The trail up Alpine Creek begins at the Alturas Lake Creek trailhead which is also the jumping off point for the Eureka Gulch and Alturas Lake Canyon adventures which continue up the canyon after the turnoff to Alpine Creek.
The trail to Alpine Creek ends after 3.2 miles at the junction of the three major branches of the canyon. Along the way it passes through some beautiful open meadows that sit beneath the 2,500-foot north wall that is studded with towers. The early-season wildflowers along the trail are certainly a highlight. The hike climbs less than 700 feet and reaches a nice picnic spot along the creek halfway out of the canyon. This makes it a great hike for kids or an early-season option when the high country is covered in snow. Alpine Creek canyon is closed to all stock use.
The alpine basins at the head of the drainage hold some of the most convoluted terrain in the Sawtooths. Several glacial cirques hold 10 large alpine lakes, and the maze of narrow canyons and bowls carved in the granite bedrock contain 34 additional small lakes and ponds. The terrain is steep and presents route-finding difficulties for those not well versed in reading maps. Over the years, two unofficial trails have been established to lakes in the north and middle branches of the canyon. The more heavily-forested southern branch is seldom visited. There are three significant peaks to climb in the drainage (Snowyside, Perfect, and Peak 9,963) and numerous other ridge scrambles for those who enjoy that kind of suffering.
Most of the trail lies within the Sawtooth Wilderness. Please observe the following regulations:
• Mountain bikes are not allowed past the wilderness boundary.
• Self administered wilderness permits are required and available at the trailhead.
• Dogs must be on a leash between July 1 and Labor Day
• Camp 100-feet from trails, lakes and streams
• Pack out all garbage.
• Human waste should be buried in a cat hole 6-8 inches deep, buried and well disguised. Pack out all toilet paper.
• Campfires are not allowed in the Alpine Creek Drainage
• No stock allowed in the Alpine Creek Drainage
• No equine stock at Edith Lake. ALL stock prohibited in the Goat Creek and Alpine Creek (Alturas Lake) drainages.
Our mission is to inspire adventure with beautiful, comprehensive and waterproof map-based guidebooks. Owner, publisher, and photographer Matt Leidecker, grew up exploring and guiding on the rivers in central Idaho. His award winning Middle Fork of the Salmon River – A Comprehensive Guide is the standard by which other river guidebooks are measured. Printed on virtually indestructible YUPO paper, IRP guides are truly unique all-in-one resources for adventure. Each book is loaded with full-color maps, stunning photographs, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers. Visit Idaho River Publications to explore our guidebooks to the Rogue River in Oregon and the mountains of Central Idaho.