The Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway is home to a high concentration of Elk, Deer and Bald Eagles. There are numerous Highway turnouts made available for wildlife viewing from the road. The high concentration of deer and Elk is the result of the canyon being at a lower elevation than the surrounding mountains, allowing the animals to feed on sage and bitterbrush. Though this food is low in nutritional value, it provides some food during the winter months. Then the route becomes a Migration path back to the higher elevations as the weather warms in the spring. Hundreds of Deer and Elk can be seen moving across the valley and up the mountainsides to the higher grasses as the snow recedes.
Turnouts for viewing the wildlife are at mileposts 17.5, 20.2, 21.3, 23.5, 27.8, and 33 between Garden Valley and Lowman. A large turnout complete with public binoculars.
You will see many White Tail Deer, Mule deer, and Rocky Mountain Elk. the White Tailed Deer raises its tail like a white flag when it runs. The Mule Deer has large mule shaped ears. The Elk has a heart shaped whitish rump patch that surrounds its tail. Its head and neck are darker than the rest of its body.
There are also many wild Turkeys, Marmots, an occasional Bear, Cougar, or possibly a Moose, as well as many Fox, Chukers, Osprey, and you may even see a shy Wolf.
Some of the things to be seen along the Byway are listed below.
1. Staircase Rapids
Spectacular river scenery features one of the most famous rapids along the South Fork of the Payette River.
2. Area Information and Map
Large area wide map and a scenic vista of the confluence of the South Fork and Middle Forks of the Payette River.
3. Historic City of Crouch
The historic city of Crouch lies less than one mile north of the roadway.
4. Pioneer Cemetery
Cemetery brings reminders of days long past of the rich heritage of this area.
5. Alder Creek Bridge
Location of historic toll bridge and home site of artist Charles Ostner whose 1869 George Washington woodcarving stands in Idaho’s State Capitol Rotunda.
6. Grimes Pass Dam
Interpretive panels depict the historic dams along the South Fork of the Payette River that powered mining dredges in the Boise Basin.
7. Danskin Station and Rest Areas
Big game viewing, white water access, river safety information, and public restrooms. Named for Peter Danskin who maintained a stagecoach relay station here.
8. Gallagher Flat Wildlife Viewpoint.
Magnificent vistas for winter wildlife viewing. Also visible are the original foundations of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp at Gallagher Flat.
9. Big Falls Viewpoint
Big Falls drops 40 feet requiring users to portage past this point. No hiking access from road.
10. Pine Flats Campground and Hot Springs
GPS Coordinates are: Latitude 44.0624 and Longitude -115.6862
Public use area developed by the CCC in the 1930’s. These hot springs provide unique habitat for plants and animals as well as natural spas for people.
11. Deadwood Campground
Rest area, Julie Creek trailhead, and white water access. Archeological excavations revealed this campsite was occupied between AD 534-731 and again from AD 1019-1221.