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East Slopes

East Slopes

East Slopes

Page Type: Route

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Object Title: East Slopes

Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Summer, Fall

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Class 3

Route Quality: 
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Page By: montanaboy

Created/Edited: Oct 13, 2008 / Oct 13, 2008

Object ID: 452515

Hits: 1728 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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Although Harrison Peak may not be the highest peak in the Selkirks, it certainly has the most striking profile. It stands guard over Harrison Lake, one of the largest and most popular lakes in the Selkirks.

Technical routes are the standard on the north, south, and west races. Only the east slopes offer a non-technical ascent.

A fall outing may offer the most scenic value as this is prime larch country.
Cross country terrain
Cross country terrain

Getting There

There are two approaches available.


In Bonners Ferry, turn west at the City Center sign onto Riverside Avenue. The City Center sign is just north of the Kootenai River Inn on US 95. Follow Riverside Avenue for 5.4 miles to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Continue past the KNWR on the paved road for 1.3 miles.

Turn left onto signed Myrtle Creek Road 633. Travel 13.6 miles to signed FR 2409 which is the Upper Myrtle Creek Road. Turn right and travel 1.4 miles (with one switchback) to the end of the road. Harrison Lake Trail 6 begins here. There is parking for 6-8 vehicles.

In the recent past, Myrtle Creek Road has been engineered with roughly 40 speed bumps to slow down traffic. This road may at times be closed for fire, timber, or construction issues. Check ahead to make sure.


This road is about 10.5 miles north of Sandpoint on US 95. Turn west onto this well marked road just before reaching Samuels. It is roughly 20 miles to the trailhead where the road ends. There is plenty of parking, restroom, and trailhead sign.

Be warned though that the final 6-7 miles is some of the worst road Idaho has to offer. In my opionion this stretch is worse than the West Fork Pahsimeroi Road leading to Leatherman Peak.

You may also find the 'Pack' closed at times.

Route Description


Harrison Lake Trail 6

Trail 6 is well maintained and works up the drainage with a few switchbacks thrown in. Two wooden foot bridges traverse the only real stream and swampy ground. The trail levels out at the top of the drainage as it makes its way west toward Harrison Lake. On this level section look up and to your right to pick up your first good look at Harrison Peak as it periodically appears through some openings in the timber.

At this point, which is just over 3 miles up the trail, pick your best spot to plunge into the brush and go cross country. You will encounter some 6' high brush which fortunately, ends quickly. Harrison Peak will remain in view throughout your ascent, so continue up aiming to reach the east slopes.
Boulder Field
Boulder Field

Once on the east slopes ascend the boulder field. About 100' from the summit you will encounter slabby rock which presents the only Class 3 section. The highest point on Harrison Peak is surrounded by a lot of air. Tag it with caution.

Elevation gain: 2400'

Trail 217

From the end of the Pack River Road this trail approaches Harrison Lake from the south. Continue up this trail until it intersects with Trail 6. As you move up Trail 6 you quickly reach some sizable slabbly rock sections with numerous cairns marking the trail.

Once at the slabby rock, pick your best spot to leave the trail and bush whack your way toward the east slopes. You can jump in immediately or continue further up the trail to find a more suitable spot.

From here the ascent mirrors the first route description.


Cross country terrainHarrison PeakBoulder Field