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Salmon Challis National Forest

June 10 - June 16

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There are multiple trails that leave from the Historic Loon Creek Guard Station, where the volunteers will be housed, that lead to Wilderness. Because motorized/mechanized equipment is not allowed in designated Wilderness areas, the Forest Service clears downed trees that have fallen across the trail with cross cut saws. Volunteers will receive training in the use and care of our 100 year old saws to be able to safely clear trail. There is light trail maintenance that we will be working on as well, such as water drainage dips and some light brushing.

Because of the logistical challenges here on the Salmon-Challis the AHS workweek Will NOT BE the standard “Monday through Friday” but instead will be a Wednesday through Tuesday one. We will meet at the Challis office on Wednesday, June 10 at 1pm. We will make sure everyone’s got what they need for the week then travel three hours to the Guard Station. Work will begin the following morning at 7am for an 8hr day, with a half hour lunch break. The following day, Friday, will be similar. Saturday will be a free day where volunteers can explore the hot springs nearby or there are excellent fishing and hiking opportunities or great places to just set up a hammock and read. Our next two work days will be Sunday and Monday then we will pack up and drive out on Tuesday morning. We will cut our way up the “Pioneer” and “Trail” trails then hike back to the Guard Station at the end of the day. As we cut we will progressively get farther into the wilderness each day, or we can move on to another trail to provide for shorter hikes, depending on the aspirations of the group.


US Forest Service




Day hiking up to 7 miles each work day

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

This area offers amazing hunting and fishing opportunities as well as; hiking, backpacking, world class boating, and hot springs around every corner. The Frank Church River of No Return, the largest wilderness area in the continental United States, is over 2.3 million acres in size and it's topographical extremes and wild rivers are right here. Nearby you will also find; Borah Peak, Idaho's tallest peak and the Wild & Scenic upper Salmon River. Rich in history, the Challis area has many attractions to offer. Explore the Custer Motorway which once provided wagon and stage access for delivering supplies to the mining camps and towns along the Yankee Fork or drive the Salmon River Scenic Byway. See the old mines, mining camps, ghost towns and relics at one of the many guard stations, fire lookouts, the Custer Town Site or the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park.

Accommodations Description

Though Challis is a modest town it does offer all of the basic amenities such as two grocery stores, camping, motels and a handful of restaurants and bars. If necessary, the USFS can coordinate securing a dispersed camping area for volunteers before and after the project. The Loon Creek Station, where the volunteers will be stationed, is well equipped with potable water, beds, wood stove, grill and a full kitchen. We can also provide a couple two burner camp stoves to allow for outside cooking. There is an outside camp shower with an “on demand” water heater. Also, there is a hot springs nearby and, though it is often flooded by spring runoff, it’s usually “good to go” by June. There is a shared sleeping quarters with enough mattresses to accommodate everyone though sleeping outside in a tent is recommended as it is more comfortable that time of year, and volunteers will have more privacy. With advanced notice tents and air mattresses may be provided to those traveling by air who have baggage restrictions. It is a three hour drive on a rough dirt road from the Ranger Station to the Guard Station. We will mobilize to the Guard Station, as a group, in Forest Service trucks. Volunteers are welcome to bring their personal vehicles if they would like, if so, a high clearance vehicle with good, thick ply, tires is advised. Volunteers should bring their own sleeping bags, pillows, towels, and personal items.


No airport pickup is provided for this trip. The closest airports are 2.5 to 3.5 hours away. These include; Idaho Falls Regional, Pocatello Regional and Missoula International Airport. Meeting times will be sent to registrants when the trip is confirmed.


Salmon Challis National Forest
311 US Highway 93, Challis, Idaho 83226 United States