The route along the Middle Fork of the Payette is beautiful and wildlife flourishes. The flat trail ambles through dense forest, small wildflower-filled meadows and a green understory, always near the banks of the wide river. Families will enjoy hiking up to Moon Dipper and Pine Burl hot springs. Beyond Moon Dipper, the upper canyon is rarely explored. If you don’t encounter a black bear, you will likely see bear scat. Overnighters will find many spots to set up camp.
Of course, there is a reason that the upper reaches of the canyon sees few visitors. The narrow canyon requires five fords of the Middle Fork of the Payette to reach Horseshoe Hot Springs, and the lack of use has obscured the trail in spots. During high water, usually until mid-July, the river is difficult, if not impossible to cross.
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