Shorty Peak via Italian Ridge

Situated just a few miles south of the Canadian border, the Shorty Peak lookout tower perches atop 6,500-foot Shorty Peak with commanding 360-degree views across the northernmost parts of the American Selkirks, well into Canada, and eastwards across the Kootenai River Valley and the Purcells. It was refubished in 2005 and can be rented during the summer months.

Location Selkirk Mountains
Rating 3.3 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (uphill)
Distance 6.0 miles
Duration 2:00 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 1,360 feet
High Point 6,504 feet (Shorty Peak)
Low Point 5,261 feet (Trailhead)
Trail Type Out-and-back
Trailbed Packed dirt, loose rocks, granite slab
Water There is a spring about two-thirds up, off to the west about half a mile.
Status Unprotected
Administration Kaniksu National Forest
Permits None required
Conditions Excellent
Camping You can rent the lookout tower during the summer months. It accomodates 2 persons, featuring 2 twin beds.
Maps USGS Shorty Peak
Trailhead From Bonners Ferry head north on US-95 for about 15 miles, then take Highway 1 north for another 2 miles. Turn left onto Copeland Road and head west across the Kootenai valley, about 4 miles. Bear right when the road merges with Westside Road #417 and continue northwest for 9 miles. The road will eventually turn into FR #281 (make sure to stay left around the switchback on the blacktopped road). Continue for another 9 miles , with most of the road blacktopped, though a few potholes and some buckling shouild be expected. When you get to the fork with #655 bear right, taking 655 for 1.5 miles, then make a sharp right at the switchback, taking #282 for 4 miles to the trailhead in the saddle below Shorty Peak.

Google Directions (48.940311, -116.689306)

Season June to November (rental July to September)
Squirrel Density Plenty!
Features Mountaintop, Structure, Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 120.6 miles
  • Lewiston 234.3 miles
  • Sandpoint 75.1 miles
  • Seattle 424.8 miles
  • Spokane 147.0 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date July 21, 2017

Fork to the spring below Shorty PeakShorty Peak is an easy uphill hike with a rewarding destination. The trail follows the spine of Italian Ridge for the entire time, taking the shape of a generous single-track, except for the very bottom, where it is a double-track. It is uphill most of the time, though, with a short reprieve in the middle section where the trail just meanders along a plateau to a fork. The downhill branch of the fork leads to a season-long spring sprouting from a rubble field below Shorty Peak.

Privy, with Red Top behind it and Joe Peak to the rightBut for the upper reaches, the path is well shaded by a fir forest that features a dense understory of beargrass and huckleberries. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and Naughty even found a playmate (standing in the center of the balcony of the lookout tower).

Enjoy this hike? Let us know in the comments below!

Trailhead
Trailhead
The trail starts out as a double-track, but later morphs into a single-track
The trail starts out as a double-track, but later morphs into a single-track
The beargrass-lined trail continues uphill at a steady incline, following the spine of the ridge
The beargrass-lined trail continues uphill at a steady incline, following the spine of the ridge
Fork to the spring below Shorty Peak
Fork to the spring below Shorty Peak
Beargrass meadow
Beargrass meadow
The last bit is a bit steeper
The last bit is a bit steeper
Lone Tree Peak. It appears to have lost some of its loneliness
Lone Tree Peak. It appears to have lost some of its loneliness
View south towards the Parker Ridge, Long Canyon, and Smith Creek. The hump in the front to the right is Red Top
View south towards the Parker Ridge, Long Canyon, and Smith Creek. The hump in the front to the right is Red Top
Red Top in front, much of the American Selkirks in the background
Red Top in front, much of the American Selkirks in the background
View east with the Purcells in the background
View east with the Purcells in the background
Privy, with Red Top behind it and Joe Peak to the right
Privy, with Red Top behind it and Joe Peak to the right
Meadow near the spring
Meadow near the spring
Spring
Spring
Couldn’t find the obligatory carcass, so were switching to the obligatory grouse
Couldn’t find the obligatory carcass, so we’re switching to the obligatory grouse
No GPS signal on the way, so this is the way down only, with a sidetrip to the spring
No GPS signal on the way, so this is the way down only, with a sidetrip to the spring

Things to Consider

  • Mileage includes sidetrip to the spring


© 2016 – 2017 NaughtyHiker. All rights reserved. No duplication without permission.

Advertisements

4 Comments Add yours

  1. montucky says:

    Those are some gorgeous views! I will have to put that on my “to do” list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. naughtyhiker says:

    And the views are even better at some of the other lookout sites. There was a lookout on Red Top and on West Fork Mountain (on the privy photo, West Fork is slightly to the left of Joe Mtn) and you actually have line of sight of Shorty from those places. The ridge to the left of Red Top is the Smith ridge and there were 2 lookouts up there, Triangulation Smith and Cutoff Peak (a dilapidated cabin is still standing on Cutoff) that also have line of sight. It’s easy to make out Shorty Peak from those place because of the prominent lookout tower at the top. I’ll have trail guides to the other place out in the next couple of weeks. As you said, it’s gorgeous country…

    Like

  3. Mike says:

    Headed up there next week for a stay. Glad to hear the spring is still running!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. naughtyhiker says:

      It had a pretty good flow. Seems to be a popular rental. Enjoy the time there, the view is phenomenal!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s