Darby Wind Cave via Darby Canyon
This is a well travelled hike in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness area. The parking lot is large, and easy to find following roadside signs from Idaho HWY 33. The trail starts off relatively flat following a beautiful creek. After nearly a mile, the trail starts a much steeper incline up the canyon. There are beautiful vistas along the way of the cliff bands on the opposite canyon walls as well as far off vistas of the neighboring Teton mountains. After about 2.5 miles, the trail begins a much steeper incline to the cave opening. The last 200 feet of vertical is gained by climbing well defined rock steps and trail switchbacks. A beautiful waterfall is visible just below the cave and is also a nice turn around destination for those who do not wish to hike on the more exposed steeper steps leading to the cave entrance. Many hikers were carrying hiking sticks, and these are really helpful when descending the upper most section of the trail. In general, they are not necessary, but of course always offer hikers an extra sense of security. Most of the hike is children friendly, but the last steep section could be difficult for really young children as there is significant erosion occurring, and the trail exposure is quite high. There is a beauitiful rocky wildflower park area at about 2.5 miles, which could be a great spot for some of the hiking group to rest and explore while the more serious hikers go on to the cave.
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