Hart Creek and Little Hart Creek

Hart Creek, located near Oreana, has a beautiful slot canyon with wonderful boulder caves. Little Hart Creek, a tributary located just to the north, has its own canyon. The hikes are short enough and close enough that both can be done easily in one day.

Oreana is reached from route 78. Go east from Murphy for 13.2 miles. Turn left and go south on Oreana Loop Road for 2.3 miles. Turn right on the Bachman Grade Road which is incorrectly labeled Triangle Road on the topo map. In 2.8 miles take a dirt road on the right. High clearance is recommended. Bear left at all intersections. In two miles there is a corral and the road splits. Go straight ahead, and the road immediately ends. This is the starting point for Little Hart Creek. If you make a sharp left at the corral and go another half mile you will arrive at a good parking area at an overlook on top of a hill. This is the start for Hart Creek.

Hart Creek

From the overlook hike down an old jeep trail on the left. Stay on the rim of the wash (left side looking upstream) following a trail. The trail dips down to the creek bed at the canyon mouth. The hike up canyon is steep and rugged with difficult scrambles over and under huge boulders. There are wonderful boulder caves, some of which provide good access up canyon. It is a good idea to bring a 50 foot rope to provide a belay or handline for the inexperienced. The canyon is very narrow with overhanging walls in many places. The stream bed eventually goes under an arch. Above that the canyon widens out and the walls get lower. Go another quarter mile and there is a short narrows after which the canyon ends. Return the same way. It is about two miles round trip.

Little Hart Creek

From the parking area cross the creek and pick up a trail on its north side.(right facing up creek) The trail is some distance from the creek near a fence. If you have trouble finding the trail, it is easy enough going without it. The trail leads to the canyon mouth where there is a very short brushy spot. The hike up creek is very easy. The canyon opens up after the narrow canyon mouth. In about a quarter mile it starts to get narrow. As the canyon turns right scramble up steep rock. Follow the creek bed and you will soon arrive at a steep narrow slot. Climb a 12 foot pitch. Some may prefer a rope at this spot. Scramble up under a chock stone, and you will arrive at the end of the canyon. Return the same way. It is about two miles round trip.

Map: USGS quad ; Oreana

The following photos of Hart Creek are by Thomas Oetzell. More fine photos of Idaho canyons can be seen on his website at http://www.idahoexposure.com/hike/thumbnails.php?album=3

   

Additional Hart Creek photos:

Little Hart Creek