Showing posts from July, 2011

Thompson Peak, ID

Summit elevation:  10,751 ft (3,276 m)
Distance: ~12 miles (19.3 km)
Elevation gain: ~4200 ft (1,280 m)
Class: 3
Date: July 16, 2011

Thompson Peak is the highest point in the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho and is one of over 50 peaks over 10,000 feet high in the range.  The peak is southwest of the town of Stanley in the Sawtooth Wilderness of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.  It is the most popular peak in the Sawtooths, but do not be surprised if you are the only one on the trail.  The peak is most commonly accessed from the Redfish Lake trailhead, but is just as easily accessed from the Stanley Ranger Station.

From Redfish Lake the tail travels along Fishhook Creek but soon turns up the ridge to the north of the valley for a moderate elevation gain before intersecting the Alpine Way Trail.  From the Stanley Ranger Station the Alpine Way Trail travels through a mostly uninteresting section of forest and has mostly gentle elevation gain.  At this point the route is the sam…

Little City of Rocks

Location: Gooding, Idaho
Date: July 10, 2011

The Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area is a collection of odd rock formations at  the northern edge of the Snake River plain in the high desert of southern Idaho.  This area is neither the same as nor located near the City of Rocks National Reserve in far southern Idaho.

Located between Gooding and Fairfield on Idaho state route 46, the Little City of Rocks can be accessed from a one mile dirt access road that can be in rough condition.  From the parking area, an unmarked trail goes through the valley and along the wash.  The rock formations make up the sides of the valley and last for about 1.5 miles up the valley.  Take a walk off the trail to explore the rocks, and you may find a few natural arches.

The Little City of Rocks is one of several Wilderness Study Areas in the Bennett Hills managed by the Shoshone Field Office.  West from the Little City of Rocks you would reach Black Canyon, Gooding City of Rocks East, Gooding City of…

Goat Lake, Sawtooth Wilderness

Distance: about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) round trip
Elevation: 8,220 ft (2,505 m)
Elevation gain: 1615 ft (492 m)
Date: July 3, 2011

Goat Lake is a popular mid-length day hike in the northern end of the Sawtooth Wilderness in central Idaho.  To reach Goat Lake, start at the Iron Creek trailhead west of Stanley and head uphill on the gentle grade of the trail that follows Iron Creek towards Sawtooth Lake (the most popular hike in the Sawtooth NRA).  At the intersection with the Alpine Way trail, take a right towards the east and immediately cross Iron Creek.

Follow the trail up the moraine (glacial ridge) and across it until you see the next valley (Goat Creek).  Before the trail turns to descend the ridge, there is a sign with "trail" engraved on it with an arrow pointing to the left while someone has scratched into the sign "Goat Lake" with an arrow to the right.  Follow the hiker trail, which may be blocked at the intersection with the Alpine Way trail and is not main…

Big Hole National Battlefield

Location: southwest Montana
Date: July 2, 2011

On my way from Missoula, MT to Stanley, ID I made a quick stop at Big Hole National Battlefield in southwest Montana very close to the Idaho border.  This park commemorates the location of the largest battle during the five month long Nez Perce War in 1877 between the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce people.

The war was part of the United States efforts to relocate Indians to reservations, which the Nez Perce refused to do until they surrendered in October 1877.  During the battle of the Big Hole 80-90 natives were killed during the two day battle on August 9-10.

There is a small visitor center at the battlefield as well as a few miles of trails around important sites.  Somehow I failed to take any pictures during my visit.

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