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Eureka Gulch

Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Eureka Gulch

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  • Trailhead sign with a little bit of history about the rehabilitation of Alturas Creek Canyon.- Eureka Gulch
  • This bridge over Alpine Creek replaced several washed out Jeep crossings once the rehabilitation was finished.- Eureka Gulch
  • Getting ready for a chilly crossing of Alturas Lake Creek on a ski adventure in June.- Eureka Gulch
  • Crossing Alturas Lake Creek in June.- Eureka Gulch
  • Eureka Creek cascades over shaded rocks.- Eureka Gulch
  • The wildflowers along the old Eureka Gulch road are stunning in August.- Eureka Gulch
  • Elephant head (Phyllodoce empetriformis).- Eureka Gulch
  • More late summer wildflowers.- Eureka Gulch
  • A view of Eureka Gulch from the old mining road.- Eureka Gulch
  • Tracks and the entrance to the hard rock Ruby Mine.- Eureka Gulch
  • The Ruby Mine entrance. Explore at your own risk.- Eureka Gulch
  • Exterior entrance to the Ruby Mine.- Eureka Gulch
  • A skier ascends the northwest ridge of Eureka Peak in mid June.- Eureka Gulch
  • Looking across the Sawtooth Valley into the White Cloud Mountains from the shoulder of Eureka Peak.- Eureka Gulch
  • Looking south from the summit of Eureka Peak.- Eureka Gulch
  • Rock fringe (Phacelia sericea).- Eureka Gulch
  • The Sawtooth Valley and White Cloud Mountains from the summit of Eureka Peak.- Eureka Gulch
  • Looking off the north side of Eureka Peak into the Alturas Lake Creek canyon.- Eureka Gulch
  • Twisted white bark pine.- Eureka Gulch
  • Alturas Lake and the White Cloud Peaks.- Eureka Gulch
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great wildflowers. Mining history. Easy peak access. Mountain bike accessible.
Cons: 
Old mining road. Motorized use. Steep sections of trail. Creek crossing.
Alerts: 
The crossing of Alturas Lake Creek can be challenging during high water.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,035.00 ft (620.27 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,080.00 ft (2,157.98 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Eureka gulch is accessed from the Alturas Lake Creek Trail, which also is the jumping-off point for another adventure on the north side of Alturas Lake Creek up Alpine Creek Canyon.

Eureka Gulch

The trail up Eureka Gulch is one of the better wildflower hikes in the Sawtooths. The north-facing canyon tends to have a slower and longer snowmelt combined with sunny slopes that result in ideal conditions for wildflowers. The openings high up the canyon can be a riot of color.

The trail follows an old mining road that was used to access the Ruby Mine on the west face of Peak 10,129 (Eureka Peak). The mine was operating on a small scale into the 1950s and 1960s, and there are several old tunnels (both caved and open), tailings piles, and abandoned mining equipment at the end of the road. While this history is fun to explore, walking into an open mine tunnel can be extremely dangerous. Explore at your own risk and respect the private property around the mine. 

The old Eureka town site was located somewhere on the flats near the mouth of the gulch. A trail along the south shore of Alturas Lake climbed over the ridge to Beaver Creek and connected Eureka with Sawtooth City during the mining boom of the late 1800s.

Mountain Biking

The Alturas Trailhead was reconfigured in the early 2000s, and both the Alturas Lake Creek and Eureka Gulch roads were closed and rehabilitated into trails. Both routes are still open to motorcycle and mountain bike users. The road/trail is quite eroded and rocky in places, so it does not make for a quality ride. Accessing the canyon on a mountain bike, however, can speed up both the approach and descent for an off-trail scramble of Peak 10,129.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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(93 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Idaho River Publications

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.

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