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You can follow the footsteps of Lewis and Clark or visit the battlegrounds of the Nez Pierce Indians while taking one of Eastern Idaho's incredible scenic drives. Learn More

Palisades Lake Trails

3659 East Ririe Highway
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401
Hiking, Horseback Riding



Both lakes were formed ages ago when giant landslides came down the canyon and blocked the creek. The canyon is thickly forested with fir, as well as some aspen and willow. If you scan the mountain walls you may see mountain goats. It is 4 miles to the lower end of the lower lake.

The upper lake at 6.2 miles, .5 mile form the Palisades Creek Trail, has better camping because sites at the lower lake fill up sooner.

If you're looking for a longer trip, the trail to Upper Palisades lake continues up Waterfall Canyon and connects with the trail down Little Elk Creek. You can also continue up Palisades Creek past the turnoff for the upper lake. There aren't any bridges beyond this turnoff, so the several crossings of Palisades Creek make this part of the trail tedious. It's best to tackle this stretch after midsummer. Although, few people continue beyond the lakes, so it is a great way to lose the crowds. By continuing up Palisades Creek, you will reach the Mosquito Creek trail, which leads into the Jackson Hole valley.

Map & Directions

Customizable Directions

Basic Directions

Drive southeast from Swan Valley on U.S. Highway 26 to Irwin. Turn left on the Palisades Creek Road at the sign for Palisades Creek Campground. Follow this road for 1.5 miles. Just before the campground and a creek crossing is a parking area. On the other side of the creek is a horse unloading area. The trail head is up the creek at the end of the campground.

The trail up to the Palisades Lakes may be the most popular in Eastern Idaho. There are several reasons for this. The lakes offer excellent fishing, gorgeous mountain scenery, great wildlife viewing, easy hiking and a Forest Service campground at the mouth of the canyon. In addition, bridges across the creek make the route easier for bikers, hikers and horseback riders. To avoid crowds, try to go during the week or in spring or early fall before hunting season.