Darby Canyon Wind Cave Trail

MODERATE 150 reviews
#1 of 35 trails in

Darby Canyon Wind Cave Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Driggs, Idaho that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1991 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

The first part of this hike is a nice walk through the woods. It is pretty snowy through here in the spring. The gradual incline starts right at the end of the wooded section. From here its a walk along the hill overlooking the valley below. This continues for around a mile, till the path curves at a rocky area. Another section through meadows and woods and you'll get to the waterfall. After that, its much steeper taking the path up to the cave.

hiking
2 months ago

We figured (3 of is) that it is closer to a 7 me round trip, but absolutely beautiful and worth the hike!

3 months ago

I did this hike in June of 2016 with my wife and son. Like that of previous reviews, this is a 10 mile out and back hike. This hike is also more on the difficult side as well. We ran into a number of people that were struggling on this trail that felt it was far harder than the moderate app rating. Personally, my family and I thought it was a beautiful hike with a lot of beautiful scenery. We will definitely hike this trail again if I’m ever in the neighborhood again.

hiking
4 months ago

I love this hike a lot.

5 months ago

One of our absolute favorites. We have gone in the summer, spring, and fall. It's gorgeous in the spring/summer with all the flowers

hiking
7 months ago

I just wanted to clarify for people this is actually a 10 mile hike. The description is extremely misleading. The 5 miles are not a loop and you will be ascending a steep grade for most the hike. The cave lies near the top of mountain and you will climb another mountain and work your way around the canyon. In addition, the drive to the end of Darby Canyon road involves 4 miles of gravel road that will be slow going to reach the trailhead. Make sure you are prepared and take suitable precaution. I have hiked many areas in the west and i would rate this as a moderate to difficult hike. It it definitely worth doing.

7 months ago

We started the trail with no snow and by the time we made it to the cave there was about 4 inches. Such a beautiful hike and the cave is awesome! The last tenth of a mile is the toughest part but not bad; I would consider the rest of the trail to be easy.

hiking
8 months ago

I went on this hike twice in my life while in a church camp. Sadly I've never been to the caves, but the hike is still worth making, it has gorgeous scenery, including some breathtakingly bright, colorful wildflower patches (depending on when you go of course) and the waterfall at the end is nice as well.
Only complain I have is that I remember it being a lot less steep than it actually was

hiking
8 months ago

Really beautiful trail. The hike up wasn't too bad, but it was steeper than I was expecting. The climb into the windcave was really steep. Also, don't wear Chacos on this hike. There are a good amount of rocks on the trail, and I caught the front of my sandals caught multiple times

hiking
8 months ago

Good trail for kids about five and older. A consistent but fairly light climb, terminating with a waterfall and access to the wind caves.

backpacking
8 months ago

++Ice Cave to Wind Cave++
Been going to the Wind Cave since I was a kid. There's an ice entrance to the cave 1 mile east of the Wind Cave entrance. Multiple ice waterfalls, goes pretty deep, and you come out the Wind cave. You'll need ropes, harnesses, crampons (ice waterfalls get SLICK), ice picks, warm clothes, and someone who's been there (with a map). It can get labyrinthine right in the middle, getting stuck figuring out where to go is bad, especially with the ice. Cave warms up the closer you get to the wind entrance (or in this case, exit), but the wind picks up too. If you have a wetsuit or wetsuit bottoms, those are handy to cross the aptly named Crotch Lake. You don't want to try punching through the cave system all the way until the ice plug has melted (a small choke point at the base of the largest ice waterfall, only clear during the warmest months of the year).

++ Wind Cave, in and out ++
You'll need a helmet. Bike helmets are fine, duct tape a headlamp to the top. Always keep 3 working sources of light on you (even if you're not using them all). One time I was in this cave and I had 2 lights fail while we were a ways in and had to carry a flashlight in my mouth to see. Glad I had it.

The floor is made of sharper rocks. Other caves, I'd say knee pads are optional, but this cave you want at least one. Gloves, long sleeved shirt (whicking material is best), long pants are all the rest that you need to have a good safe time. If you're going in, I'd recommend groups no larger than 4. The entrance is windy because the cave gets quite small at the start, which channels all the air. Tight space means slower moving, wind means drop in body temperature.

There's a pit that you'll reach in the cave with anchors for ropes. Crossing the pit is fun. You can tie a rope spanning it to speed things up on the way out. Bring harnesses for safety, the pit can be wet. I've freehanded it, but looking back, that was rather stupid. After the pit, is a section I call the Labarynth. Have a system to mark the way out as you go in so you don't get turned around too bad. This area is fun, you'll find offshoots that have more delicate formations. If in doubt, listen for the river. Follow the river out.


++ General Notes ++
I find cave expeditions work out best here when you backpack in. There are a number of sites established at the base of the cave slope, all with reasonable access to water.

Bear country, of course. Bring a bear bag, be responsible. I've seen bears up here multiple times.

Don't piss/shit in the cave. There's very little to break that down. One time, in the wind cave, I thought i discovered some kind of miracle of life. A tiny delicate mushroom on a rock. Then i realized the rock was covered in a brown liquid. It was a shit mushroom. :( Take an empty gatorade bottle and pack your shit/piss out. I named mine Mr. Peabody. Worked like a charm.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike! The cave and waterfall are beautiful, as is the entire way up. I went in the cave as far as the ledge that requires rappelling gear. Make sure to have warm clothes if you want to explore in the cave - it's freezing! Also be prepared for tight squeezes and army crawling through some parts. Headlamps strongly recommended. Great experience!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a 10 mile hike, 5 miles to the top and 5 miles back. I thought it was more challenging than previous reviews stated, but I carried my 30lb toddler on my back. We only made it 1 1/2miles up the trail before turning around. Very pretty, but come prepared for an all day hike

hiking
8 months ago

Flowers were past their peak, however, there were still plenty in bloom to make the trip enjoyable all the way to the cave. my seven-year-old daughter made it with minimal complaining. I loved how many dogs were along the trail. I would recommend this trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely worthwhile. We hiked the trail the day before the eclipse and it was very crowded. Not too steep with good views most of the way. Bring a light and an extra layer if you want to explore the cave since it's pretty cool inside.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail. The elevation gain was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was very crowded when we went but it was still nice.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is at least 9 miles round trip. Beautiful views and the wind cave and waterfall at the end are worth the trips. Take plenty of water.

9 months ago

A beautiful hike with amazing wildflowers. Hike was 7 miles round trip from the parking lot. Plan enough time to picnic at the top and enjoy the amazing mountains.

9 months ago

This was a beautiful hike the entire time. The cave and waterfall at the end are so worth it! It took us about 2.5 hours to hike up with some stops and about an hour down. We also found an awesome camp spot near the trailhead by a creek. Will definitely be back to explore more.

9 months ago

Great trail. I see why it is so highly recommend. Beautiful hike up to cave with all the meadows in bloom and the cave is awesome. It's a great way to spend 5-6 hours of your day.

hiking
9 months ago

Totally worth the hike up!

hiking
9 months ago

This was an awesome hike and I will definitely do it again. I went with my 2 teenage sons and a nephew. It took us 2.5 hours to reach the cave. We explored the cave and hung out by the waterfall for about an hour. It took us 1.5 hours to get back to our car. So plan for about 5 hours. We brought 3 16.9 oz water bottles each and we ran out. I would suggest 5 water bottles per person. The boys didn't bring sweatshirts like I did and they really wished they had. Make sure every person has a flashlight. It wasn't fun or safe in the dark cave with loose rocks without enough lighting. Don't forget your bear spray. People have seen bears walking through the beautiful meadows. Come prepared and you will have a great experience.

hiking
9 months ago

Very nice trail. My biggest complaint with the trail was the bugs. They were everywhere!! Biting flies, horse flies, and mosquitos galore. It was not stop even with bug spray. The hike was not that bad in elevation gain, but moderate seems about right. The annoyance of the bugs is what really made this hike not as enjoyable as I wanted it to be. We didn't make it to the top due to a storm coming our way, but the vista across the canyon from the waterfall was wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see some soring vistas, but beware of the flies...

9 months ago

Took my 9 yr old 4 yr old and 2 yr old on this hike. They were definitely troopers! Made it all the way to the mouth of the cave but did have to carry the baby almost the whole way up and back to make good time.

hiking
10 months ago

Has anyone done the through trip from Darby Ice through the Wind Caves yet this year? I'm looking for information of water levels inside cave and condition of the fixed ropes.

10 months ago

Beautiful hike with lots of wildflowers and soaring vistas.

10 months ago

10 months ago

Did this trail with my 11 year old son it did not disappoint ! This trail offers everything, plenty of flat breaks, flowers, vistas, streams, waterfalls, rocks, and narrow rocky dirt trails that give thrill at the end. And just enough tough spots to keep a boy happy. Only draw back is it's not a loop and was too muddy at the end to reach the cave ..... for me. Other people did make the that last bit. Lots to see along the way and and amazing views did the whole trip with s little lunch break in just over 4 hours.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful day for a hike! Still some snow to cross and muddy in a few places. This didn't deter us from going up to the cave.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful hike.

10 months ago

One of my favorite hikes so far

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