Middle Fork Payette River
ElevationAscent: 3,001' 915 m
Descent: -1,189' -362 m
High: 6,079' 1,853 m
Low: 4,040' 1,231 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)
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“River running and hot springs.”— Chris Wandervans
There are a number of side trails along this route that others have used to avoid crossing the river, though it is best to avoid these options and stay on the main trail. The lower portion of the trail crosses the river 17 times. So, it is best to avoid this trail in the spring.
This trail is best from July through October to ensure all of the crossing are low enough. About two miles up the trail, you'll come to a series of hot springs. The best of the hot springs is the Pine Burl Hot Springs that features two nicely sized pools and pipes for adjusting hot and cold water flow. This is accessed by detouring up dash creek about 100ft. The hot spring does make for a nice soak on the way back down this trail to warm up your feet after all of the water crossings.
Beyond the hot springs, the trail becomes more rustic and your chance of seeing someone is very slim. The trail stays close to the river and is very scenic as it weaves up the canyon. The water crossings continue, but it is fair to say this is an amazing backcountry experience. As you near the end the trail will start to climb before it levels out again. This trail is only cut free of trees every three years so keep that in mind when attempting this trail.
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes