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This steep trail passes through a variety of forest types and a wonderful subalpine meadow on its way to the highest peak in the Idaho portion of the Cabinet Mountains. The jagged summit of Scotchman Peak is a jumble of rocks at 7,009 feet.
A lookout tower once sat upon this peak and some evidence remains. A large wildfire burned to the ridgetop in 1994, and the effects of that are seen close up within a mile of the summit.
The views along with trail are magnificent, especially as the hiker gains elevation and the expanse of Lake Pend Oreille dominates the vista to the southwest. From the peak, the rugged nature of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness to the north is obvious. Mountain goats are frequently encountered on the surrounding ridges and near the summit. Please don’t feed the goats.
Make sure you bring good boots or trail shoes and plenty of water, as the route has no water source. Snacks or lunch, layers of extra clothing, and rain gear are always advisable in the mountains. You will also appreciate good binoculars and a camera.
Take Highway 200 east of Sandpoint toward Montana. In downtown Clark Fork, turn north at the Chevron Station onto Main and go 2.3 miles, passing the school and Clark Fork Field Campus. At the junction of Road No. 2295, take a right and go 1.1 miles to Road 2294, the left for another 0.4 miles. Turn left again on 2294A for 2.3 miles to the trailhead.
Status: Proposed Wilderness
Maps: Friends of Scotchman Peaks
More information: Friends of Scotchman Peaks self-guided hikes
8 miles round trip
Friends of Scotchman Peaks
Trails of the Wild Cabinets: Second Edition