Caton Lake Trail


The first part of Caton Lake trail is the upper portion of Ditch Creek Trail.

Ditch Creek Trail provides access to Rainbow Lake Trail and Caton Lake Trail.

Approximately 0.7 miles from the trailhead, the unsigned 0.3 mile Rainbow Lake Trail splits off to the left. In another 1.8 miles, the trail junctions with the Caton Lake Trail.

From the Ditch Creek/Caton Lake Trail junction to Caton Lake is 5 miles, and another 0.8 miles to the boundary of the Boise and Payette National Forests.

The trail weaves in and out of trees, large open wet areas, and meadows. After climbing slightly, the trail drops gently for several miles. The trail then passes through Caton Meadows, climbs to a low saddle, and drops sharply to Caton Lake.

From its intersection with Ditch Creek Trail, this trail has long rocky sections interrupted only by large wet areas. Approximately 1.5 miles before Caton Lake, the trail crosses a huge grassy meadow. Beyond the meadow, the trail sneaks back into the trees, running up a small rocky drainage to the top of a ridge.

After descending the wooded ridge for approximately .75 mile, the trail begins to switchback down the side of the ridge. After several switchbacks, the trail splits. The left split drops quickly in steep, narrow switchbacks to the south end of the lake where there are no campsites. The right split gradually sidehills down to the north end of the lake where there are several campsites.

Caton Lake is quite large and seemingly deep, and sits in a narrow canyon. From Caton Lake, the trail continues north to a crossing of Caton Creek which is the boundary of the Boise and Payette National Forests.

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Cascade

General Information


From Cascade, Idaho, travel north on State Highway 55 for approximately 0.5 miles to its junction with the Forest Highway 22 also known as Warm Lake Highway.

Turn right onto the Warm Lake Highway and travel east approximately 25 miles to the Warm Lake area, where the Highway turns into Forest Service (FS) Road 579.  Continue east on FS Road 579 for 11 miles to Landmark and FS Road 413. 

Turn left onto FS Road 413 and travel north approximately 10.5 miles to its junction with FS Road 410.  Turn left onto FS road 410 and travel to its end for about 9.4 miles. 

The Ditch Creek Trail starts just before the end of FS Road 410. 

Ditch Creek Trail provides access to Rainbow Lake Trail and Caton Lake Trail.

General Notes:

The Rainbow Lake / Caton Lake Trailhead is a five-acre signed site with a hitching rack and restroom. It serves Caton Lake (#093) and Rainbow Lake (#094) trails.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Horse Riding

Horse riding and camping available.

Difficulty Level: Most Difficult
Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
8.3 Miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
5860 - 7600


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