In central Idaho sits the sprawling 4.3 million acre Salmon-Challis National Forest. Within these boundaries is also a third of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness in the United States outside of Alaska. As you would expect from such a large expanse of wilderness, here you can find plenty of solitude and untouched nature. This forest is remote and undeveloped, but still contains approximately 1600 miles of trails. One of these is the designated national recreation trail, the Knapp Creek - Loon Creek Trail.
The Knapp Creek - Loon Creek Trail can be found in the Middle Fork Ranger District, one of six districts in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. It is within the Loon Creek Area, a land of rugged mountains and untamed rivers just northwest of Stanley off State Route 21. The trail starts at the Loon Creek Guard Station and ends at its junction with Hay-Knapp Creek Trail #4032.
This trail can be done as one long day hike, or over a couple days if you’d like to spend the night under the stars with your canine companion. You’ll be able to wake up in complete solitude to dramatic vistas of steep mountains, canyons, and wild rivers. The area was heavily burned in 2012, so the trail conditions are variable. Always check for wildfires before heading out.
Leashed dogs are welcome to join the adventure in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Keep in mind that this is the true primitive experience, and there are little to no amenities in this area. Be sure to bring all of your own supplies. This includes a first aid kit, and food and water for you and your doggo. All visitors need to follow the Leave No Trace principles in the forest, so pack out what you packed in. If you and your pupper are itching to get out into the Great Outdoors, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for on the Knapp Creek - Loon Creek Trail.
This area is very remote and often has no cellphone reception. Make sure someone always knows where you’re travelling and that you have emergency equipment. Keep your curious canine leashed and on the trail to protect them from dangerous animals or taking a fall.