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Porcupine Creek Trail 172
Details (5/25/2024)
Status: Closed
Difficulty: Beginner
Uses: Mt Biking & Hiking & Equestrian & Motorcycle & eBikes
Length: 9 miles
Start: 5,782'
End: 8,706'
Min: 5,782'
Max: 8,706'
Gain: 3,339'
Loss: -415'
Elevation Profile
// track pieces: 885, // elevation pieces: 885
Trailhead Forecast (5/25/2024)
Description / Access Information
Porcupine Creek Trail:
In 8.6 miles this trail gains around 2800 feet in elevation to a saddle where it meets the high end of Fisher Canyon Trail. Then the Porcupine Creek Trail continues up for another half-mile and more climbing reach the high end of the trail at its intersection with Timber Gulch Trail. Porcupine is a two-track road on its low end, then it narrows, but it remains a two-track, but one which an ATV fits on. The upper couple of miles are singletrack, and it gets real steep near the top.

The Porcupine Creek Trail is open to motorized use and much of it is built to accomodate ATV's. Higher up, where the trail turns into singletrack, it is open to motor vehicles that fit on singletrack trails - like motorcycles and electric bicycles. Everyone, please watch for anyone who might be using the trail. Hikers, hunters with pack-stock, equestrians, and others use this trail too.

Much like the nearby Fisher Canyon, Porcupine starts out open and mellow. A two-track road leads up into a continually constricting canyon, getting steeper as it gains elevation. Porcupine is a little more stretched out though, gaining elevation at a slightly more gradual grade than Fisher. But like Fisher Canyon, the more gradual climbing gets steeper and steeper as it parallels the creek running in the drainage. Then it hits the canyon's headwall, and up it the trail must go. These trails both gain the top with incredibly steep summit top-outs. Going either up or down them is demanding.

During July of 2020 the Ketchum Ranger District Trail Crew spent two weeks working on maintenance projects along Porcupine Creek Trail. Camped at the trail, the crew lead the rebuilding of long sections of the trail that were damaged by avalanches. They also rebuilt long sections the trail, bringing them out of the creek. There are still a lot of creek crossings, but the trail is no longer down in the riparian habitat for long stretches, like it was previously. Where the trail was choked with avalanche debris the crew cut-out hundreds of trees to clear a way through. Some of the logs were used to build a sturdy footbridge over one of the move V-shaped creek crossings.

The district partnered with the Fairfield Ranger District and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation on the project. The KRD shares ownership of a 48"-wide bulldozer, with the Fairfield District. It was used in the re-building of the route, and the IDPR supplied the services of one of their expert equipment operators to operate the dozer.

As the trail gets higher up, the many avalanche shoots lining the canyon present themselves. They are huge, and the views of as you climb higher are huge and impressive too.

Getting to the trail (no easy feat):
Getting to the trail in a motor vehicle is a bumpy and rocking affair, and you will want to be using a four-wheel-drive, high clearance vehicle. Take Quigley Canyon Road, heading east of Hailey for about 12.5 miles. The road is very rough and narrow with restricted lines of sight. In some places it is very steep and narrow without many places to facilitate a passing, should you meet a driver coming the other way. After 12.5 miles you will arrive at unsigned Baugh Creek. There are two wooden posted on the east side of the creek, where a sign used to mark this as Baugh Creek. This will bring you to Quigley Canyon Road's crossing of Baugh Creek. There is room to park a few vehicles near Quigley Canyon Road and Baugh Creek. Further to the east along Quigley Canyon Road beaver activity has blocked the road to use for those in cars or trucks. As mentioned above, the way in is rough, and some people will be not want to drive all the way in to Baugh, choosing instead to park further away, and to extend the length of their outing.

Once to Baugh Creek and Quigley Canyon Road you are close to the low ends of both Fisher Canyon and Porcupine Creek trails. Cross the creek and continue southeast on the two-track road. Soon, take a detour trail around on the north side of beaver activity that has water on the roadway. Stay on the main road, crossing Fisher Canyon Creek and bypassing the faint access into the low start of the Fisher Canyon Trail. Soon the road swings left/north near a gate at private property and you are now headed up Porcupine Canyon. Stay on the for 8.6 miles to reach Porcupine's intersection with Fisher Canyon Trail. There, you can turn right to climb about another half-mile to reach the top of Porcupine, at its intersection with Timber Gulch Trail.

Another approach is to drive out East Fork Road to Cove Creek. Taking Cove Creek Road over to its intersection with Quigley Canyon Road. Cove Creek Road is also a native-surface route, and narrow, and rocky. But the road through Cove Creek is perhaps a little less worn, and at times, it's sight-lines, of traffic ahead, is perhaps a little less constricted, than those found along Quigley Canyon Road.

An approach along Cove Creek Road also includes a lot of steep ups and downs, and it is definitely a four-wheel-drive, high-clearance road. Yet, it is in better condition than Quigley Canyon Road. A person aiming to access the low ends of Fisher Canyon or Porcupine Creek could park near the intersection of Quigley Canyon Road and Cove Creek Road, and start their trip in to the low end's of the trails from there. This will add significant distance to an outing, on a rough and steep road.

Non-motorized trail users can approach Fisher Canyon and Porcupine Creek trails from their high end, out of Federal Gulch. The Federal Gulch and Timber Draw trails are accessed out of the Ketchum Ranger District's Federal Gulch Campground, which is out East Fork Road, a couple miles past Triumph. Those on foot, bicycle or horseback can ride up Federal to Timber, then take Timber to its high intersection with Porcupine. From there it is not far to the high intersection of Porcupine and Fisher Canyon trails.

When heading out to these trails, please travel safely. Be mindful of the many people who use Quigley Canyon Road for walks, runs, or bike rides, and if motoring out, please drive slowly and safely through Hailey, Triumph, or other neighborhoods you may be passing through. Watch for others who may be out of sight over the next hill or bend in the road.