Split Creek Trailhead and River Access

Split Creek Pack Bridge, Lochsa River

Stop at the Split Creek Trailhead and take a break from your drive on the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and enjoy a picnic while taking in views of the Lochsa River. The Split Creek Trailhead and river access area is located off US Highway 12 at milepost 112 on the Lochsa River—actually; one can hardly miss it due to the gorgeous wooden pack bridge spanning the Lochsa River which provides access to the 1.34 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness! The trailhead is equipped with a gravel parking area, hitch rails, and is a popular take-out for boaters.

Split Creek Pack Bridge, Lochsa River Split Creek View #1 Split Creek View #2 Split Creek View #3 Split Creek View #4

At a Glance

Fees: No Fee.
Open Season: Year-round
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Spring
Closest Towns: Lowell, ID or Kooskia, ID
Water: Drinking water is not provided. A spring is available for watering stock.
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center: Lochsa/Powell Ranger District, 208-926-4274

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


River and Stream Fishing

The Lochsa River in Idaho is especially known for its fly fishing opportunities, with crystal-clear water and lots of cutthroat trout.
Please contact the Lochsa Ranger District Office at 208-926-4274 to find out detailed information about catch-and-release rules in the Lochsa River Corridor. Check the IDF&G fishing regulations for open seasons and catchable species.
Note: Barbless hooks are called for everywhere on the Lochsa River in Idaho.

Day Hiking

See Backpacking


Lochsa Downriver Trail, #2: 16 miles, approx. 7 hours; begins at US Hwy 12 and Split Creek Packbridge and ends at trail #203 (Sherman Creek Trail); Trail was primary access to Lochsa Historical Ranger Station prior to bridge construction (MP 111.4) and completion of Hwy 12; Traverses north face of Lochsa Canyon with good views of the river and surrounding mountains; Trail is maintained annually by volunteers; Located on steep rocky terrain, this trail is not recommended for bikes.

Split Creek Trail, #133: 11 miles, approx. 5 hours; Closed to all mechanized travel including bicycles.  Begins at Hwy 12 at Split Creek Pack Bridge (MP 111.4) and ends at junction with Eagle Mountain Trail #3 at Louse Lake;Access to Split Creek Ridge, Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Louse Lake and Bridge; A long hot climb on a sunny day, so an early morning start is recommended. A spring 3 miles up is only water for 8 miles.

Horse Camping

Horse Riding

Both Trail #2 and #133 are suitable for stock.

Big Game Hunting

Big game species found in the area include black bear, elk, moose, mule deer and whitetail deer. Discharging firearms, however, is prohibited near developed recreation sites, Forest Service buildings and living quarters. There are stretches of private land and residences along the Lochsa River corridor. Landowner permission is required to hunt on private lands. Please respect private property.

Specific hunting information can be obtained by contacting Idaho Fish & Game. Before going on your hunting trip, contact the ranger station for access conditions.

Viewing Wildlife

It’s always possible to view wildlife: deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, bear...and more in the Lochsa River corridor!

Viewing Scenery

Scenery is beautiful through the Lochsa River corridor, ranging from dense forests to shrubfields created by wildfires in the early 1900s. Canyon walls are steep, and rock outcroppings are impressive.

OHV Trail Riding

The Downriver Trail #2 is open to motorcycles.


Scenic Driving

US Highway 12, the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All American Road, is a paved two-lane highway. It is a winding road, with limited opportunities to pass and speed limits 50 miles per hour or less. There are a few turnouts to allow faster traffic to pass. These, too, are limited. Access to the Highway 12 corridor is from Lewiston, Kooskia or Missoula.

Boating - Non-Motorized

For the whitewater thrill-seeker, the Lochsa River and some of its tributaries offer floating and kayaking opportunities generally from April to June. No permit is required. Check our list of licensed guides who are ready to help the amateur enjoy the excitement whitewater offers.
Note: This is a popular take-out location for kayakers, but is not recommended for floaters.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

The trails here are not groomed, but can make for a fun and pleasant snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing adventure.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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