Loon Creek Trail Loop

Payette National Forest, Idaho

Elevation Gain4,027ft
Trailhead Elevation5,700ft
Elevation Min/Max5510/6079ft
Elevation Start/End5700/5700ft

Loon Creek Trail Loop

Loon Creek Trail Loop is a hiking trail in Valley County and Idaho County, Idaho. It is within Payette National Forest. It is 9.3 miles long and begins at 5,700 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 18.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,027 feet. Near the trailhead there are parking, an information, and a camp site.

Loon Creek Trail Loop Professional Reviews and Guides

"Explore two scenic canyons and a large, productive lake. It is February 1943. A four-engine bomber on a routine flight from Nevada to Idaho’s Mountain Home airbase is lost in the snow above the rugged peaks of the Salmon River Mountains.

Searching for a radio beam coming out of Oregon, the pilot sees he will soon run out of gas, and he starts to nose the plane down. Through the swirling clouds, jagged glacier-carved peaks reach up, locked in winter’s grip. Surely landing the bomber in the rugged terrain is impossible. The pilot is not even sure where he is—somewhere over central Idaho in the dead of winter."

Loon Creek Trail Loop Reviews

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A group of 8 of us just hiked this loop a couple of days ago. We went down on the West side of the loop (right of the trailhead) and came back up along the Secesh River on the East side of the loop. The hike was fun, moderate, not hard at all but I was disappointed to see so many burned down trees. Although we still enjoyed the hike it would have been breathtaking before the fire destroyed most of the area in the late 2000s. The West side of the loop was very hot and dusty with little shade but the East side along the river was much nicer. We camped at a great beach spot in front of the lake the first night and hiked to see the 23 Bomber which was pretty neat. The hike to the Bomber was easy although we had to climb over burned down logs most of the way. There was also water crossing to it so bring water shoes or climb over a large log. It's easier to hike to the Bomber by taking a right from the campground in front of the lake since we heard the left side was very marshy and wet. The second day we found a hidden Hot Springs called Secesh hotsprings. It was quite a climb up the mountain along the spring but breathtaking once up above. We almost gave up trying to find it but we just kept going up almost to the top of the mountain... There were 2-3 decent size pools but pretty dirty although we cleaned one and enjoyed it. The second night we camped on an awesome beach spot with white sand by the Secesh River. This spot was to the right of the bridge off the Secesh R Trail towards Whangdoodle Trail. About a mile off that trail we crossed the river to find the hotsprings and the beach camp spot was about a half mile back from there. The hotsprings was before the Whangdoodle Trail. Overall we had a spectacular time although I wish I would have known about the burned down trees the entire hike...
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Coming from Chinook campground, it's a nice hike, but got a little confusing for us. Once the trail split at the lake, right took us weaving around above and around the lake, not to it. We cut down the hill and around the marsh, fording across a stream from the lake to get to the bomber. After leaving the bomber, we went the other way around the lake, to discover the campground right off the lake with the trail that lead us right back to the fork that originally got us confused. It would've saved us a few miles to have turned left and followed the trail directly to the campground. Either way, be prepared to wade through marsh and fallen, burned logs. As far as we could tell there's no trail that leads directly to the bomber. A nice hike, know that due to the fire in the early 2000's, there isn't much shade during many parts of the hike, so plan your trip accordingly!
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I did not enjoy this trail at all!!! Wildfire has gone threw this area. So you go from real lose dirt. To swap to get to the plane.
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I went mid summer of last year and had a great time. You have to travel on a dirt road for about 20 minutes to get to the trail head. It was a very easy hike with changing elevation and a spectacular view. On our way in we were in thick forest and coming out we followed the river. There was a beautiful view of the mountains from Loon Lake which is as smooth as glass and looks prime for fishing, I didn't have my pole. We saw several deer on our hike and one even ventured within about 10 feet of us! it was great and I would recommend this hike to anybody. There were several dirtbikers on the trail though that really took away from the experience but they were only around for a few minutes. It is a short, easy, and beautiful hike and I loved it!

Loon Creek Trail Loop Photos

Trail Information

Payette National Forest
Nearby City
Payette National Forest
Skill Level
McCall Ranger District, (208) 634-0400
Local Contacts
Loon Lake and Victor Peak USGS quadrangles
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018