On Saturday Elisse and I were looking for an afternoon activity. Some internet searching led us to a nature trail out past Ririe, near Heise.
Cress Creek Nature Trail
First, let’s talk about how to get there. Here are the official directions from the BLM page for Cress Creek:
About 20 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho
From Idaho Falls, take the North Yellowstone Highway north through town. Follow Highway 26 northeast towards Ririe and Jackson. About 3 miles past the Ririe turnoff, follow the signs to Heise. Bear right after crossing a large irrigation canal. Cross the Snake River and turn left immediately onto the gravel road headed towards Rexburg. 1¼ miles on the right side of the road is the trailhead parking area.
That’s great if you’re a 65+ year old farmer who’s used to getting directions like this. I just wanted an address to plug into Google Maps, but the place wasn’t even in Google Maps. Alas, the directions were sufficient, but I did some homework and here’s the address in Google Maps that will get you there:
11894 S Snake River Rd, Rexburg, ID 83440
The parking lot is right off the road and has restrooms (not for the sensitive smeller). The first half mile of the hike is wheelchair (and stroller) accessible with a couple of picnic tables available. We were out there on a 90+ degree day so it was pretty hot. The shade is few and far between at times, so bring plenty of your own water.
At the end of the paved trail you encounter a small creek that is fed by a natural spring. The spring is warm water, thus allowing the water cress to grow even in the winter (hence the name of the creek). Here the trail makes a large loop. To the left you go up the stream through a more wooded area. The trail has several stations along the way that identify wildflowers, animal tracks & scats, and trees. As you loop around you come to the edge of the bluff and have a fabulous view of the valley and the river.
All told it was about a 1 hour to 1.5 hour hike. Not too strenuous and definitely worth the view. If you’re looking for a quick little hike to get out and enjoy the weather, I highly recommend it.