Scotchman Peak

For all its fame, Scotchman Peak is neither the tallest mountain in North Idaho nor in the Cabinets. It is, however, the tallest crag in Bonner County and in the Idaho Cabinets. Once home to a lookout tower, it boasts of phenomenal views across Lake Pend Oreille, the Montana Cabinets, and the Coeur d’Alene Mountains.

Location Cabinet Mountains
Rating 3.9 out of 5
Difficulty More Difficult (steep)
Distance 8.4 miles
Duration 3:38 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 3,649 feet
High Point 7,029 feet (Scotchman Peak)
Low Point 3,335 feet (trailhead)
Trail Type Out-and-back
Trailbed Packed dirt, talus
Trail# 65
Water None
Status Proposed Wilderness
Administration Kaniksu National Forest
Conditions Excellent
Permits None required
Camping There is a campsite a bit over half a mile below the peak, but it is dry
Maps USGS Clark Fork, Scotchman Peak
Trailhead From ID-200 in Clark Fork, take Main Street north (that is at the Chevron station). Outside Clark Fork this will turn into a gravel road called Mosquito Creek Road. Continue for 2.5 miles, bearing left at a fork on the way (you don’t want Lower Mosquito Creek Road), then turn right onto FR-2294 (it is signed for trail #65). Continue for a mile, then turn left onto FR-2294A (also signed for #65). After half a mile swing another left (signed) and continue for another mile. The trailhead is to the left (signed) down a short spur road. There is plenty of parking.

Google Directions (48.164508, -116.098435)
Season July – October
Squirrel Density Lots! And big white wooly horned monsters, too!
Features Mountaintop, Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 77.4 miles
  • Lewiston 190.9 miles
  • Sandpoint 31.6 miles
  • Seattle 381.3 miles
  • Spokane 103.4 miles
Resources
Date July 15, 2018

Scotchman PeakScotchman Peak is the backyard mountain of Clark Fork, towering an impressive 7,000 feet above the town and Lake Pend Oreille. The bare peak offers 360-degree views far into Idaho and Montana and thus served as a lookout tower site for 30 years. The weather at the top can be unpredictible, so plan accordingly (2 tower watchmen died independently of each other of lightning strikes).

View south into the Cabinets, about halfway upGetting there is a bit of a bear, since you’re ascending nearly 4,000 feet over the course of 4 miles. The lower half is fairly nicely forested, while the top half traverses sweeping alpine meadows and talus fields. Starting early on a hot day is certainly advisable. We were at the trailhead at 7.30 and there were already half a dozen cars there. Expect heavy foot traffic on sunny days!

Sugarloaf MountainDuring the first portion of trail the forest is thick with fir and an occasional cedar. The trail switchbacks frequently and gains altitude quickly. Soon you enjoy views of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and wish for more shade. The forest gets lighter as you head higher, though. About a mile into the hike, the trail rides the ridge head on. A mile onward, the incline is less steep, with sweeping switchbacks crossing an extensive meadow with fabulous views of the lake.

A kid goat. Mamma wasnt far awayAbout a half mile from the peak the trail passes a dry campsite, then crosses a talus field to a false peak with great views, a few forlorn-looking patches of snow, and the Scotchman pinnacle front and center. The last bit of trail is mostly across talus and you’ll likely encounter the local herd of pesky mountain goats. We saw five in total, three adults and two kids, of which only one was too close for comfort. Don’t feed the goats; instead, scare them away by making noise–it worked quite well (a couple of years ago someone got gored by one of the goats). There are 2 peaks at the top, the first flattish, the second more cragged and a bit difficult to ascend (Naughty managed, though, and the mountain goat most certainly did).

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

Trailhead
Trailhead
Views of the Coeur dAlene Mountains start to open up quickly
Views of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains start to open up quickly
Antelope Mountain
Antelope Mountain
View south into the Cabinets, about halfway up
View south into the Cabinets, about halfway up
Sugarloaf Mountain
Sugarloaf Mountain
A first glimpse of Lake Pend Oreille
A first glimpse of Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille and the sheer cliffs of the Green Monarchs to the left
Lake Pend Oreille and the sheer cliffs of the Green Monarchs to the left
View of Lake Pend Oreille from a mountain meadow
View of Lake Pend Oreille from a mountain meadow
Campsite
Campsite
View of Lake Pend Oreille from the false peak
View of Lake Pend Oreille from the false peak
View from the false peak
View from the false peak
Goat Mountain
Goat Mountain
Naughty found a patch of snow to cool down in
Naughty found a patch of snow to cool down in
Scotchman Peak
Scotchman Peak
Scotchman #2
Scotchman #2
Scotchman #2 and lingering snow fields
Scotchman #2 and lingering snow fields
Nanny and kid on a rock ledge. Looks comfy!
Nanny and kid on a rock ledge. Looks comfy!
Billy blocked our way. Eventually, he yielded without a fight
Billy blocked our way. Eventually, he yielded without a fight
A shelter on Scotchman Peak
A shelter on Scotchman Peak
View into the Coeur dAlene Mountains
Panorama shot from Scotchman Peak
View into the Montana Cabinets
View into the Montana Cabinets
Goat Mountain and Lake Pend Oreille
Goat Mountain and Lake Pend Oreille
USGS marker
USGS marker
A pesky mountain goat and Lake Pend Oreille in the background
A pesky mountain goat and Lake Pend Oreille in the background
More of said goat and lake
More of said goat and lake
Naughty being naughty atop Scotchman Peak
Naughty being naughty atop Scotchman Peak
A kid goat. Mamma wasnt far away
A kid goat. Mamma wasn’t far away

Trailmap

© 2016 – 2018 NaughtyHiker. All rights reserved. No duplication without permission.

Advertisements

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for helping to spread the word about keeping a safe distance between the mountain goats and humans!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. naughtyhiker says:

      Absolutely! Safety is first, for the hikers and goat’s sakes

      Like

  2. Teresa Butler says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this virtual tour! I can no longer hike due to my incredibly flat and broken down feet, but now I feel like I’ve been there too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. naughtyhiker says:

      I’m glad you like the photos. It was a picture-perfect day!

      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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s