OverviewMeade Peak is an important peak to county highpointers and prominence peak chasers alike. It is the county highpoint for both Bear Lake and Caribou counties and has 2497 feet of prominence, making it the 46th most prominent peak in Idaho. Idaho has 100 peaks that qualify for the 2000 feet of prominence list.
Meade Peak is also notable since it is the highest point in the Peale Mountains and the second highest peak south of the Snake River. It only misses being a ten thousand footer by 43 feet. Meade is also the highest point in the Pruess Range, part of the Peale Mountain system. Strangely, the peak was named for General George Meade, who fought in the United States Civil War. (see link)
Getting ThereThere are several ways to access this peak but the way most people have done it is via the right hand fork of Georgetown Canyon. I will provide directions for this as this is the way I went in.
From Montpelier Idaho, drive north to the small town of Georgetown. (Or from Soda Springs heading south)
Using a combination of fellow county highpointer Jobe Wymore's directions for the most part with a few additions of my own interspersed, this will get you to the end of the road and the jumping off point:
From the center of Georgetown on Hwy 30 look for the green sign that is going to point you into Georgetown Canyon. The sign can be viewed regardless of whether you come from the South or the North. From Hwy. 30 hit your odometer and at 2.4 miles the pavement will turn to dirt. The road sort of splits at this point with signs indicating that if you were to go left at this split you would be going on FR095 and if you just continue straight you will be on FR102. Just keep on heading straight on 102 and at around 0.8 miles from where the pavement ended look for a road (topozone link) that drops down to the right and take this little side road and hit your odometer again. This road has another fork in a short bit but keep to the right as you are now beginning the right hand fork of Georgetown Canyon.
This road gets narrower as you get farther along it (it's not the type of road you want to take a vehicle on if you like the paint job) and roughs up the farther you get, too. Some passenger cars could get about 1.5 miles up with no problem but after that, the road gets much rougher. Muddy sections will intimidate you if you hit this area after a rain but the road has a bottom. Having 4WD and high clearance is a must. A pair of loppers might be a worthwhile addition to your arsenal and you could stop and lop off the worst of the vegetation that could nail your paint but you'd be stopping and lopping alot. Still....
At 2.2 miles from the point where you turned onto Right Fork Road the road will split. Take the right split which is in a lot better shape. At 2.7 miles you will pass a some green cattle watering troughs (topozone link) and at 3 miles you will go by a White Pass Trail sign (topozone)on the right side of the road. A small area to park is off to the left. Just keep heading up the main track until you reach a little clearing at 3.8 miles. The clearing will be marked with a fire ring made of white rocks just to the left off the road. You have reached the end of the road and although an ATV track goes on past the clearing, you can take your vehicle no further (not that you'd probably want to. Another small track goes to the right and goes to an old mine (not visited by us)
Congratulations, you have made it. The rest of the info you will need will be in the soon to be developed route directions.
There are other ways to access this peak and here is the way Ken Jones went in:
Date: July 30, 2000
Author: Ken Jones
From US Hwy. 89, two miles south of Afton, Wyoming, take Wyoming route 236 to the west (this junction is at virtual milepost 82.9). At 2.6 miles, reach a stop sign. Continue straight ahead; the road becomes county route 142. At 3.5 miles reach a "T" intersection; turn left on Crow Creek road. Follow the main Crow Creek road, which starts paved but becomes well-graded gravel. Cross the border into Idaho at about 7.4 miles. There is a junction to the right near here, and several more along the way. It is obvious which is the main road, which runs up the Crow Creek valley. (This valley had the highest concentration of bluebirds we have ever seen, as well as a number of kestrels.)
Just beyond the Clear Creek guard station, at about 20.5 miles, find Forest Road 698 on the right. This looks unpromising, and would be tough if it were wet, but I managed to nurse my Accord over the ruts and through the sandy patches in both directions. Drive this road, staying on the main route where tracks head off, for 2.2 miles. A less-major fork goes right here. You can walk it, or drive some or all of it with high clearance; it will go about 1/3 mile before reaching a turnaround loop. Beyond here it is trail. This point is at about 7200' elevation. (We drove another 0.15 mile or so, and found the point where FR 698 drops steeply into the Beaver Dam Creek drainage. You'd want 4WD to be comfortable about getting back up this hill. At the bottom of the hill is a sign for trail 114, the Beaver Dam Creek trail. We walked this, willow-bashing along the creek, until we reached the end of the "less-major fork" described above. We walked the road on the way back.)
Hike the trail up Beaver Dam Creek. In its lower reaches (until about 9000') it is heavily used by cattle, and very dusty (or probably muddy, at wetter times of the year). The trail is shown on the Meade Peak quadrangle, but not on the quad to the north. For reference, it follows the creek to about 8300' ("Creek" on the map), then heads to the right up the ridge north of the creek. It drops NE to the SW slope of the canyon which contains "8600" and heads for the saddle just west of point 8900'+. Before it gets there, it heads up and left steeply, circling around "32" and picking up the ridge trending WSW. It follows this ridge, generally on top or just S, to about 9550', where it contours over to saddle 9548' and drops slightly to meet the trail on the map (which is the Snowdrift Mountain Trail). The Beaver Dam Creek trail is well defined to about 9000'; above there look for an off-and-on track and blazes where there are trees. Upon reaching the Snowdrift Mountain Trail, note where this junction is for your return trip (it's not obvious on the way back). Then turn left and hike down into upper Meade Basin. Find a good spot to head toward the north ridge of Meade Peak (there are ATV tracks in the vicinity), and follow the ridge to the peak. The ridge is class 1 to 2 all the way there; you can go around or through the craggy bits. No register was found or left.
Round trip: About 11 to 12 miles, 2800' net gain, 3100' total gain, 7 h 30 m.
I noted in the register that a few parties mentioned coming up another way and perhaps others will post their route information for these other ways in. For me, thanks to my Tacoma pickup truck, the right hand fork of Georgetown Canyon worked fine.
UPDATE 2009: See Tracy's comments HERE.
It is also noted that the iron rods and register have disappeared from the summit cairn.
Red TapeNo red tape at all.
Concerns about the area during fire season or road conditions might be
directed to the US Forest service:
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
322 North Fourth St.
Montpelier, Idaho 83254
More information can be found HERE.
CampingIt is possible to car camp at the end of the road. You'll note a fire ring where the road ends (and an ATV trail begins) I just sleep in my truck so I didn't look for where a tent spot would be handy. Many people could drive the road, park, and hike the peak and drive back out on the same day. Motels are available in Soda Springs and Montpelier. Campgrounds nearby as shown on
the map of Idaho (Benchmark) are Summit View (left hand fork of Georgetown
Canyon)and Montpelier Canyon campground east of Montpelier off of US 89. A
KOA is just a bit east of Montpelier on US 89.
WeatherMontpelier Idaho Weather
Bear Lake and Caribou CountiesSee this wikipedia page for more information on Bear Lake County
For Caribou County, click here for the wikipedia information.