Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

backpacking
2 days 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.

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.

hiking
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.

hiking
1 month 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 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.

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

awesome

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice hike...even saw a moose on the other side of the creek. If you only want to do a shorter hike, turn around at the Dry Canyon intersection...about 2.7 Miles in. Otherwise, there are no real destinations before that...just a nice hike in the woods near a pretty stream. There was a little mud, but not all that bad. My 15 year old daughter hiked in canvas sneakers and got sore feet, but otherwise okay. Spots are a little rocky.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail has some muddy parts because of the spring runs offs. Otherwise it is dry. No snow. After about 2.5 miles there is a ford. You do not need fording shoes to cross, but it may not be easy to cross if you have small kids with you.

I continued to Siddoway fork, but got to a creek that I was not able to cross (deep, fast running water about 45 feet wide), so I turned around and got back.

backpacking
3 months 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
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.

The first 5 miles of this hike were easy and contained low, rolling trails. However, you have to cross the creek several times. This time of year (late April/early May) be prepared for lots of runoff and waist deep water. We turned around right at the turnoff for the hotsprings because the water was extremely deep and flowing very fast, so it'd be best to go late summer or early fall. Also, this trail is pretty exposed so make sure to bring either lots of water or a filter where you can drink from the creek.

backpacking
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!

backpacking
5 months ago

Great weekend backpacking destination.

on Big Elk Creek Trail

trail running
8 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
9 months ago

Great trail, super pretty, just very muddy.

hiking
11 months ago

Absolutely Beautiful!!!

hiking
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.

hiking
11 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
11 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
11 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.

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