Finding a hidden treasure, now THAT would be something! Well what if you could walk out your back door and one was laying at your feet? Welcome to Idaho!
We all have those “hidden gem” hikes or trails that seem to be lost to the outside world. Something we merely stumble upon. Well, if you are looking for gems in the Eastern Idaho area, read on! This is a list of the 5 best hikes in the Eastern Idaho area that you probably never knew about.
1.Darby Wind Cave, Teton Valley
Right out your back door in Teton Valley is one of the most scenic and family friendly hikes in the state. Crossing an old-fashioned foot bridge you will make your way through the Jedediah Smith Wilderness with no shortage of beauty around. Quickly make your way up the trail and soon you will run into the awe inducing Wind Cave. Your hike will take you to the bottom of the cave, but be warned! Entering the cave is not for the novice climber. However, one who dares will thoroughly enjoy exploring the Darby Wind Cave.
Directions: Head south from Driggs on Highway 33. Turn left at 3000s and continue for 3 miles. Make a right at the T-intersection and follow the signs to South Darby Trailhead.
2. Upper Palisades Lake, Sway Valley
The Upper Palisades Lake was formed due to a landslide that rolled down the canyon and damned the creek. The Palisades Canyon has been practically untouched and is rich with a thick forests of fir, aspen and willow trees. Teaming with native cutthroat trout, the lake is also a main spawning tributary for the South Fork of the Snake River. This 6.2 mile hike provides one of the most scenic and beautiful views of the Swan Valley area.
Directions: From Swan Valley, head southeast on Highway 26 towards Irwin. Take a left onto Palisades Creek Road at the sign for Palisades Creek Campground. Stay on that road for 1.5 miles. Just before the bridge is the parking area. The new trailhead is across the bridge to the right at the horse staging area.
3. Table Mountain
Come prepared for this challenging hike. Hiking Table Mountain or “Table Rock” is not for the faint of heart. This is a 12.8 mile round trip with a gain of 4,100 feet in elevation the summit. Making an impressive climb to 11,106 feet. However, the difficult challenge of the hike rewards those who make it to the summit. With breathtaking views of the Teton Range, Cascade Canyon, Teton Canyon and Alaska Basin, this one is hard to pass up.
Directions: From Driggs head up Ski Hill Road for 6.3 miles then take a right onto Teton Canyon Road. Continue for 4 miles before you cross 2 single lane bridges and meet the trialhead.
4. South Bitch Creek
Looking for a family friendly hike weighing in on the scenic side? Take a hike up South Bitch Creek to clear your head, find solitude and enjoy mother nature. You can start at the Coyote Meadows Trailhead which is just over an hour north of town. You can take that trail as it winds seamlessly through quaint meadows, thick forest and canyon slopes. If you please , you can turn this little hike into a 21.7 mile loop by linking with the Carrot Ridge Trail. If not, you can turn around whenever you please. Don't forget your fishing pole! You might reel in something big…
5. Bannock Trail
Just up the mountain at Grand Targhee is a quick 6.4 mile round-trip hike with 1,800 feet in elevation gain. Make your way up through fields of aspens into stunning views of the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and the infamous Tetons. This hike starts at the bottom of the Shoshone lift. Once at the top, you can retrace your steps, or hop on the lift if it’s still running!
Directions: Heading north through Driggs, take a right at the only stop light. Follow the road until you make it to Grand Targhee!