Porter Creek Trail


Lowman - Porter Creek Trail

The Porter Creek Trail climbs steeply past the old Deadwood Mine site and into the headwaters of Porter Creek.

After 3 miles, it reaches a saddle just south of Pilgrim Mountain and enters the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Then, the trail begins a more gradual descent into the Porter Creek drainage and passes by Bernard Lake.

Off-trail hiking is required to fully access the lake, but it is a nice side trip into a scenic alpine lake.

The preferred access to the lake is via the North Fork Elk Creek trail and the eastern portion of the Porter Creek Trail.

After passing by Bernard Lake the trail skirts the north side of Crane Flat and continues on very gentle terrain before ending at the North Fork Elk Creek Trail in Corduroy Meadows.

The North Fork Elk Creek Trailhead is 3 miles south of this junction. Much of the Porter Creek drainage was burned in the 2005 Porter Creek Fire.

If you plan an overnight stay in the backcountry please practice Leave-No-Trace backcountry camping techniques.

At a Glance

Rentals & Guides: Click here to download map.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: This is a non-motorized trail. And, no bicycles on Wilderness portion of trail.
Closest Towns: Lowman, Idaho
Water: None

General Information


ACCESS #1- From Boise, Idaho, travel north along State Highway 55 to Banks, Idaho approximately 38 miles.  At Banks, turn right (east) onto State Highway 17 (Banks-Lowman Road) and travel 31 miles to Lowman, Idaho.

At Lowman, continue along State Highway 21 to Milepost 109.  This is the intersection of Forest Service (FS) Road 082, which leads to Bruce Meadows, and State Highway 21.  Go west on FS Road 082 for about 3 miles where the road crosses the Cape Horn Summit and becomes FS Road 579.  Continue west on FS Road 579 for about 15.5 miles to a sign on the north side of the road which says, "Corduroy Meadows: 3 Miles."  Another reference point is the Corduroy Meadows sign posted about a mile west of the Elk Creek Guard Station.  Go northwest at the sign for a quarter of a mile on a short road which ends at a gate.  Continue northwest on the road (after parking at the gate), crossing a bridge and reaching the North Fork Elk Creek Trail #005, near a registration box.  After passing through Corduroy Meadows, crossing a small creek and through a wooded area, the Porter Creek Trail #008 branches west off the North Fork Creek Trail #005 toward a small hill.

The unsigned and unblazed Porter Creek trailhead is about 3.5 miles northwest of the North Fork Elk Creek trailhead.


ACCESS #2- From Boise, Idaho travel approximately 80 miles along State Highway 55 to Cascade Idaho.

At Cascade travel just north of town and turn onto state Highway 22 (Warm Lake Road).  Go east about 20 miles to the North Shore Lodge turnoff, where the Warm Lake road becomes FS Road 579.  Continue east on FS Road 579 about 12 miles to where the paved road changes to gravel.  Continue east about 1 mile to where FS Road 579 turns south and becomes the Landmark- Stanley Road.  Go south on FS Road 579 for about 15.5 miles to the unsigned trailhead on the east side of FS Road 579 about a quarter of a mile south of the signed Stratton Creek Trail (#010) and north of Reeves Creek. 

A registration box about 50 feet off the road is near the trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Hide detail HIDE

Mountain Biking

Mountain bike along the 10.2 miles of trail.

Difficulty Level: Most Difficult


Show detail SHOW

Horse Riding & Camping

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
10.2 Miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude :