Hike Darby Canyon to the Wind Cave

Darby Wind Caves Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Josh Packer

Spectacular views. Challenging hike. Awesome cave to explore. Well-maintained trail. Wildlife. Wide variety of wildflowers during summer. Beautiful creek. Wild huckleberries to eat along the trail. 6 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain: 1880 feet.

The best time to hike Darby Canyon is May through September, since the snow stays late in spring and comes earlier in fall.

Hiking up Darby Canyon to the Wind Caves provides spectacular views of the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and is a fun, yet challenging hike. It is a popular day hike, and many families will even take their younger children on the adventure. The trail is about 6 miles round trip, so start in the morning or early afternoon to be back before the sunset that night.

One of people's favorite activities along the hike is to pick wild huckleberries between late July and early August. Huckleberries are difficult to grow commercially, so people hiking love to pick them. Make sure to know what huckleberries look like as some berries are poisonous along the hike.

Back to the hike. Once you pass the trailhead, hike up the path and cross the footbridge as seen in the picture above. The trail will start going up the mountainside, and you will cross the boundary into the Jediah Smith Wilderness. You will ascend more than 1,200 feet in less than 2 miles. Along most of the trail you will see a colorful array of wildflowers during summer and fall colors during autumn. Wildlife can also be seen usually in the early morning or later at night.

About halfway up the hike, you will see the Wind Cave across the canyon. It was here that I saw a bear across the ravine on the other side of the canyon luckily, so make sure to have bear spray. Once you are about 2.5 miles in, the trail splits, so stay to the right to reach the cave, and you will cross the creek and climb multiple switchbacks to get there.

You will pass a memorial for 5 hikers that were killed by lightning, so quickly retreat down the mountain if thunderstorms are coming. Once you reach the cave, you'll notice water running out of it. Watch your step as the rocks tend to be slippery. This would be a good time to put on your water shoes if you brought them.

You can explore parts of the cave but will need repelling equipment if you plan on descending the steep drop-offs. There is a passage way from these steep drop offs that connects to a nearby ice cave, which produces a cold wind. This is where the name the "Wind Cave" comes from.

You will get some magnificent views of the valley and forest from the cave. Once you are ready to go back, head back down the same trail you just came up.

Rexburg Directions: Head north on Highway 20 and take Exit 339 towards Driggs and Jackson. Once you pass Driggs, the turnoff for the canyon is about 2 to 3 miles farther down the road. Take a left turn 3/4 of a mile passed the Spud Drive-in Theater onto 3000 S. Follow the road straight, and it will soon turn into a gravel road which takes you into Wyoming. When you hit the "T" in the road, turn right. Follow the road for 2 miles until you come to a fork in the road. Take the left fork, and then follow the road for 2.5 more miles. Taking a right will take you to the girls' scout camp. At the end of the 2.5 miles, you’ll come to the parking lot. Park, and walk up to the trailhead.

From Idaho Falls: Take US 26 east to Swan Valley. Turn left at the square ice cream gas station onto ID 31/Pine Creek Road and follow it until you arrive at Victor. (If you've never had square ice cream, you should definitely check it out.) Then turn left onto ID-31/N Main Street and follow the road until you get to E 3000 S just before Driggs and turn right. The directions are the same as the Rexburg directions from here.

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: 43° 41′ 11.706″ N
Longitude: 110° 58′ 7.596″ W

Cave GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: 43° 39′ 57.684″ N
Longitude: 110° 57′ 21.474″ W


Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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Overall rating: 

Seriously cool cave

Loved this hike! We went early on a Monday in late August and didn't see many people until we were on our way out. Trail is climbs pretty evenly until those last couple of switchbacks and then it's steep! definitely doable.

Great day hike

Chill hike with great scenery and just enough challenge at the last stretch to keep it interesting. The cave is cold, but really cool and bring you rock climbing gear if you’re into that.


This is such a fun hike. The waterfall and the cave are gorgeous. The last bit of trail up to the cave is a bit steep, but it doesn't last long. Be sure to bring a jacket for the cave, as it's chilly.