The Middle Fork of the Salmon River has many miles of diverse hiking trails. From the main trail that follows the river and provides opportunities to hike or run to the next camp to more rugged side hikes leading to scenic vistas, hot springs, pictographs, and cascading waterfalls. The Middle Fork trail system is a hiker’s dream for endless canyon views. With so many options, we asked the Idaho River Journeys crew which is their favorite trail for hiking or running? In no particular order, here are the IRJ crew’s favorite hikes along the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

Waterfall Creek Trail

“The confluence of Big Creek with the Middle Fork is an incredible sight. I always have a feeling of awe and reverence when I step away from the rafts, walk across the Big Creek bridge, and up the Waterfall Creek trail. It can be difficult to understand just how steep and big the Impassable Canyon really is, and once you get on top of the bluff it brings out the magnitude of the canyon. No matter which way you look the views are spectacular.

– Esa Morrison

White Creek Trail

“One place, in particular, is exploring and trail running up the lesser traveled White Creek trail. The aura of ancient Ponderosa and winding granite ridges give my mind and body a place to be at home. I can’t wait to share some of these places this summer.”

– Nate Moody

Golden Creek

“The Golden Creek hike is pretty neat. The hike has an inauspicious beginning, bush whacking up a small trickle, followed by a steep and rocky trail. Even the last few hundred yards, it looks like a dead end, and then the waterfall appears. The rewards of seeing the falls within the narrow canyons walls is always worth it.”

– Skip Volpert

Veil Falls

“It’s a popular hike for good reason, the setting is unlike anything I have ever seen. A huge cathedral with prehistoric pictographs on the wall, lush green mint leaves on the floor, and of course a cold spring falling hundreds of feet off the very top of the canyon wall.”

-Drew Harrison

Loon Creek Hotsprings

“I’m a total sucker for hot springs and those up Big Loon Creek are my favorites on the Middle Fork. The hike to get there from the upstream campgrounds sometimes seems daunting but is well worth the effort. If you enjoy trail running, one of the best runs anywhere is along the river from camp then up Big Loon. Run past the hot springs to the next bridge and return. Stop at the springs on the way back and then enjoy a leisurely jaunt back to camp.”

-Fer Falcone

Camas Creek

“One of my all time favorite hikes on the Middle Fork is the walk up Camas creek in June. It is like a wildflower paradise up there – the reds of Scarlet Gilia and Indian Paintbrush, the Purples and blues of Camas and Larkspur – There are blooms everywhere you look along the trail. The sound of the creek rushing below past impressive grey boulders is so peaceful and at the same time reminds you of the power of all those tributaries we float by every day. It is such a joyful walk and a beautiful way to take in the vibrant colors of the Middle Fork in the spring.”

-Sunny Nelson

Nugget Creek

“Also known as Parrot’s Grotto, this short but steep hike leads to a stunning waterfall cascading from the cliffs above. I find it particularly enjoyable during hot summer days, a great place to cool off. While in the grotto, take a moment to envision Earl Parrot, the hermit of the Impassable Canyon, living in this serene area. Don’t forget to check out Parrot’s cabin, located just downstream from the trailhead, before or after your hike.”

-Galen May

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One Comment

  1. Skip what about the Louisiana Hole?! I feel like that should be right up at the top of favorite hikes! 🙂

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