Wilderness Journeys

Are you planning a horseback riding trip out West? Looking for a place to camp with your horses during the summer months? Check out our TOP FIVE PRIMITIVE camping spots

1.North Leigh


  • Directions: From the traffic light in downtown Driggs travel north on Idaho Hwy, 33. At 5.7 miles you will cross a bridge that brings you over South Leigh Creek. You will see a sign that will point you to the national forest access. If you were to continue on the highway it would take you into Tetonia. As you leave the highway and take the road to the right that heads into the national forest, you will come to  a stop sign. Turn right at the stop sign and drive east towards the Tetons. Turn left at 2.6 miles onto signed North Leigh Canyon Road. You will drive approximately 6 more miles on this road until you come to a large open meadow with a turnaround for trailers. This is where we park.  This road can be washboard and rough but they do keep it up pretty well.
  • Amenities: Fire pit, large meadow, nearby creek,  no elecitic hookups, no bathrooms, first come first serve, free, no limit to how long you stay
  • Access to these nearby trails:  Green Lakes/Granite Basin; Tin Cup; South Lee; Badger Creek


2. Teton Canyon

  • Directions: At the stoplight in downtown Driggs, turn east off Idaho Hwy 33 onto Ski Hill Road toward Grand Targhee Ski Resort. Follow Ski Hill Road for about 6.5 miles where you will come to a sign that points to Teton Canyon on the right. Continue down Teton Canyon road for about 4.miles until you come to the camping facility on the left hand side of the road. there will be an in and out road that leads the the camping area.
  • Amenitites: large parking area, secluded camping, large meadow, corrals, no electric hookups, no bathrooms, limited camping spots at this area, first come first serve, free, no limit on how long you stay
  • Access to these nearby trails: Alaska Basin, Buck Mountain, Table Mountain, Beard’s Wheatfield, Hurricane Pass, Mount Meek Pass, Devil’s Staircase (horses not allowed),


3. South Boone Creek

  • Directions: 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.
  • Amenities: large parking area/meadow, fire ring, creek access, no electric hookups, no bathrooms, first come first serve, free, no limit on how long you can stay.
  • Access to these nearby trails: South Boone Creek, Berry Creek, Conant Basin, Hominy Peak, Union Falls (short driving distance)


4. Coyote Meadows

  • Directions: From Idaho Falls, ID:  Follow US 20 for about 30 miles to exit 339 toward ID-33 E/Driggs/Jackson. Continue on Idaho 33 towards Driggs for 31 miles. You will see a sign pointing to Idaho 32 that heads towards Ashton, turn left on this road. You will drive on this road for approximately 12 miles. Then turn right onto the road marked N 4700 E. Drive for one mile on this road  with the Tetons in view and then turn right onto 700 North.  700 N turns into a gravel road.  You will travel on 700 N for about three miles and  you will cross a cattle guard and come to a sign that says you are entering the Targhee National Forest. You will then turn right onto Forest Road 265 and follow this all the way to the end where you will see the big turn around called Coyote Meadows. You will be on 265 for about 8 miles. 
  • Amenities: large parking area, several camp spots, small corral, tie racks, several fire rings, on site porto potty, creek access, limit to 3 day camping, free, first come first serve, no electric hookups
  • Access to these nearby trails: Hidden Lake, Hidden Corral, Conant Basin, Bitch Creek, Camp Lake


5. Indian Creek

  • Directions: From Idaho Falls, ID:  Follow US 26 towards Swan Valley. You will follow US 26 for about 58 miles going through Palisades. Just across from the Palisades Resevoir you will find Indian Creek Road NF #281. You will travel on this road for about two miles. Once you start seeing signs for the camping permitted area you may pull over and choose anyone along side the road. There are several camping spots along this road so choose your best one! If you follow this road to the end you will find the South Indian Creek trailhead with tie racks and a bathroom.
  • Amenities: several camping areas, creek access, fire rings,  free, first come first serve, no electric hookups, bathroom at trailhead, tie racks at trailhead.
  • Access to these nearby trails: South Indian Creek and North Indian Creek
  • Trails within a short driving distance: Palisades Creek, Rainy Creek, Big Elk Creek, Bear Creek, Sheep Creek, Fall Creek



Wilderness Journeys

Rash Canyon is out of the Fall Creek area just before Swan Valley, Idaho. There are numerous trail heads out of this area and some trails are better than others. This trail which starts out at Rash Canyon and loops around into South Fork Fall Creek, isn’t one of our most favorite rides because you are basically stuck on a two-track dirt road the entire way and also stuck in a canyon so you don’t get much of that high view overlook. We did still manage to get some good photos with the Olympus Tough.

It is a good trail however for getting your horses in shape and conditioned. The whole area of Fall Creek is very populated mostly by motorized vehicles. We definitely don’t recommend coming here on a weekend, as you will run into more motorized vehicles than you wish. There is also a lot of opportunity to camp along the way. There are several spots just off the dirt road where you can pull over and camp. There are also a few spots off by some of the trailheads if you want more of a secluded camping experience. We also ran into a few camping spots along the trail so if you want to pack in and camp that is also a possibility.

Finding the Rash Canyon Trailhead

From Idaho Falls, ID:  Follow US 26 towards Swan Valley for about 30 miles. Just before you cross the bridge over the Snake River, you will see a road to the right titled NF-058 this is a paved road for about a mile and will take you past a boat ramp. This part of the road is relatively wide, but be careful as you will most likely encounter a few big rigs on this road. In a little over a mile you will come to a fork in the road, continue right onto Fall Creek road. This turns into a narrow dirt road with some turn outs along the way in case you run into a larger vehicle. Sometimes cattle semis are seen on this road. Follow this dirt road for about 5-6 miles until you come to a sign on your left that says Rash Canyon.

As you pull onto this short road be careful it is steep, rutty, and rocky. We went over the cattle guard and parked in the grassy area on the right.  If you would prefer, you can find a place to park off the road on the other side, but you will have to ride across the road and then open a gate.

Rash Canyon Trail Description

Follow the two-track dirt trail. In about 3 miles into the trail you will come to a junction with a possibility of continuing straight or going to the right or to the left. If you continue straight you will be on the road that will loop you into South Fork Fall Creek.

We decided to take a little back country way because that is the way that Amy programmed it on the Suunto Ambit 2 Watch. So we headed to the right up trail 262 even though there is a sign in a tree once you turn onto this trail pointing the way to South Fork Fall Creek. In less than a mile you will come to another junction and turn on the road to the left. Shortly you will see an unmarked trail to your right that doesn’t look very well-kept, you need to take this trail. We ended up missing this and taking a trail just down the road that had a marker on it that says no motorized vehicles. This trail is a dead-end and we advise you not to take it. If you take the correct trail, you will immediately find a little cow trail to the right.  Take this and you will intersect with the South Fork Trail. Take a right once the trail intersects. We saw deer on this trail.

Once  you are on the South Fork trail, you will hear and see the creek to your right. There were some mallard ducks resting in this creek and also some big fish swimming past.

As you continue on this trail, you will see a sign that points to Lightning Ridge. It was pretty fitting at this time as we started to hear thunder at this moment. Luckily we didn’t get rained on. Keep on the road, and soon you will come to a junction where the South Fork trail splits. Turn left and you will be on your final leg back to the truck. We crossed the creek several times here and there were many opportunities for the horses to get drinks.

When you reach the end of the South Fork trail you will come to a giant turn around parking area. You will be coming out on trail marker 30. The truck is not parked here so follow your way out on the road and turn left on the gravel road you drove in from. Follow the gravel road for about 1.5 miles until you see that sign again for Rash Canyon.  The down fall here is, this road can be busy with traffic so be careful .

Once you turn down the road to Rash Canyon you will come to that cattle guard you drove over. There is very tight barbed wire gate around the fence corner to the right, but we decided to just go grab the truck and drive it over the cattle guard and unsaddled there. It was a lot easier than messing with that gate.

Trail Map

**Reminder: If you have the Suunto Ambit watch you can import all of the maps we provide of our journeys onto the watch and have your own personal guide telling you where to head on the trail 🙂

Wilderness Journeys

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Wilderness Journeys

One day and counting until our school year ends and we are officially out on the trail for the summer. We have a lot of fun planned for this summer and thought with it being such a beautiful day today that we would take the horses out for a ride. We went to Stinking Springs, which is a trail not far from where we live in Idaho. It is a great trail to get the horses muscled up for the long hard rides we will soon be doing. The elevation on this ride is also lower putting us at about 6,800 feet when we reach the top, which means we won’t run into any snow packs. Right now that is the one thing keeping us from those high mountain rides. The snow in the higher elevations won’t melt until mid to late June. This restricts our riding a bit, however we won’t let it stop us.

The Stinking Springs trail is located on the way to Kelly Canyon Ski Resort near Ririe, Idaho. We went on an 8 mile ride today, however the trail offers options to make this a shorter or longer ride depending on your needs. This trail is heavily populated by motorbikes and four wheelers. Since it was Memorial Day weekend there were a lot of these motorized vehicles out and about which can get in the way of riding especially when you are having to pull off the trail every so often to let them by.

The parking lot for Stinking Springs is a nice size, that makes it easy for parking a trailer. From the parking lot, cross the road where you will find a cattle guard and gate. Once through the gate there is one main trail that takes you to the top, or you can take a trail to the right. We will do a write-up on that trail on another post.   There are also several cow trails, since cattle often roam the area. Sometimes we go off and explore these trails, however today we stuck to the main one. The main trail we took this day is a two-track trail all the way. It is basically a steady incline to the top getting steeper the higher you go. Also towards the top you will find a lot of rocky switchbacks. There were also spots where the trail was rutty and washed away.  We have seen, snakes here a few times including Rattle Snakes, so if you ride this trail, just beware.


Once at the top  of the switch backs, you get a pretty good view of the town of Ririe Idaho, beautiful farm land and the Snake River.   You  can see quite a ways off into the distance. The weather at the top can also change fairly quickly. It was warm and tank top weather on the journey up, then once we reached the top the wind kicked in and we threw on some coats. The weather in this area in general can change in an instance. We have done this trail numerous times and have started out with perfect weather only for it to change in an instant. We have gotten caught in some pretty bad rainstorms here.

After you take the time to enjoy the view here, there is still some more climb up on a very rocky trail.

Once at the top of this trail, carry on for a moment and you will come to an intersection with basically two different options. You can either go to the left or the right. There is a trail in the middle but it joins up with the trail to the right in a short while. Here is a chance for you to have some fun and explore. You can’t go wrong either way!

We chose the trail to the right. It takes you through a forest, Aspen filled area. Eventually you will come to a barbwire gate. This gate was tight and was quite difficult to get closed. However we persevered and between the two of us got it closed. There are cattle up there and so it is very important to get those gates closed.  Once through the gate the trail splits again and we ventured to the right for a bit before turning around and making our way back down.

How to Get to Stinking Springs

From Idaho Falls, ID:  Head east on US-26 for 19 miles. Then turn left onto N 160 E. You should see signs on the highway pointing you to Kelly Canyon Ski resort. Follow this road for about 1.3 miles then turn right onto E 100 N/Heise Rd. Then take slight left onto N 5050 E and then turn right onto E. Heise Road. Continue driving on this road for about 2.3 miles. You will see a split in the road and you will want to veer to the right to continue onto E. Heise Road. Follow this for about 2 miles where you will come to a parking lot on the right with a big red ramp. This is where we park. 

Wilderness Causes

The free roaming mustang population is managed and protected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) There is a lot of controversy surrounding the methods the federal government uses to manage the wild population numbers. We recently watched the powerful movie titled “Unbranded”. It really is an eye-opening movie and addresses the fact that while the Mustang population is increasing there isn’t enough resources and land to support them. There are people who will argue that point.  The BLM has put many of the wild horses up for adoption  to help compensate for the land shortage. However, many horses are now living in temporary holding areas awaiting adoption. As we continue to get this blog up and running we would really like to begin doing some fundraisers for the wild horses.  Wild horses have been a passion of Maggie’s since she was a small child!

Riding with the wild horses was an amazing experience. We rode on BLM land near Challis, Idaho.


Wild horses generally gather in groups of 3 to 20 animals. A stallion leads the group which consists of mares and young foals. When the young males become colts they are driven away by the stallions. The colts then roam with the other young males until they can gather their own group of females. Searching for these herds while on horseback is quite the adventure. All of our pictures are taken with the Olympus Tough camera. We also have some videos on our Facebook page using the Go Pro.


Challis is about a two and a half hour drive from where we live. To make the most out of our experience we camp at the trailhead and spend two days searching for and riding with the wild horses. Since this area is all owned by the BLM there aren’t actual trail signs or a specific plan we have for riding. We saddle up and just ride. We have been fortunate enough to visit this area a few times. However, our very first visit to this place was the most memorable.


You know its going to be a good ride when you see herds of wild horses on the drive in to the trailhead. We arrived later in the evening and after setting up camp we took a short evening ride. We saw several small herds of wild horses out grazing. Most of them were off in the distance. However there was one herd that ran out right in front of us on the trail and we rode along side them for a short while. It was so cool to get that close to a herd. The next day we did a lot more exploring and rode up high. The scenery here is beautiful as you get an overlook of the land. We saw herds of horses in the distance and also some deer and lots of antelope. There was one part of this adventure that will be forever branded into our memories.DSCN7069

As we were riding along, we noticed a dark mass off in the far distance. It was way up high and really stood out.  We decided to ride towards it to figure out what it was. It was a climb!  We stopped at one point and pulled out the binoculars. Through the binoculars we could tell it was a black horse standing alone. We thought this was odd since horses usually travel in groups. He was standing there very still, so we decided we needed to continue to investigate. As we approached the black mustang, we quickly discovered why he was alone and why he was standing so still. The poor horse had gotten his leg caught in the fence wire.    He had obviously been there for a while because his ribs were showing and there was definite signs of dehydration with his sides being sucked in. It really was a devastating site. While it’s amazing to ride with horses that are solely on their own, taking care of themselves, and living a free life, it is sad when you come to a horse that is in this condition. We knew we couldn’t leave him in this state. One of the riders we were with jumped off his horse with a pair of wire cutters and attempted to approach the black mustang. Since this  was a wild horse, this was a very difficult task. He immediately started rearing up, bearing his teeth and striking which was only getting him more tangled and hurt in the  wire. After several attempts, the rider we were with, got close enough to cut the wire. He only went in for a quick cut before the mustang started to rear and strike again. Unfortunately the wire cut wasn’t enough to free the horse, so he had to go back in for another cut.  He couldn’t get to the other side of the T-post to cut the wire there because the horse was crazy with fear .  He did manage to free the horse, however the wire, with a t-post still connected to his front left foot, was dragging about 10 feet or more behind this horse.   The horse took off with the t-post in tote.   DSCN7078 He stopped to graze and off he went!  It was heartbreaking to know he still had that wire and T-post on his foot, but at least he could get to water and food.   As soon as we got home from this trip we contacted the BLM and let them know about the situation, hoping that they would be able to find this poor horse before he got stuck again or something worse happened.  It has haunted us since!   We never did hear back from the BLM about this stallion.  Praying that the BLM went to help this horse!

Getting to the Trailhead

From Arco, Idaho: Travel North on Hwy 93 for approximately 60 miles. Turn left onto Spar Canyon Road and travel for approximately 15 miles to E. Fork Road. Turn left and travel about 3 miles. Make another left on Road Creek Rd. and travel 6 miles to Horse Basin Creek.

From Challis, Idaho: Travel approximately 18 miles on Hwy 75 and turn left on E. Fork Road. Travel about 6 miles and turn left onto Road Creek Rd. Follow this road for 6 miles to Horse Basin Creek.

Wilderness Journeys

All photos taken with Olympus Tough Camera

Massacre Rocks is a state park located in American Falls, Idaho. It is a state park with a lot of history. Massacre Rocks is a famous spot along the Oregon Trail. Wagons in route of the Oregon Trail travelled over twelve-hundred miles from Missouri. It is said that many considered their trek through the Idaho desert as one of the most difficult parts of the journey. Unfortunately today, the interstate cuts through part of the Massacre Rocks State Park.  Massacre Rocks was given its names because there are large boulders in the area that created narrow passage ways through the rocks. Emigrants feared a possible ambush by Native Americans through these passageways because only one wagon could fit through at a time. These passageways were termed “Gate of Death” or “Devil’s Gate”. In 1862, five wagons clashed with Native Americans and ten emigrants died in the fight. If you want more of a historical background on Massacre Rocks State Park you may visit Pathways of Pioneers or Legends of America.

Given the historical significance of the area and the fact that we were looking for a new area to get our horses in shape for the riding season, we decided that riding Massacre Rocks State Park would be an interesting adventure. We did our research, found a park map that outlined the trails that were “horse accessible”, and we mapped out a route using the Suunto Watch. We traveled the hour and a half to the state park, paid our visitor fee and parked the horse trailer at a boat ramp. Yes it was a weird spot to park a horse trailer and the freeway was buzzing to our left. It wasn’t quite what we had in mind and definitely was too populated for our taste. We decided to make the best of it, saddled up and carried on our way. At about a mile into our trek we were stopped by a park ranger who told us that Massacre Rocks State Park does not allow horses in the park. There were no signs stating horses weren’t allowed. We pleaded our case, stating we found a state park map that reinforced we had every right to ride these trails. The park ranger reiterated that horses have been banned from the area for some time because they ruin the trails. We reluctantly obliged, turned around and headed back to the truck. It was our first time ever being kicked of a trail. We ate lunch at the boat ramp, knowing we needed to squeeze in a ride that day.

Maggie had fortunately ridden the area a while back and we ended up finding the place she had ridden. It was located on the other side of the Snake River that runs through Massacre Rocks State Park. It was a section of land not owned by the state park. This area offered many trails and services horses and unfortunately dirt bikes. We got back on our horses and picked a trail and just rode. There are many trails that wind through the desert and it is a sandy, hilly area. Be careful though because there are large sections of the land that are fenced in. Even though our day hadn’t gone as planned it was still an adventure and we got to do some exploring which is always fun. We actually went back to this spot the next weekend and explored even further. With the sand and hill climbing it is a good spot to get your horses in shape and surprisingly we didn’t come across any dirt bikers while we were on the trail. We only met them in the parking lot.

Directions to Massacre Rocks State Park (NO HORSES ALLOWED)

From Idaho Falls  head south on I-15 towards Pocatello, follow I-15 for about 45 miles. Take exit 72 for I-86 west toward Twin Falls.  Continue on I-86 W for 33 miles. Take exit 28 towards Massacre Rocks State Park. Turn right toward Park Ln. There is visitor station when you enter the park and the park fee is $5.

Directions to Horse Approved Riding Area


From Idaho Falls  head south on I-15 towards Pocatello, follow I-15 for about 45 miles. Take exit 72 for I-86 west toward Twin Falls.  Continue on I-86 W for 22 miles. Take exit 40 for ID-39 toward American Falls/Aberdeen. Turn right onto ID-39 N stay on this road for about 3 miles. Then turn left onto W Lamb Weston Road, turn left onto Borah Rd, then turn left onto S. Lake Channel Rd. Follow this road for about 3 miles you will see two big turn outs on either side of the road. In these turnouts you will see some dirt bike trailers. We parked on the turnout to the left of the road and explored the trails on that side.

Trail Maps

1st Trip

2nd Trip