One of the first major hikes I went on in Idaho was to these beautiful lakes tucked back in the mountains southeast of Swan Valley. This 13 mile out-and-back trail features a winding path along Palisade creek, through the trees, sheltered valleys, and steep canyon edges, to the Lower Palisade Lake. From there the valley opens up and the trail heads further northeast until it veers right heading southeast up the base of Palisade peak. Emerging from the trees, and upon cresting the final ridge, bask in the stunning beauty of the Upper Palisade Lake with its signature island and blue-green water. Trout swim gracefully in the crystal clear water, though their numbers are dwindling. Moose frequent the tall grasses of the several meadows along the trail. Eagles soar above, and a variety of woodland life thrives in this area.
The trail is a popular one during the summer months and can become quite busy. But caught on a quiet day, this trail still remains a favorite of mine. I have painted 4 paintings just from this hike alone as its beauty cannot be captured in just photos and words alone. I highly recommend visiting this spot!
Some things to keep in mind: 13 miles is a lot and you are in the wilderness with no cell service. If you feel like you can't make it to the Upper Palisade Lake, don't push yourself. The Spring months are rainy, cold, and the lakes are low. It still gets warm here during the summer months. Bring plenty of water, or a way to filter water. The fish population is being depleted, rapidly enough that I noticed a difference in their numbers in just two years. Please look up the fishing laws and follow them. Camping is allowed at both lakes and in the meadows, just please don't trash the area. The Palisades get a lot of snow during the winter. You can still access the trail and snowshoe it, but keep in mind that when my friends and I went in April there was still 3 feet of snow on the ground at the lower lake. Lastly, take a camera! There is incredible beauty to be found in the Palisades!! Here are a few of my pictures taken from April-September.