Wilderness Journeys

Exploring Rainy Creek Trail

Let the fun begin! This was our first ride of our 2016 summer! We started this ride with every intention of doing a loop. However, things didn’t go exactly according to plan and we ended up exploring the area instead. Sometimes it is just fun to roam around  and see what’s out there.


The Rainy Creek trail is located in Swan Valley, Idaho. For those of you who are out-of-town and interested in this ride, there are several camp spots available along the dirt road that leads to the trailhead. All of these sites are first come first serve. It can be a busy area, as the trail services horses and motorized vehicles. Camping is prohibited at the trailhead, however there is a porta potty available and a nice large parking area. There is also easy access to the creek, so there is plenty of water for your horses to drink.

Once you are saddled, head through the gate that leads to a two-track road. The track was a little rocky but not too bad. If you are riding barefoot as our horses are, you might want to bring along some boots.

In just under a mile you will come to your first creek crossing. There is a watch for bear sign at the start of the trail and just before this crossing Maggie heard something crashing through the trees, but nothing was seen.

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In 1.25 miles you will come to a sign called Corral Canyon. We plan to go back and do this trail at some point. So we will be reporting back.

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We decided to go straight through on the trail and bypassed Corral Canyon. Just past that we came to our second water crossing. At 1.5 miles into the trail we came to another sign called Spring Canyon. We also crossed our third creek at this point and continued on.

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Spring Canyon was a neat little canyon with loose boulders lining the hillside to the right and several burnt trees lining the hillside to the left. Straight ahead we had a pretty view of a snow-capped mountain. We captured its beauty with our Olympus Tough camera.

At 2.4 miles we came to a trail marker sign, Tr. 92. We rode past that at this point and went on up Spring Canyon. We did encounter some 4 wheelers and motor cycles near the end of this trail and they could not continue because the trail wasn’t very well maintained and came to an end.  We rode up it a few miles until we could not go any further and ate lunch here before turning around.

As we back tracked our trail we decided to explore Tr. 92 that we passed before.

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It brought us through a narrow canyon called Water Canyon, where we passed some very angry hummingbirds before switch backing up a hillside. We gained some elevation here and got a pretty view at the top. The trail did continue on from the top and we were pretty sure it would have looped back into one of the other trails we passed earlier. However, because we weren’t completely sure, we decided to turn around and head back out the same way we came in. Better to play it safe than to get lost.  We went back down Water Canyon and back across the creek.

As we continued back toward the trailhead, we decided to ride up the trail that we had actually planned to take before we got a bit distracted. We didn’t go very far on this trail because it was getting late. We will come back and make the original loop we had planned another time.  We came across some timber on this trail that we helped make horse safe with our little hand saw.   When we got back to the trailhead we looked at the map located on the sign and found that this trail did loop back into S. Fork Rainy Creek Trail.  So until next time!

Getting to the Trailhead

From Swan Valley, Idaho: Follow HWY 26 into Swan Valley Idaho. Once in Swan Valley, turn left onto Rainy Creek Road. Follow this road until you come to a T in the road. Turn left to continue onto Rainy Creek Road. Follow that dirt road all the way to the end, where you will come to a large turn around. The dirt road in was a good road, pretty wide and smooth so it is easy to get a bigger rig to the trailhead. There were some beautiful longhorn cattle in a pasture to the right as we headed up the road.


Trail Map: Created using the Suunto watch

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