River Mileage


River Left

About Nugget Creek and Earl Parrott

Nugget Creek, mile 87.58, comes in on river-left deep in the heart of the Middle Fork of the Salmon’s “Impassable Canyon”. A short hike up the creek leads to a small grotto where the creek takes a plunge from the canyon wall high above. At the mouth of the creek, there is a small cabin that was perhaps built as early as 1917 by Earl Parrott.

Earl Parrott, who was later dubbed the “Hermit of Impassable Canyon”, lived in the Middle Fork canyon for over 25 years. He was as self-sustaining as one could be. He had two cabins – one at the top of the canyon where he had a garden and another at the mouth of Nugget Creek (which is visible from the river) where he panned for gold.

Only a handful of folks ever ran into Parrott while he resided on the Middle Fork. Those who did found him skittish and irritated. He preferred to be by himself and away from people – which is exactly why he took a liking to the Middle Fork’s remote canyon.

On August 15th, 1945, Earl Parrott died in Salmon, Idaho. Although his lower cabin remains, his upper cabin was burnt to the ground by a forest fire in 1989. In 2019, the USFS refurbished the Nugget Creek cabin.

Carrey, J., & Conley, C. (1992). Nugget Creek. In The Middle Fork: A guide. essay, Backeddy Books.
Solitaries. TERRITORY Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://territory-mag.com/articles/solitaries/