Very few hikers are drawn to the Bull Moose Trail. The remote trailhead deters hikers from approaching via Decker Flat, and virtually nobody is intrigued enough to climb over the eastern moraine from the Redfish Inlet Hikes. What appears to be a long, flat slog through dense forest, however, is actually a series of open, high-elevation meadows. There are some nice views of Mount Heyburn and nice early to mid-summer wildflowers. The biggest challenge is finding and following the trail within the first mile.
From the small parking area on the north side of the bridge, there is no trail sign or even any appearance of a trail. Have confidence and start walking due west into the tall grass. Within 100 yards, hikers should be able to pick up a trail that contours along the southern edge of the Redfish Ridge. After 0.6 miles the trail disappears and turns south to cross an unnamed creek in the tall grass. After crossing two marshy channels, it may take a bit of wandering to find the more defined trail on the south side.
If you make it this far, you are in the clear! A good trail climbs gently through a Lodgepole pine forest on the north side of Bull Moose Creek, which is never really visible. It leads to a section of steeper, rutted trail at 1.4 miles. At the top of this pitch, the trail drops down to Bull Moose Creek. For the next mile or so, the trail passes through three large alpine meadows. Depending on the season and snow melt, large sections of the trail and upper meadow may be completely flooded. These conditions of flat, open ground and ample water can lead to beautiful wildflower blooms and good opportunities to see elk and deer foraging. There are also some great views of Mount Heyburn and the Grand Mogul Ridge.
After re-entering the trees, the trail climbs gradually at first then steepens as it nears the moraine ridge. Unless you are intending to loop across the moraine and down Redfish Ridge (or descend to the Redfish Inlet Hikes), there is not much reason to continue beyond the upper meadow.
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 and well disguised in a cat hole 6 to 8 inches deep. Pack out all toilet paper.
• Campfires allowed ONLY in a backcountry pan or fire blanket.
• Campfires are NOT allowed at some lakes and in some drainages in the Sawtooths. Please review the campfire restrictions at individual trailheads.
• Permits required for all stock use in the wilderness. No grazing allowed in the Salmon River watershed (this includes the Alpine Lake 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.