Explore the most popular forest 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.

This is a beautiful trail with amazing views, gorgeous wildflowers, and lots of different options. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the ‘moderate’ classification. Over 3300 feet of elevation gain to the ridge is challenging! We did the out and back (to the ridge of Waterfall Canyon) and it was just under 9 miles. The views from the top make it worth the effort! The creek was dry in mid August, so bring plenty of water later in the summer.

This was an awesome hike and fairly easy, in my opinion. Be careful not to trip on rocks downhill on the way back to the trailhead like I did ;)

I'm not really sure how the original Trail got recorded on to All Trails but I logged 15.25 miles on that same route to go up to the upper Palisades lake so I think the trail details need to be updated. Aside from that it was a great Trail beautiful views little bit longer than I had hoped but I would do it again.

horseback riding
15 days ago

Location: Near Palisades Reservoir, Irwin, Idaho
Date: July 25, 2018
Riders: Jodie Mills, Cynthia Cox, Julie Hooks, Bob Deeter
Propose: Pack in supplies and water a 100 mile foot race in the area. Two Pack horses.
Trail: Safe enough for experienced horses, not for a timid rider or green or fat horse. Steep, Steep, Steep form the trail head to the top of Water Fall Canyon is 4.4 miles one way with a elevation gain of over 3200 feet. Great views all around. Still a little snow at 9200 feet. Perhaps the Sheep Creek Trail would have been better, longer but not as steep. I am sure the USFS has not done any trail maintenance in many years.

This was a beautiful hike. We came from 8000 feet in CO, so the lower altitude made it even easier. We hiked to the lake where my husband caught (and released) 30+ fish in an hour, then we hiked back. It started to rain and lightening mid afternoon, so keep an eye on the weather as there are some very exposed sections of the trail. This would also be a great trail running trail.

17 days ago

This hiking trail was a really fun one. It does provide a bit of a challenge, but it makes up for it. I only have four stars because there were so many people. It really slowed down our hike because we had to keep stepping off trail for others to get through. There also seems to be an issue with the fellow hikers not following rules by not keeping their dogs leashed (as it says right at the beginning to keep them leashed). This caused a lot of issues with the dogs running past us and almost knocking us over.

Beautiful views. Lots of different scenery. Accessible.
Make sure you're in good shape - can be a challenge.

We only went to the lower palisades lake, but it was a beautiful hike! Its well shaded for about 3/4 of the lower trail. One negivite, the trail was over grown in a few areas and the trail was very narrow in those areas. Other than that, it was an awesome hike and we'll be going again.

Great trail to take kids on, but be aware that there are numerous spots where the trail drops more or less to the river below. So keep an eye on the little ones! Take out what you take in and remember hiking courtesies... there's tons of people using this trail, so let's keep it looking as natural as possible.

My favorite hike around here. An easy day hike to the lower lake.

Great wildflowers in early July. Hard end of moderate. Some parts of Trail like walking on marbles. Allow plenty of time. I was forced off the trail by a sheep stampede.

Trail to Lower lake is pretty easy. Lower lake to upper lake more difficult but worth the climb. I’m 58 and first time hike. My sons and I did it and I was exhausted at the end but the hike is so worth it!!! Beautiful mountain scenery and even saw 2 moose.

Great day hike. Not too hard. Recommend starting the hike early in the day.

Steep and in the sun most of the time. Beautiful wildflowers, you’ll come to a stream with a moss filled area.. this is where we discovered the stinging nettles! They left hives for about an hour and felt very uncomfortable. I made the mistake of trying to wash my legs off in the stream (unaware of why they were stinging), water made it worse.

Beautiful, not hard at all. Fishing was great.

This is a fun backpacking trail with camping at lower and upper and other trails that break off from the lakes. It's a really fun area to explore.

Ran this trail a few days ago. Beautiful. 5a on a Tuesday meant not a soul around. Weather was awesome in early June. Took about 2 hr 25 min to run to upper Palisades and back with no traffic. From the campground it was 14.3 miles and about 1700 ft of elevation. I’ve run this trail on a Friday morning and it was starting to get busy. Saturday’s are really busy. Good luck getting around all the horse and foot traffic on the weekend if you are a runner.

Great hike. Follows a river the entire time that is beautiful. At the time we hiked the creek was pretty full leading to some muddy parts of the trail but it was still very doable. There is not a lot of steep incline on this hike so it's good for a lot of ages. very popular

Fantastic scenery, great hike, and we saw a Moose! I love the campground area near Lower Palisades lake, it was a great place to eat our lunch in the shade.


I’m not sure why this is saying the hike is only one mile??? We tried the hike on Memorial weekend and couldn’t go past a mile because of high water. We did encounter one moto biker. I think during summer one could cross the creek and make it up to the basin. Not sure how far that would be. We did hike up Driveway Canyon for a ways but not far enough to be impressed.

3 months 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.

5 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!

5 months ago

Great weekend backpacking destination.

One of my favorites. I often continue on to the falls.

11 months ago

Absolutely Beautiful!!!

11 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.

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