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Iron Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Iron Mountain

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Iron Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 43.53808°N / 115.04486°W

Object Title: Iron Mountain

County: Camas

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 9694 ft / 2955 m

 

Page By: SawtoothSean

Created/Edited: Sep 30, 2007 / Oct 1, 2007

Object ID: 342591

Hits: 7669 

Page Score: 91.14%  - 34 Votes 

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Overview

North Ridge Spire
 
Iron Mountain is one of the more noteworthy and interesting summits in the southern portion of the Boise Mountains.  The peak is a contrast of varying terrain; the dry open slopes to the south lead toward the Camas Prairie, while the steeper north slopes are full of pine, steep rock, and even some rare alpine lakes.  Iron Mountain is situated on a major ridgeline that extends from just west of the Soldier Mountain area west toward Smoky Dome, and eventually northwest to Iron Mountain.  Most of this ridgeline is above 9000 feet as it rolls up and over many smaller points and bumps along a real fun and interesting ridge.  The access to the summit of Iron Mountain includes many options from a 4WD road, to a single track path, to a steep trail-less scramble over rugged and steep terrain. 

Iron Mountain North Ridge Tower
 

Just to the north of the summit is Heart Lake at 8346 feet, which is a good reason in itself to explore the area.  Heart Lake is the only real lake for miles around the region. Unlike some neighboring areas like the Sawtooths, the Boise Mountains contain just a handful of alpine lakes.  These few lakes of the region are usually found on the north sides of the more prominent peaks.  Good examples of this are just north of Steele Mountain, Trinity Mountain, and Ross Peak.

SE Ridge of Iron Mtn
 

The summit of Iron Mountain contains a fire lookout tower, along with a large concrete slab where perhaps an older structure once stood.  The west to northwest side of the summit drops off precipitously and often holds snow in it's dark and steep slots.  Lying just to the north-northwest of the summit is a very prominent rock tower that rises 320 nearly vertical feet on it's west side.  This rock is clearly denoted on the USGS quad with unusually tight contours.  The trail from the South Fork of the Boise River passes just under this rock feature.

Routes

Iron Mountain North view
 
North Ridge via Beaver Creek (Class 2)- this route provides the best route for hikers and avoids most of the motorized vehicles that can be found on the south and west slopes.  The route begins at the Bighorn Campground just east of the Baumgartner Campground on the South Fork of the Boise River.  To start, you must cross the river, which will be difficult or impossible certain times of the year (April-July).  The rest of the year the crossing is 2-3 feet deep and cold.  Follow Beaver Creek 1.2 miles to the junction where you'll follow the East Fork for about 2.2 miles to near Point 7174.  Follow the trail up the shoulder of the ridge (not down to the Deadwood Creek) until it reaches the north ridge proper at about 8455 feet. At this point you can follow the trail as it descends slightly on the west side of the north ridge, or leave the trail and follow the direct north ridge off trail to the summit.  The later provides a more scenic, adventurous, and rugged option.  The trail gets to the summit eventually, but doesn't utilize the most efficient path. This route makes an excellent trail run.

From the Bighorn Campground utilizing the trail the whole way: 9.1miles and 6005 feet gain (one way)

From the Bighorn Campground utilizing the north ridge proper (leaving the trail): 6.3miles and 4951 feet gain (one way)

Lime Creek / Southwest Slopes (Class 2)- from the campground near the junction of Hunter Creek and South Fork of Lime Creek, follow the 4WD path to the Middle Fork of Lime Creek canyon and eventually to Deer Park near Point 7486. From here the trail branches off and switches back to the summit on the open southwest slopes. 

From the Hunter Creek / Lime Creek Trailhead: 12.3miles and 5396 feet gain (one way)

Other Routes- the nature of the open slopes and numerous trails around this peak make for many other options. Traversing over from Smoky Dome would be an excellent ridge traverse. The West Fork of Beaver Creek provides another route along with a steep scramble up from Deadwood Creek via Heart Lake. The Bremner Pack Trail from the South Fork of Lime Creek is also a possible option.

Getting There

Heart lake and North Ridge
 
Road Approach

To access the Beaver Creek / North Ridge Route which starts at the Bighorn Campground along the South Fork of the Boise River, the drive time from Boise is approximately 2 hours.  This option is usually the best not only because it's the shortest route to the summit, but the access is really good. During summer and fall conditions this approach can be done by a low clearance vehicle.  The whole road approach is paved through Featherville and the last 10 miles is on improved dirt.  Take Route 20 north of Mountain Home toward Fairfield. Just past Cat Creek Summit, take the Pine/Featherville road. Just past Featherville, the road becomes dirt and just past the Baumgartner CG is Bighorn CG which is primitive and not signed.

Check the road conditions at:  Idaho Transportation Department

Upper beaver Creek Trail
 

Conditions and Season

Conditions may vary greatly.  Access is typically from May to November. 

The upper South Fork of the Boise River provides good access to many of the Boise mountains in the south central portion of the range.  The paved road to Featherville is really useful and unlike much of the region. Still, big snow storms will pound this region like most mountainous areas.

Iron Mountain Lookout
 

 

Iron Mountain
 

Images