Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Our yearly trek! Waterfall canyon is also definitely worth the extra push. If you're planning to make it an overnighter the far side of the upper lake is the prime territory. Been up here 4 years running and have always seen wildlife. Last time a moose stumbled upon us and gave us all a good jump. I don't know who was more surprised us or her.

this is definitely a hike that is accessible in the winter as long as it's not crazy snowy. The trail was easy to follow and trafficked.

Great hike, say a lot of wildlife, moose, deer, elk. Fishing wasn't to great, but what can you expect since it's almost November.

Beautiful early September hike. Just went up to the lower lakes. Good trail. Took our dogs. Quite a few people on the trail with us. Excited to hike up to the upper lake sometime. Gorgeous views and fall colors.

1 month ago

My first backpacking trip. First 5-6 miles are relatively easy. Last mile is 1000 ft straight up. Nice trail. Nice little hot spring at the top. We had 3 deer with us for a few hours in the camp.

Great hike! Plenty of good views and not too difficult. We didn’t see any, but watch for bears and moose as they are active in the area!

2 months ago

A great backpacking trail with nice lake views at the top. Be sure to take a water filter if you are planning to camp at the top.

One of our absolute favorite hikes!! It’s long, but not a hard hike with lots of beautiful views!

Upper Lake was great.Leg burner for the last quarter mile. Don't look for campsites by the lake but pick your birds nest north of the lake by abandoned outhouse. Plenty of knobs to choose from.

Amazing place for a horse ride. Absolutely beautiful!!!!! Not for novice horses or riders.

A fun trip to do with friends! We hiked up to the upper lake 2 weeks ago and loved the scenery along the trail. I suggest leaving early in the morning to start the day off cool and to have plenty of time to hike. Also take plenty of water. We ran out of water on the way back and ended up filling our bottles with running river water. The river water tasted great, but I don’t recommend drinking it without a filter.

off road driving
3 months ago

Rode to the hot springs on my dirt bike on August 24, 2018. First time checking out Bear Creek. Approx. an hour and 20 minute single track ride to the springs from the trailhead with a few stops along the way to soak in the scenery. The river valley is beautiful and lots of beaver dams throughout. Creek wasn’t too difficult to cross as it was late in the season but imagine it is a challenge in spring and early summer. Had to cross maybe 5 or 6 times. Still a good foot of crystal clear water and 15-20 feet wide in some places. Surprised at the flow for this late in the year. Pretty steep climb at about 6 miles in where ya turn east to head up the mountain. The 450 motor made the climb easy but it would be a thigh burner for those hiking. Once up the mountain, after a 1/2 mile or so from the creek, stay left where the trail forks. Soaked in the hot springs for a bit which was a perfect temperature, maybe 95 to 100 degrees. Very peaceful and had the place to myself. There’s also a cold spring flowing out of the mountain another 100 yards to the east which was pretty cool to see too. Good spot to filter some water if needed. Lots of room and flat areas to camp adjacent to the springs. Highly recommend a visit :-)

I LOVE this hike. It’s a hike that makes you feel so satisfied when you get to the upper lake. Not very many steep parts, beautiful views of meadows, mountains, water and wildlife. I try to do this hike at least once every year. This is by far my favorite hike ever.

stream kept us cool. nice hike.

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 ;)

4 months ago

The first 6 Miles were not bad but the last mile and a half to the hot springs had me wishing for death! You gain about 1000 feet in elevation in under a mile. I would suggest making it in two separate stints. Do the 6 Miles in and camp at the base of the mountain one night and do the steep portion the next morning. It’s nice because you follow the creek the whole time, make sure to bring a water filter.

4 months ago

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
4 months 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.

4 months 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.

5 months ago

Nice hike along Big Elk Creek. We took our dog and he was able to cool off in the stream along the way. My GPS measured 6.3 miles to the creek crossing and trail split to Siddoway Fork and Neeley Cove. Stream was still moving swiftly so we didn't attempt to cross. The trail also appears to cross the Big Elk Creek at about mile 5+, but there is an optional trail up along the cliffs on the north side of the creek. It is a good trail, although a little rocky. Didn't see any animals, but there are plenty of wild flowers. Still, watch out for thistles!

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.

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