Recreation & Trails of the Salmon-Challis National Forest (continued)

Basin Valley & Valley Creek Area

The Basin-Valley Creek area comprises trails and trailheads within the Basin Creek, Basin Butte, Red Mountain, Potato Mountain, and Valley Creek areas that are within the Challis-Yankee Fork Ranger District and set the ideal backdrop for outdoor exploration, equestrian use, hiking, biking or backpacking, photography expeditions and more! Discover geological formations, sweeping views, utterly relaxing camping spots surpassing most overnight paid accommodations, swimming opportunities, and much more!

The highlight of this region is that it makes a relatively pleasant day trip from Idaho Falls and the city of Boise region and the greater Treasure Valley. There are droves of features within the Basin-Valley Creek region that might be attractive or help confirm a trip to the area. A few of these highlights include areas of dense forestry, higher elevations with 360-degree views (cooler temperature), spectacular cascading waterfalls, remote and secluded small ponds ideal for a mid-day break to take in the surroundings, dramatic cliffs that jut into the air with seemingly no restrictions, mountain peak backdrops while hiking, stellar rock formations that are fascinatingly unique to the area.

Discover sweeping views, perhaps a lakeside retreat, and utterly relaxing camping spots that have the potential to surpass the average overnight paid accommodations! Consider an extended stay to take advantage of some of the state's best star-gazing sites in the Stanley and Challis region! If planning a stay within the nearby Sun Valley region, check out some of the local hot spots, including the museum, greenbelt, and area trails!

Plan for a successful trail exploration in advance and adventure the Basin - Valley Cr. Area for the ideal experience of the great outdoors within Idaho! What hikes are the most enjoyable and why? Birdlife, wildlife, ohv use, atv's, scenic vistas, lakes, rocky hill climbs, dirt biking, cooling down in the creek crossings, hot springs, mountain biking, backpacking, or the exercise?

Whatever folks enjoy, there is undoubtedly something for everyone to enjoy starting with a variety of terrain from rocky slopes and cliffsides to vast meadows lined with green grasses! Depending on the time of year, the importance of seasonal clothing, gear, and assistive technology will vary significantly. However, due to Idaho's largely unpredictable weather patterns, it is always wise to plan for unexpected rain or snow. If the trails are muddy, please do not trek in the mud as it causes trail deterioration; consider rescheduling the trek. Enjoy the colossal picture frame sites and stunning sunrise and sunset displays, and stick around for a camping trip to make the experience last longer.

The trails await with amazing waterside views, incredible wildlife, and beautiful landscapes in all directions; stay informed, arrive prepared, and most of all, enjoy! With an array of trail types, there is something for everyone to enjoy starting the novice trails, ideal for all ages and boasting just as many engaging environmental presentations and increasing from there with next-level challenges, elevation, and time investments. It may be helpful to take advanced classes to increase knowledge and perhaps learn a few new skillsets before heading out on the trails, and of course, with that comes the reward of putting forward all that hard work and the payoff while hiking the trails and having a little better grip on how best to navigate the terrain and the challenges.

Additionally, hikers, backpackers, equestrian riders, adventurers, and trail enjoyers may consider planning what they will eat and drink while on the trail and, of course, the odds and ends that may come in handy like bug spray, sunglasses, a travel medical kit, a hat and more! The heavier a backpack or trail pack is, the more difficult it may be to trek with, especially for more extended periods, so pack as light as possible with all the essential items included and plan to have fun! Remember to tell someone where the trek will take place and when the trail exploration is due to be completed as a precaution.

Lower Basin Trail #4349 - (2.9 +/- miles)

Exceptional areas for exploring around Basin Butte Summit start the Lower Basin trail with mild challenges with the peace and serenity of creekside exploration! Check out Lower Basin Trail #4349, occupying the area beyond Basin Creek Road and flaunts partially-wooded areas (due to 'dead-fall') mainly in part to past wildfires thinning the tree population while presenting intermediate to expert-level demands while extending a distance of approximately 2.9 +/- miles with mild level elevation gain ideal and carefree trek! Challenges include obstacles along the trail, bugs (early spring), sand, seasonal water, and some elevation gain. Visitors are welcome to explore the trail as it expands the ravine with predominantly ground cover cloaking the rolling foothills. Perhaps prepare for an overnight stay in the backcountry under the stars? The Basin-Valley Creek area does allow dispersed camping and boasts ample locations along roadways ideal for camping, though keep in mind that 'dispersed camping' is defined as up to 300 feet from the center of the road.

Conserve energy if choosing to connect with any junction trails from Lower Basin Trail #4349 to benefit fully from experience. The province is famous for off-road vehicle use. It is most notable for the grand vistas that, like a brilliantly contrived canvas, boast the unfathomable beauty of the mountains and valley below. Backcountry exploration, especially side roads, often presents obstacles, and it may be worth considering the addition of a chainsaw to the car toolset (if planning on adventuring off the beaten path - for the scenario of down trees obstructing passage on the road)

Area predominant peaks include Basin Butte, Potato Mountain, Cabin Creek Peak, Red Mountain, and along the other side of the river: Estes Mountain, Mt Greylock, Bald Mountain, Bachelor Mountain, and Bonanza Peak! Nearby campgrounds include Riverside campground, Sawtooth National Forest, Mormon Bend Campground, Casino Creek Campground, Salmon River Campground, Basin Creek Transfer Campground, Blind Creek Campground, and Pole Flat Campground.

Sunday Creek Trail #4041- (Trail Class 3 - 20% trail grade)

Check out Sunday Creek Trail #4041; this prime dirt bike trail is the way to go if getting away from it all is the goal! Enjoy exploring as the trail traverses high-altitude terrain with 360-degree views and unrivaled backcountry! Consider a helmet camera if recording the experience is desired and based near Potato Mountain and Basin Butte with exaggerated valley views and expert-level elements while extending a distance of approximately 3.91 +/- miles with moderate elevation gain worth the effort. Plan for this experience, especially if unfamiliar with the terrain, and schedule some much-needed relaxation time when the expedition is complete! Stay tuned with details about Valley Creek Trail #4039 below for connecting trail information.

The trail is not ideally defined and reviewing a paper map in advance may help to have in tow; furthermore, Sunday Creek connects with Basin Creek - Hay-Knapp Creek Trail #4032! Bring the dirt bike, pack-and-saddle, mountain bike, or plan to hike the route.

Maximize the journey by recording the expedition and sharing the memories, or take notes of the experience as a learning experience for future gains! The location is preferred mid-summer to limit undesirable weather surprises and exhibits technicals that could require a plan b, plan!

The trail features include switchbacks, tree-lined sandbanks, scenic views, photography opportunities, wildlife, and connecting trails.

Valley Creek Trail #4039 - (5.25 +/- miles, wheeled OHV 50" or less width) successively leads to #4039 and Sunday Creek Trail #4041, as mentioned previously

Majestic terrain greets visitors interested in the Valley Creek Trail situated alongside the delightful Valley Creek and presented intermediate to expert level challenges while extending a distance of approximately 5.25 +/- miles with moderate to expert level elevation gain, especially if connecting to additional surrounding trails! Look no further for the ultimate trek. Being ready for adventure in this region means having the route mapped in advance and remembering to have a plan b just in case of closed routes, downed trees, weather surprises, and unlimited possibilities.

Valley Creek Trail is likely to welcome warmer weather critters due to the moisture from the water in the air, be sure to add bug repellent or wear proper clothing to aid in protection against bug bites. At the top of the ridgeline, suitable for adventurers who enjoy a challenge and ends at Hay Knapp Creek Trail #4032! Adventurers are invited to explore the trail with wooded areas (a healthy amount of dead-fall (downed trees), complete with the Valley Creek grassy and tree-lined landscapes and the foothills terrain.

Keep in mind that Valley Creek Trail is remote, and offline GPS systems may not work correctly, throw a paper map in a sack to bring along to maximize the experience. The trail features use ATVs, pack and saddle, mountain bicycles, and dirt bikes for the ultimate adrenaline backcountry adventure. Due to the remoteness of these areas, it is best to have extra water, a first aid kit, food, and fuel. Beauty far surpasses expectations within the area and easily deserves a few days to spare on the calendar if there is room to carve out some extra time to check out area destinations, hot springs, museums, ghost towns, old structures, and the dredge; it is undoubtedly worth the trip!

Dispersed camping is allowed within the Basin-Valley Creek area, with various locations along roadways ideal for pulling off and camping, though keep in mind that 'dispersed camping' qualifies as up to 300 feet from the center of the road.

An area traveler tip is to check for local road closures before traveling and have an alternate plan if any surprises require exiting a trail at a different location than originally planned. Area destinations include Elk Campground and Sheep Trail Campground. Further away from the central city, discover Salmon River Campground, Casino Creek Campground, Basin Creek Campground, and Cove Creek Hot Springs, ideal for a simmering soak after a long day exploring trails! Additional features within this area include: some tree roots, higher elevations (cooler temperature), mall ponds, lake views, sweeping views, camping spots, swimming opportunities, accessible during the warmer months, river/creek/lake, wildlife, rapid ascents, multi-day hike, very long run, hot springs, undefined and unmarked sections of trail, loop access with multiple trail connections, in the countryside, be sure to schedule a trip during the warmer months for maximum benefit and minimal weather inconvenience, impressive sunset view (if planning an overnight stay), overlooks, riverside views, nature, great for exercise, and an excellent snowman trek during the colder months!


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