One of my all time favorite hikes is Pioneer Cabin Trail #122! It is a short day hike in Idaho that leads you to a super cool cabin at the peak. I’d say the hike is moderate but most beginner hikers could tackle it. If you are ever in Southern Idaho, make sure to give this hike a try!
Once you arrive in Ketchum, ID you turn NE onto Sun Valley Road. This road will turn into Trail Creek Road. Then turn right on Corral Creek Rd and follow this dirt road to the Pioneer Trail Head! There is a parking lot with a bathroom at the bottom so if you forget to go before hand there is a toilet for your convenience. Once you get there, make sure to sign in so that the forest service knows how many in your party in case of emergency!
The first part of this hike is probably .25 miles of flat trail leading into the switch backs. Then comes the incline of approximately 23 switchbacks going up the mountain. At a certain point you get out of the trees and it is an open desert land that always feels the longest (to me!) to get through. The last stretch of the hike is a little rocky and it feels like you will never reach the top. But then, all of a sudden, you come over a little ridge and there you are! The cabin is right in front of you!
For us the trip up takes just barely over 2 hours. But we definitely stop for snacks along the way!
The cabin itself is my favorite part. It is two rooms and has 3 bunk beds. And yes you can stay there if you stake your claim first! It has a little stove and a table. The walls are full of signatures from hikers. There is always a book where you can sign your name and tell your hiking story. The best part though are the treasures people leave behind. People from all over will leave food, cards, knick-knacks, and anything you want to share with the other hikers. You can take what you need but always leave what you can.
One of my favorite memories in the cabin was the first time we went! There was a bottle of peppermint Schnapps that someone had buried 10 years prior and then dug it up and left it in the cabin for people to enjoy. Yes, we all did take a pull from that bottle as I am sure hundreds of other hikers had done as well! If you don’t think about how may people we definitely swapped germs with, it really isn’t that bad!
The way down seems so easy after going up. It usually takes us about 90 minutes. You do need to be careful in some parts as their are rocks that you may slide on even with great hiking shoes. It is definitely a great trek and you feel so accomplished by the end of it!
What to Bring
First of all, you can definitely do this hike in tennis shoes if you do not have hiking boots. That being said, I always recommend hiking boots for your safety. It does get warm but can rain so I always wear leggings, a tank top, and a rain jacket that stays in my backpack unless needed.
We always bring lunch and snacks with us but I have seen many people go up and back down with only their bladder bags. Speaking of bladder bags, I typically go through about 2 liters of water on this hike so pack accordingly! We also bring bear spray, just in case. While bears are not prominent in the are there are many other wild animals so be prepared.
If you plan to sleep in the cabin make sure to bring a sleeping bag and lots of blankets! It does get chilly at night so bring enough to keep warm.
We hike quite a bit and try new hikes every where we go. This has stayed one of my favorite hikes over the years and I will continue to do it as often as I can! If you are ever in the area I highly recommend giving it a try.