Granite Mountain

Trail Length: 6.26 miles (roundtrip)
Trailhead Elevation: 6,740’
Granite Mountain Summit:  8,479′
Elevation Gain:  +1,739’
Difficulty:  Easy
Trailhead Location:  Turn north onto the Brundage Mountain Ski Area road (Forest Service Road 257) off of Highway 55. This is a left turn approximately 6 miles east of New Meadows or right approximately 4 miles west from McCall. Stay on this road approximately 10 miles to Goose Lake. Goose Lake is 2.2 miles long and Granite Mountain is on the other (west) side. Continue along side Goose Lake for approximately 1.5 mile and then take the left turn about 1 mile beyond the north end of the lake.

For my second day of hiking in Idaho, we chose Granite Mountain.  Granite Mountain is the highest point in the Grass Mountain subrange of the Salmon River Mountains and provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains.

We parked and made our way up the trail.  A short distance up the trail, we had a good view back down at Goose Lake near where we had parked.

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Brian continuing up the trail ahead of me.  There was a lot of fireweed along the trail which added some nice color.  The vicinity of the trailhead and much of the lower eastern side of the mountain burned extensively during the massive 1994 fires that charred nearly half a million acres on the Payette National Forest.

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A short distance up the trail, we came to the Twin Lakes turn off.  We continued on up in the direction of Granite Mountain Lookout.

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Higher up along the trail, we got a nice view looking down on Twin Lakes.

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We continued to climb up with views to the west of the Seven Devils and Hells Canyon area.

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More views as we continued to climb up.

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The summit of Granite Mountain Lookout.

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A fire lookout stands atop Granite Mountain.  As early as 1923, a lookout man worked at Granite Mountain, and was the only site where the smoke chaser did not use horses because of the steep terrain and lack of water and grass. The classic L-4 live-in lookout at Granite Mountain on the Salmon National Forest was constructed by the Forest Service in 1934. Active for 30 years, it went on standby status in the 1960’s. It was completely and carefully restored in 2002 by the North Fork Ranger District with assistance of North Fork Volunteer Fire Dept., Passport In Time, and the Forest Heritage staff.

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A close up view looking north into the Hells Canyon area.

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A look to the west towards the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon.

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A close up view of the Seven Devils Mountains area to the west.

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A couple of summit shots with Brian and myself.

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After spending some time on the summit, we started heading down.  A view to the east as we started down.

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Looking to the northeast from the ridge of Granite Mountain.  Beyond is the Hard Creek Canyon and the northern Grassy Mountains. The cluster of summits at center collectively are known as Grass Mountain.  Looking down, there is a small lake in the north bowl.

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Fireweed was abundant in this area.

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We made our way back down the trail to the parking area.  Here is the map of today’s route.

Granite Mountain

Another great day of exploring the mountains of central Idaho!

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