view from hazard falls

Happy Hiking: Hazard Creek Trail

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We thought our hike yesterday to Goose Creek Falls was awesome, and while we hoped to find another good one, we didn’t expect to find one even better.  The six-mile, moderate Hazard Creek Trail with two waterfalls and wildflowers was spectacular!

Getting to Hazard Creek Trail

Unusually, the AllTrails app directions to the trailhead were poor.  It is usually extremely reliable.  Instead of sending us to the trailhead parking, it took us to a pullout on the highway.  Fortunately, I saw a sign to Hazard Creek just before the pullout, so we made a U-turn and drove into the large dirt lot.

The trailhead, however, was not at this lot.  The map showed the starting location, somewhere up the dirt road.  When I reached the split, I guessed left.  Keeping an eye on the blue dot on the map, indicating our car, I saw we were slowly approacing the trailhead.  I felt a little unnerved, but soon enough we found a pullout with space for about four cars at the Hazard Creek Trail, and enough room to turn VANgo around.

hazard creek trailhead

The Hike Up Hazard Creek

  • Distance:  6 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,230 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

We were the only ones there at 9:30 on the Thursday before Memorial Day.  The trail begins as a narrow road which mostly descends for the first half mile toward Hazard Creek.  This section features many wildflowers including geranium, lupine, bluebells and others.  There was a quite a variety, and we had a slow start to our hike as we stopped to photograph them all.  Annie wondered what was going on, as she ran back and forth while waiting on us.

After the short descent, the trail narrows to a single track and climbs gradually through the shade of the forest.  Soon we reached a bend, where Hazard Creek tumbles between the granite canyon walls.  I honestly don’t know how this body of water could be called a creek. 

Perhaps it was just the early season runoff and recent rains, but it looked more like a raging river of frothy rapids. Hazard seemed appropriate, however. I wouldn’t want to try kayaking it, but I bet there are some adrenaline seekers out there that would love it.

The First Waterfall

A large boulder on the bend provides fun photo opportunities, so after another long pause for photos, we continued our climb to the first waterfall.  Hyatt Falls is off the trail on the left through some fallen trees and burnt forest.  Be sure not to miss it around the two-mile mark.

The water cascaded down the sheer granite cliff and rumbled across the rocks down to the creek.  The multiple tiers of falls were hard to capture with the surrounding trees, but we spent a lot of time trying at different locations. 

The spot closest to the falls provided a refreshing spray on a somewhat humid day, at least to me!  It was about twice as humid as I’m used to being from Denver, and half as humid as Sue and Dom are used to being from Texas!

The Second Waterfall and Overlook

Anyway, in another ¾ of a mile, we reached the second falls after passing through a large boulder field.  The trail descends to the left or veers to the right toward Hazard Falls.  We veered to the right for magnificent views of the snow-capped mountains and the falls. 

It was easier to hear this raging waterfall rather than see it, but anyone that doesn’t mind ledges can get a great view.  I leaned over from afar and got a decent glimpse while Sue stood on the edge.

The wind picked up as soon as we reached the top, so we took cover behind a rock while eating our snack.  The cool breeze shortened our chill time, but it was probably a good thing, as there were many more things we wanted to do in McCall, our base for our #girlsoffthebeatenpath trip.

The hike along Hazard Creek was wonderful.  Hazard Creek might be my favorite trail of my three weeks hiking in Idaho.  Of course, good friends and some of my favorite things, two waterfalls and wildflowers, certainly help the cause!  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

8 thoughts on “Happy Hiking: Hazard Creek Trail

  1. Sounds like a great hike with the waterfalls and flowers. The info on parking will be useful.

    FYI 3 second video just reloads page – 4 second video works.

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