“Run through the big, open country of the Salmon River Mountains.
— Keith Lannom
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Crestline Trail takes you into some beautiful backcountry area of the Payette National Forest. You'll pass a couple of high mountain lakes and marshes along the way. Most of this area was impacted by the 1994 Blackwell wildfire, so there's not much shade.
Need to Know
There is very little shade on this run. Bring a hat, wear sunscreen, and run it before it gets too hot. You are going to get your feet wet at Box Creek or lay in the creek to cool off. Crestline is open to motorcycles and the Falls Saddle Trail (#108) at the south end is popular with ATV/UTV's because it is so close to McCall. No bathrooms at the trailheads.
The Crestline Trail is part of the IMTUF 100 mile race that take place in September.
The trail can be taken either direction, but north to south generally trends downhill except for the big climb starting at about mile 6. To start from the north, park at the Pearl Lake trailhead off of Warren Wagon Road. After you turn off WW road, forest road #432 is a rough road with large stones as the road base - drive slow.
Because this area burned in '94, the dead trees are really starting to come down now. In 2016, the trail was cleared by the Idaho State Trail Rangers, but a heavy winter snowfall and some wind will bring down more trees. Be prepared to climb over, step over, or crawl under some dead lodgepole pines. Because this trail is open to motorcycles, it tends to get cleared out by the motorcycle riders as the summer goes along.
There are a couple of short spur trails that will take you to Pearl Lake, Brush Lake, and Box Lake. Those may not be cut out by motorcycle riders.
Other than the downed trees, the Crestline Trail is pretty manageable. Except for the climb that starts after Box Creek. It's about a 1,000 feet in almost 2 miles. There are great views from the top (7,890').
After the big climb, the trail begins to descend nicely to Blackwell Lake. The Crestline Trail (#109) ends about 1.6 miles after Blackwell Lake. Pick up the Falls Saddle Trail (#108) and go right to the southern trailhead.