Upper Palisades Lake Trail

#1 of 29 trails in Targhee National Forest
Upper Palisades Lake Trail is a 15.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Irwin, ID that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fly fishing, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

15.6 miles 1827 feet Out & Back
dog friendly kid friendly fly fishing hiking mountain biking horses forest lake river views wild flowers wildlife
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Brooke Yorgesen
3 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

I absolutely loved this trail! Although it was difficult for some of the younger siblings, when we got to the lake it was worth it! It was one of my favorite trails!

Jake Hall
9 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Malissa Blanco
18 days ago

4 Completed3 Reviews

Anthony Stosich
24 days ago

5 Completed2 Reviews

Matt Bowen
3 months ago

27 Completed20 Reviews


Ashley Deley
7 months ago

4 Completed4 Reviews

Beautiful trail with wonderful scenery. The trail doesn't ever get too steep, and is shaded for the majority of the way to the lower lake.

Teneile Harris
7 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Morgan Smith
8 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Amazing! It was the perfect terrain.

Dan Beck
8 months ago

7 Completed5 Reviews

Great trail with wonderful views along the way.

David Ashby
9 months ago

36 Completed30 Reviews

I so love this trail! We had a great ride tonight. However, it should be noted that this trail is pretty difficult on a mountain bike. It is not idea for beginners unless they are fairly athletic. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this ride is that it wasn't constantly uphill. The trail has lots of varying terrain from rocky slopes, to mud bogs and everything in between. This canyon is beautiful. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the sites.

Mindi Newson
9 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Other then the horse flies it was great

Verlicia Perez
9 months ago

42 Completed13 Reviews

Perfect hiking/backpacking experience. Lots of moose in area (we saw 5 in one day) and if you hike up to Upper Palisades and intend to overnight, be sure to make your way to the far side of lake and try to get the campsite located right in front of the privy. Awesome location to be, with running creek and wildlife galore coming in and out of camp.

Meladi Lanier
9 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

A perfect trail for hiking with our two dogs on leashes. Lots of people on the trail, lots of other dogs, and a warning sign at the beginning of the trail says that trapping is allowed in the area - that was enough to keep the dogs on leash. Access to the creek meant that our black dogs were able stay cool the entire time even though it was a hot day. We spotted two mountain goats on the cliffs across the canyon. Didn't make it up to the lower lake as our youngest dog is only 4 months old.

Jodi Roed
10 months ago

3 Completed2 Reviews

My husband and I made the trek from the trailhead to the Upper Lake. We began at 7:38 and returned to the parking area at 4:34. We keep a good pace, but take lots of pictures. I use the mapmyhike app and it said we hiked 14.18 miles. If you plan to hike to the Upper Lake bring more food:)

We stumbled in to the Lower Lake area, and immediately, saw four Moose in the shallow shore; the photo opportunities were spectacular! Almost as soon as we headed toward Upper Lake, the rain began. We had rain gear, but found ourselves, with the dampness, absolutely cold. The rain continued for over an hour, and I was sure it would let up within minutes after it started. The Upper Lake is beautiful, but the rain robbed us of true pleasure:) When the rain finally let up, the temperatures rose into the high 60's and we dried out and warmed up. On our return to Lower Lake, the Moose were still out playing in the water, so lots of photo opportunities. We also caught sight of an Eagle perched above the lake on a dead tree branch.

Helpful tips: Keep driving in until you reach the parking area with restrooms and signs. Single lane drive spooked us a bit. You will walk enough without stopping too soon. Wear shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. On July 10th, our trail was muddy and littered with horse manure. I finally gave up and trudged through. I wore a Merril dry hiker, but with the rocky terrain, I could have used a sturdier sole and with the rain, well, soaked. Be sure to bring water and enough food for everyone. We brought crackers and dog snacks, and we were all famished at the end of this outing.

Jean Ragusa
10 months ago

10 Completed10 Reviews

The first 4 miles follow a large stream in a canyon. After that, you are at the lower lake. The view is superb. Continuing along the lower lake to the upper lake, I saw a dozen or more (timid) snakes on the path.

James Tompkins
10 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Fantastic trail. We only made it to the lower lake. Fished for about an hour and a half and our group caught quite a few 8-12" cuthroats. Flies were a problem around the lake. There isn't a lot of elevation gain, but the trail goes up and down quite a bit; so overall you feel as though you've walked uphill more than the elevation change lets on. I was very impressed with how much wildlife we saw: three moose, a fox, several snakes, and an angry grouse.

Justin Golledge
10 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Went on the hike and it was great going up. Once we reached the upper lake, the flies were eating us alive (even with lots of bug stray). I could only fish for an hour before I had to leave because of the flies. The hike back was tougher for me because I couldn't rest enough at the upper lake. If you are going to camp and fish, I would camp at the lower lake and hike up to the upper lake to fish. The flies aren't nearly as bad in the lower lake as they are at the upper lake.

Trevor Edwards
10 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

It was a great hike- but a little long for a day hike.
Fishing at the upper lake was great - except for the biting flies.

Sonat Sen
11 months ago

6 Completed4 Reviews

Great hike. We wen't on a Friday, there was not so many people and no horse at all.

Corey Brady
11 months ago

4 Completed5 Reviews

A couple times a year my buddies and I backpack into a place to fish and camp for a few days. We picked this hike because we read online there was pretty decent fishing in the upper lake. The hike to lower lake is pretty simple and easy but the hike from lower lake to upper lake is a little more strenuous. We made the entire hike in about 4 hours going up and roughly 3 1/2 coming down. The fishing was good in upper lake. We caught a little over 100 fish in 2 days of fishing but if you're looking for variety or size, neither were to be found. All were cutthroat and all were roughly 8" to 12" long. Fish were hitting on red & gold jakes and black and gold panther martins. We camped on the north-west side of the lake. There are a couple good sites to camp on that side. We hiked up the east side on the path to the waterfall. Just so you know you must stay to the right on that path. If you go left, it takes you clear back and up the mountain. There are signs at the beginning of the trailhead but none as you continue up. Just stay to the right! We saw a few different signs of life up there. On the trail up about 1/4 mile in we startled a bear on the trail. Fortunately the bear took off up the trail. Saw moose and a couple bucks as well. We went on a Sunday-Tuesday and saw very few people. Most were coming down the day we were headed up. The trail was very busy when we were coming down. Multiple groups of people were headed up. The lower lake had a bunch of mosquitoes so if you plan on spending time there bring repellant. Overall this is a great trip for either a day or a week.