Explore the most popular dogs on leash trails near Irwin with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
7 days ago

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!

backpacking
19 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.

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.

on Big Elk Creek Trail

trail running
6 months ago

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
7 months ago

Great trail, super pretty, just very muddy.

Absolutely Beautiful!!!

hiking
8 months ago

Narrow trail, rocky and steep. No water in creek. Definitely a challenging hike. Today smoke from the Montana wildfires made breathing very difficult. I felt like we were at 10,000 feet. Still some wildflowers to enjoy.

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

Nice trail up a neat little canyon. In the second half, watch for mountain goats on the West side of the canyon. At the top of the canyon, you can bushwhack your way up to the top of Mount Baird (ascend and follow the obvious ridge that will be on your right side). You can also crest over the ridge at the top of the trail and head down into Waterfall Canyon or Austin Canyon.

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).

hiking
8 months ago

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.

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!

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

on Big Elk Creek Trail

9 months ago

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.

Went the first week of August. It was a gorgeous hike. I agree with one of the previous reviews that it is on the upper edge of moderate. Don't get into this one expecting a nice leisurely stroll. Near the top it turned into a battle of wills and personal fortitude to make it all the way up. We somehow took a wrong turn and ended up overlooking a beautiful valley for lunch before our trek back down. My wife, our 9yr old son, and I were on the trail for about 8.5 miles and it took around 6 hours. All in all a worthwhile trip. They weren't lying about the wildflowers either. Between the flowers and the hundreds of hummingbirds it was something to remember.

Great for a day hike or an overnighter.

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.

trail running
9 months ago

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.

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
10 months ago

Love this hike!

The trail is very narrow not much of an incline until you get half way up to the upper Lake long beautiful scenery saw a moose and the baby moose one snake the water is gorgeous

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