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High Creek

Tucked deep into the Mount Naomi Wilderness near the Utah-Idaho border, High Creek is a hidden gem featuring waterfalls, lakes, and soaring peaks. This strenuous hike gains nearly 2,800 feet over the 5.1 mile hike to the top of the canyon at High Creek Lake. The High Creek Trail is suitable for most adults in good physical condition. Kids with a little hiking experience may also enjoy this hike, however the optional trip to the summit of Cherry Peak is not recommended for children due to exposed ledges and sheer drops.

Trailhead

The High Creek Trailhead is located at the end of High Creek Road, northwest of Richmond, Utah.

  1. From Main Street in Richmond, Utah, drive north on Highway 91 for approximately 2.0 miles.
  2. Turn right onto 12100 North/High Creek Road. The turnoff has recreation area signage for High Creek.
  3. Continue east for 0.8 miles and bear right, continuing onto High Creek Road.
  4. Follow High Creek Canyon Road for approximately 5.6 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road.

A vault toilet is available at the trailhead.

NOTE: The final 3.5 miles of the road to the High Creek Trailhead follows a narrow, somewhat rugged dirt road. A high clearance vehicle is recommended, however in good conditions a carefully driven passenger car can usually make it to the trailhead.

The Hike

From the High Creek Trailhead, begin hiking on Trail 005 signed as the Mount Naomi National Recreation Trail. Hike along the river until arriving at a bridge over the creek. Cross the bridge and continue up canyon on the well-maintained trail.

After about one mile, the trail splits. Take the trail on the right, continuing on the Mount Naomi Trail, which immediately crosses the creek again on a footbridge. Follow the trail as it climbs through a deep forest into the South Fork of High Creek. Over the next mile, two more river crossings are encountered. Use the small log bridges and continue up the canyon.

After crossing over to the east side of the creek, the trail begins to climb away from the river, gaining nearly 800 feet of elevation before reuniting with the stream at a series of small ponds in a beautiful meadow below Cherry Peak, approximately 3.5 miles from the trailhead.

For many, this area is the main draw of High Creek. In the late spring and summer, the meadow becomes overgrown with an assortment of beautiful wildflowers. The solid rock face of Cherry Peak looms more than 2,000 feet overhead and seasonal waterfalls cascade down steep, glaciated canyon walls, offering an idyllic alpine wilderness experience.

Continue to the top of the meadow where the trail begins to climb steeply as it gains more than 1,300 feet of elevation before reaching the top of the canyon and High Creek Lake. This small, but strikingly beautiful lake is situated in a spectacular glacial cirque, surrounded by soaring cliffs.

From High Creek Lake, it isn’t much farther to reach the top of 9,768-foot Cherry Peak. From this vantage point, you’ll have an exhilarating view of the terrain you just hiked through and much of Cache Valley in the distance. To reach the top of Cherry Peak, follow the trail south from the lake to the saddle where the trail splits. From the saddle, leave the trail and follow the ridge northwest to the summit of Cherry Peak. The walk-up route is unmarked but is generally easy to follow as it traverses a sheer cliff edge to the top. Be very careful near the cliff edge; some areas have sheer drops of nearly 800 feet to the canyon below. If you do not have excellent route-finding skills, or are uncomfortable with heights, do not attempt the hike to Cherry Peak.

Hiking distance from the trailhead to High Creek Lake and back is approximately 10.2 miles round trip.

Rules and Regulations

  • Do not camp within 200 feet of water sources or trails.
  • Keep dogs under control at all times.
  • No littering.
  • Pack out trash.

Special Considerations

High Creek can run strong in the spring and early summer. The bridges at the numerous river crossings are often not well maintained. Use extreme caution during periods of high flow.

Credits

This trail guide provided by Backcountry Post.