Fall Creek Canyon is a tributary of the Wildhorse Creek Canyon complex that drains the north side of the 12,000-foot Pioneer Mountain Crest. Though Wildhorse itself is longer and bigger than Fall Creek, a four-wheel drive road climbs nearly to the head of that canyon. The Fall Creek headwaters, by contrast, can only be reached via a 7-mile trail, making it feel much more remote than the Wildhorse Cirque.
The entire Wildhorse complex has experienced extensive mountain glaciation. The rivers of ice draining Wildhorse and Fall Creek merged together and extended down canyon to the mouth of the East Fork of the Big Lost River. At times the Wildhorse Glacier dammed the East Fork, forming a massive glacial lake that backed all the way up to the Copper Basin glaciers.
The Fall Creek Canyon itself drains a series of stunning ridgelines above 11,000 feet. The huge U-shaped canyon captures several additional tributaries that climb into alpine meadows and cirques with beautiful sapphire Lakes.
Fall Creek Falls is a short ADA-accessible trail to a viewing platform overlooking a pretty waterfall. The trail leaves the upper end of the Fall Creek parking lot and immediately enters a shaded, open Douglas fir forest. After about a third of a mile the wide, gravel trail emerges onto a long sagebrush flat before reaching a large, wooden viewing platform built in and around the large trees on the edge of the creek and falls. This is obviously a great option for wheel-chair bound adventurers, but it is also a nice stroll for a family with young children.
There is another, more impressive slow falls a little more than a tenth of a mile up the creek. A steep and sometimes wet user-created route leads from the viewing platform up south side of the creek to access this impressive cascade.
The Fall Creek Trail climbs up the opposite side of Fall Creek to access the stunning alpine cirques about 7 miles up the canyon. It is also the main access to three additional hikes up the Left Fork of Fall Creek, Moose Lake, and Surprise Valley.
On a hot summer day, it might be warm enough to envision climbing up the steep, overhanging limestone walls at the base of the upper slot waterfall. Though no routes have been developed, there does seem to be some potential.
Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring Sun Valley - A Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder, Pioneer, and Smoky Mountains by Idaho River Publications.
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