5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
Trail Creek is one of the trails that begins from Grandjean in the Sawtooth Mountains.
It is perhaps the most popular hike in the area, and is commonly done as a one-night backpacking trip or as a day hike.
The destination is Trail Creek Lakes, a series of alpine lakes tucked beneath sheer-walled, jagged peaks. Most hikers go only to the first lake, but there is the option to continue off-trail, on bouldery and steep terrain, to reach the higher lakes.
Backcountry camping is allowed with a permit, and the first lake has enough flat areas for 3-4 groups to camp comfortably.
Far more than that may show up on summer weekends, however. Reaching the lake is a straightforward hike on a well-defined trail.
It travels through a regenerating burned area for much of the distance, offering little shade.
Luckily, the trail crosses a creek in several places, providing some relief in hot weather.
Then there is the cold water of the lake, which is excellent for swimming and fishing.