Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Rock Hounding and Gold Panning Tally Baker Creek Rock Hounding Hike

Tally Baker Creek Rock Hounding Hike

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Tally Baker Creek Hike in Idaho

Tally Baker Creek is located to the north and east of the Ice Springs campground in the Fall Creek area of Idaho. My thinking in choosing this area for some gold panning and rock hounding was it's semi-close proximity to some old mines in this area. It also seemed like a beautiful area to take a hike, explore and get into the great outdoors.

Hiking NFS Road 151C and NFS Trail 621
As usual, I planned out this hike using Google Earth, USGS Topo Maps and the Idaho Parks and Recreation website. I learned from my last hike that off-trail hiking in the Fall Creek area is a tough chore so I planned 4 different routes. It would be a last minute decision as to which route I would take.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

Hiking the wide and smooth NFS Road 151C (all vehicles allowed) as it follows Tally Baker Creek was nice. While I only covered about 4.4 miles I did gain/lose a little over 1,400 feet in elevation. Overall, not an exhausting hike by any means while making it out to 43.506573°, -115.369698°.

Pine trees and some pretty steep mountainside dominate the scenery along Tally Baker Creek. And the main creek was flowing pretty good for a late June day. There was only one place where the road got muddy and wet but that consisted of only about a 20 foot section.

I also ventured up NFS Trail 621 about 1/3 of a mile and then off-trail following a small intermittent stream. The off-trail portion along the stream was rough going and quite soggy even away from the stream. I'm beginning to get the idea that off-trail hiking isn't fun and will likely give up on this idea. Just to let you know NFS Trail 621 is ATV legal and from the evidence I saw, I'd say the trail gets heavy hunting pressure in the Fall.

Gold Panning Creek 621
I'm calling the intermittent stream off NFS Trail 621 “Creek 621” at 43.507669°, -115.374779°. Well, this was my first real attempt at gold panning this year. It certainly was a small steam and after looking in a few spots, I knew there was little to no chance of finding any color.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

But I got down and dirty on one section and cleared 3 pans of gravel and mud. Not a speck of gold to be found. On the 4th pan, I had the help of my every faithful dog Addie. She seemed to like the taste of the muddy water in my gold pan. I guess at least I was productive in one thing...keeping my dog hydrated. Laughing

Rock Hounding Tally Creek Road
Overall, this whole area has some fair to good potential for finding “cool rocks”. Lots of quartz, some of it smoky and many other interesting formations in the road cuts. I came home with less than a pound of rocks from this trip and 3 of them were keepers. The others are now part of my garden.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

The 3 keepers I found fell in the “little sawtooths/drusy quartz” category. And I found them just off NSF Road 151C on a hillside. These rocks certainly made up for the lack of gold in my gold pan.

See a few more pictures from this album:

I certainly had a good time on this hike, rock hounding and gold panning trip. Have any suggestions where I could go next to combine at least 2 of these activities? Leave a comment and let me know.


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