Gedney Creek


Forest Service Trail #708

Why? Delightful creek.

Season: May through October

Ease: Moderate, with just 700 feet of elevation gain over 4 ½ miles

Gedney is a creek that keeps its secrets well. A quick glance while driving the bridge over Gedney just as it enters the Selway River gives no hint of what lies just a few yards upstream. At the bridge, it’s just an ordinary creek. Upstream it’s a delight. Not a scenery delight, but a delight of a creek.

Basically, we’re talking white water here. I don’t recall a stretch of more than a couple feet that wasn’t white. There were waterfalls galore – not big ones, but fine little guys. There were pools and riffles and rushing around rocks or through gaps between the rocks. The water was so white, in fact, that the accompanying noise made it difficult to carry on a conversation while walking the trail.

Some of the side streams were just as fine. One about a mile in has a waterfall that slides over mossy rock, then separates into several small streams as it nears the trail. Two other streams about 3 miles in are long series of waterfalls and pools. It’s possible to see a lot of each, for the trail heads deep into each drainage.

For the first 1 ½ miles or so, the trail stays near the water, within about 40 feet in elevation according to the USGS map. Then the trail heads up and stays up most of the time for the rest of the first 4 ½ miles, to where Gedney splits into the West Fork Gedney and Canteen Creek. Continuing farther would require crossing the latter, something that would require a bit of an effort in the spring, and then hutching up the steep ridge point ahead, something that would be hard work any time of year.
The Gedney drainage is a green place, at least in spring. The trail is bounded by trees and shrubs all the way, vegetation that makes picture taking a bit of a drag if you’re trying to get a good creek shot. But the greenery also would make the trail cooler in summer than most off the Selway, probably a positive. There’s also evidence that at the right time year, there would be a lot of wildflowers.

While it’s true there are no real views from this hike, there are occasional glimpses of higher areas toward Louse Point and views of the higher reaches of the hillsides the trail traces.

Trail Notes: The Forest Service says that the trail is not maintained above the creek split about 4½ miles in.

Note: Gedney Creek was named for a trapper who worked the stream.

Directions: Turn onto the road along the Selway River just shy of mile marker 97 on Highway 12. The trailhead is on the left, just after the bridge over Gedney Creek and just past mile marker 17. There is an informal campsite at the trailhead.

Information: Fenn Ranger Station, NPNF, (208) 926-4258.

Map: USGS Selway Falls, Idaho.