Upper Palisades Lake Trail

#1 of 75 trails in Targhee National Forest
Upper Palisades Lake Trail is a 15.6 mile 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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Matt Bowen

25 Completed17 Reviews


Ashley Deley

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

1 Completed1 Reviews

Morgan Smith

1 Completed1 Reviews

Amazing! It was the perfect terrain.

Dan Beck

7 Completed5 Reviews

Great trail with wonderful views along the way.

David Ashby

34 Completed31 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

2 Completed2 Reviews

Other then the horse flies it was great

Verlicia Perez

41 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

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

2 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.