South Boone Creek is one of those must do rides. This ride is located just across the border for us in the fabulous state of Wyoming. The South Boone Creek trail is a 15.5 mile loop. It is a very scenic trail that offers views of the Grand Tetons, pretty rocky cliff areas, and green grassy meadows with wildflowers at the right time of the year. You will also spend a lot of time in the forest on this trail and since we visited this a little earlier in the year, not many people had been on the trail yet and there was quite a bit of downed timber. We were lucky and most of it was in spots that made it easy to find an alternate route. However, there were a few spots that we had to take out the saw and cut our way through it. We also saw a little bit of snow on the trail but it wasn’t bad at all.
This ride is a day ride for us and we are fortunate that it is only about an hour and a half from our home. However, if you are not that lucky there is camping available at the trailhead. The trailhead is located in Jackass Meadows and there is a big camping area available complete with bear box, fire pit, and a creek nearby for your horses.
Finding the South Boone Creek Trailhead
From Idaho Falls, ID: Head down HWY 20 towards Ashton, ID. Just before coming into Ashton you will see a blue sign for squirrel Creek. You will turn right onto 1200N. At about a mile you will come to a stop sign, continue straight through it. You will get a nice view of the Tetons on this road. At about 13 miles into this road, it turns to gravel. It is a pretty wide gravel road and in good shape with few potholes. At about 21 miles into this road there will be a little lookout point to the left. It looks out onto a pond with pretty lily pads and yellow flowers. We have stopped here before and taken some pictures. It’s particularly pretty at sunset. At 23.5 miles you will pass a bridge over South Boone Creek. Shortly after the bridge you will come to a sign that points to Jackass Meadows. Turn right here and follow the narrow dirt road. Follow this road for about 3 miles and you will come to the trailhead sign on the right. Pull into the road at your first left and you will park in a big camp spot.
South Boone Creek Trail Description
Once you are saddled and ready to go, head down the road that you drove in on for about 1.3 miles. We actually start the trail down the road and then come out at the trailhead sign that is across from where we parked. As you head down the road you will see a forest service road maker 264. The trail starts right at this sign. The trail takes you through the forest where you will steadily gain elevation. Like we mentioned above there is a lot of down timber at this point.
In 4 miles the view will open up and you will get a pretty overlook with snow-capped mountains. You will also notice the Grand Teton making its appearance. This is perfect spot to pull over and get some awesome shots. We took ours with the Olympus Tough Camera.
The trail will continue on this hillside for a bit with your views continuing. At about 5 miles that trail will go downhill for a bit before it climbs back up. The trail goes down through a little drainage where you will see a sign and we took the small trail to the left.
At 6.2 miles you will come to a sign, head left on the Teton Crest Trail 008. This trail takes you to South Boone Creek and Jackass Road. Jackass road is the road we drove in on. Shortly after turning onto this trail you will come to an amazing cliff view where you are riding on the edge. Yes sounds scary but it is actually a really wide path. This has an amazing over view of rolling mountains and is the perfect spot to stop for lunch. We tie our horses up to one of the many trees and grab a seat on the cliff edge to enjoy our lunch. Here you are about 8400 feet in elevation.
After lunch continue on down the trail. Shortly it will take you into a green grassy meadow where you will be for about 2 miles. At 8.3 miles you will come to a sign. We veered of trail at this point to the left. If you follow the rocky, boulders that line a creek bed you will come to another amazing overview. There was actually water in this creek bed which is a rarity. We usually do this trail much later in the season when the water is all dried up. Water in this area just added to the beauty and it looked like a totally different area this trip. We tied the horses up in some trees as we got off and explored the rocky cliff ban and off course got some of those cool shots.
Once you are ready and back on your horse follow the rock bed back to where you saw that trail sign and continue on towards Jackass Road. The trail will take you back into the forest and in about a mile you will come to a lake. The trail will then go up a short hill where you will get a nice overview of a second lake. At this point the trail kind of fades for a second but just head up to the left towards the lake. You will see a sign in a minute that will point you in the right direction.
At 10 miles into your journey, the trail will start to descend through some thick Aspen trees. This is where we pulled out the saw and cut our way through. The trail will also be taking you through a thick rooted forest area and you will be climbing over some big roots in the trail. This trail used to have a bit of a tough spot on it where there was a tree root and a big rock that was somewhat of a challenge to ride up or down. We have ridden this trail many times and have had to do this. Well to our delight, someone fixed that spot! Whomever this great group or person was, a big thank you to you!
At 11 miles you will come to a creek crossing. We stopped here to let the horses get a drink. You are going to follow down the creek to the right for a second before you see the trail reconnecting on the other side. The trail continues through the forest and South Boone Creek will be running on your left all the way through to the end of the trail. When you come out at the end of the trail cross the road and you will find your vehicle in the big camp spot.
Trail Map: (Made with the Suunto Ambit 2 Watch)