South Fork Gold Fork Trail


Scenery near South Fork Gold Fork Trail

South Fork Gold Fork Trail - The trail is evident at both ends, but not in the middle. If you plan to use this trail, be sure you have the Gold Fork Rock and Sloans Point topography maps, a compass, and the skill to use them.

This route offers lush, high meadow scenery but lacks water sources for people or stock. The Spruce Fire burned through the middle section of this trail in 1989.

A sign marks the eastern trailhead of the South Fork Gold Fork Trail, located at the northern end of Gold Fork Meadow off Forest Service (FS) Road 497.

Although faint at first, the trail becomes clear just west of a small outcrop of white granite. To find the trail follow the small drainage upslope until you pass the outcrop. Once past this, watch for a tree with a blaze that is standing in the middle of a clear area between stands of subalpine fir and spruce.

The trail becomes evident here and the trees are well blazed. Approximately one mile up the trail, it becomes hard to follow and is no loger evident. The Spruce Fire burned through the middle of this trail in 1989, so the trail may be even more difficult to find. The western end of the trail travels through logged areas on a very steep slope.

A broken sign signifies the access point on FS Road 402.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Cascade, Idaho

General Information

General Notes:

The Needles Route Trailhead is a one-acre signed site with no amenities. It serves South Fork Gold Fork (#113) and Needles Route (#115) trails. 


ACCESS #1- This provides access to the eastern trailhead.  Drive north from Cascade, Idaho, of State Highway 55 for 0.5 mile to the junction with Forest highway 22 also called the Warm Lake Highway. 

Turn right onto the Warm Lake Highway and travel about 12 miles to Forest Service (FS) Road 497.  Turn left onto FS Road 497 and drive 5.5 miles to the signed trailhead.


ACCESS #2- This access point provides admission to the western trailhead.  From Cascade, Idaho, drive north along State Highway 55 for 12.6 miles.  If you cross the Gold Fork River, you have gone too far. 

At 12.6 miles north of Cascade, turn right, make a dogleg, and continue east for 2.8 miles to a bridge.  Cross the bridge and turn right onto the Gold Fork Road, passing the Forest boundary in another 5 miles. 

Continue east on FS Road 498 and come to FS Road 400 in 1.9 miles.  Turn right onto FS Road 400 and travel 1.5 miles to FS Road 402. 

Turn left onto FS Road 402 and travel about 3.3 miles to the signed trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Go day hiking on this trail offering peaceful quiet in lush, high meadow scenery.  The trail is 2.8 miles long.

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Horse Riding & Camping

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
2.8 Miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
6080 - 7154


Cabin Rental 2 - Stolle

You may reserve your favorite cabin or campsite 6 months in advance at Link opens in a new window

photo of cartoon about myths about bats

10-17-2019 Sharing your space - Forest friends may share your rental cabin! Link opens in a Pdf Document

A photo of a map with photos on it to view a location

USDA Forest Service - Interactive Visitor Map Link opens in a new window

Discover Idaho Trail Maps

Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation - Idaho Trail Maps Link opens in a new window

Photo of washed out road

Boise National Forest Interactive Road and Trail Closure Map- Check with the Districts if you have further questions Link opens in a new window

Avenza logo for app users

USDA Interactive Forest Service Maps and MVUMs Available for Smart-Phone Users with Avenza App. Link opens in a new window

EM - Family getting ready to catch a fish at Trail Creek Campground

Reminder - Special Order and map - Camping limit is 14 days Link opens in a Pdf Document