Trail Creek Canyon & Pass, Sun Valley

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Trail Creek Canyon & Pass

Trail Creek Road is a steep incline north of Sun Valley; the road makes its way up the mountains and into the Big Lost Valley area to the east. Read More

  • Trail Creek Road is an 80-mile drive on gravel and paved roads from Sun Valley and into Challis.
  • Only passable during the summer, the road is closed by double-digit feet deep show during the winter.
  • The roadway has steep drop offs and is often plagued with rockslides and/or washed out areas.

Overview

A trip over Trail Creek Road is not for the faint of heart. There is a reason that heavy vehicles and vehicles pulling trailers are not allowed on this "trail". The gravel, basically non-maintained roadway is closed during the winter months, but is plowed open when warmer weather comes back to the area. For a heart-stopping thrill, try the scenic route between the Sun Valley area and the Big Lost Valley known as the Trail Creek Road. For locals, this road is used as a shortcut to U.S. 93 and access to Mackay and Challis, Idaho.

The rough, gravel – barely two lane – roadway has steep drop offs and is often plagued with rockslides and/or washed out areas. Only passable during the summer, the road is closed by double-digit feet deep show during the winter. Many times during the winter, the road is also damaged by dirt and rock avalanches. Opening the "trail" each spring generally takes 4-6 days and a concerted effort by a large road grader and its driver.

Driving Directions

From Sun Valley take the Sun Valley Road north toward the mountains. Before long you will be on the Trail Creek Road and making your way up to the top of Trail Creek Summit.

Time/Distance

Trail Creek Road is an 80-mile drive on gravel and paved roads from Sun Valley up a pleasant valley and over Trail Creek Summit, east to the base of Borah Peak, Idaho’s highest point, through Grand View Canyon, and into Challis.

The time to travel this distance is dependent on the conditions of the road and the number of times that you stop along the way to take in the scenic wonders.

Highlights

As you travel along Trail Creek Road, you will come to several specific areas worth stopping to get a better look:

  • Hemingway Memorial
  • Various scenic vistas along Trail Creek
  • Views of the Pioneer, White Knob and Lost River mountains, including two of Idaho’s three highest peaks
  • Earthquake Visitor Information Center at the base of Borah Peak

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