at Big Meadow and near where the trail goes close to the river (about 8 miles in). We hiked to Fern Falls area on a 3 day, 2 night backpack and it was a lovely hike overall. Lots of ticks! But plenty of water and smaller creeks to fill up bottles with. Only saw two fishermen at the start of the trail, but saw elk, deer, cranes, and other small wildlife otherwise.

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Cole Puett
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Hiking
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