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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
1.40 mi (2.25 km)
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Fall Creek Canyon Overview

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

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.

Additional Adventures

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.

Technical Climbing

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Great for families with small children. Cool falls on a hot day. Brief adventure into the upper falls. Plenty of other adventures nearby.

Cons

Long drive for a short hike. Can be hot and dusty out of the woods.

Trailhead Elevation

7,240.00 ft (2,206.75 m)

Net Elevation Gain

143.00 ft (43.59 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Big vistas
ADA accessible

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Location

Field Guide

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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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