Mount Independence is the second highest peak (highest being its close neighbor, Cache Peak, 10339') of the Albion Range. Relatively small in terms of geographic area, the Albion Range extends about 25 miles north from the Idaho/Utah border to just southeast of Burley, ID. The major peaks of the range include Cache Peak (10339', tallest peak in Idaho south of the Snake River), Mount Independence (9950'), Mount Harrison (9265'), and Graham Peak (8867'). All of these are characterized by mostly gentle slopes and easy (class 2 - 3) summit routes. City of Rocks Natural Reserve lies within the Albion Range - the view of the City from Mount Independence is however obstructed by Cache Peak. This information comes largely from T. Lopez' guidebook, "Idaho - A Climbing Guide".
From Burley, ID (and Interstate 84) drive south on Idaho highway 27 (have views of Mounts Harrison and Independence on your left) for about 20 miles. Turn left shortly after entering the town of Oakley onto a paved road heading towards Elba. Continue on this road as it cimbs for about 12 miles to the Basin-Elba Pass. At the pass turn right (in early summer of 2002, marked with sign for Independence Lakes) or south on a progressively rougher road. The road follows a ridge past the Pot Holes. About a mile from the pass, you'll come to a signed road heading towards Stinson Creek. Don't follow it, keep right instead. When you reach the Pot Holes turn off, keep to the left and you will reach the unmarked trailhead in 2+ miles (this last distance is very approximate). This information comes from R. and J. J. Maughan guidebook, "Hiking Idaho".
Sections of the Albion Range are administered by the Sawtooth National Forest and the BLM. The North West Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead ($5/day or $30/year).
Dogs are allowed on both National Forest and BLM lands in the area. Keep them leashed and clean up after them to make sure this priviledge is not revoked.
When To Climb
Prime season for climbing the mountains of the Albion Range in general is July through September. Depending on the year, that window may very well be extended. Outside this season, car access to trailheads will be limited/impossible due to heavy snow fall.
Camping at large with the usuall low-impact/leave-no-trace stipulations is allowed on both the National Forest and the BLM lands.
Burley Ranger District
Sawtooth National Forest
2621 Overland Avenue
Burley, Idaho 83318
The primary reference for this mountain (as well as Albion Range as a whole) is "Idaho - A Climbing Guide, Climbs, Scrambles, and HIkes" by Tom Lopez. This Becky-style, encyclopedic book is THE guide to climbing in Idaho. An excellent resource. The only downside is that the approach information (by necessity) is somewhat painful to extract.
A secondary reference is the Falcon Guide "Hiking Idaho" by Ralph and Jackie Johnson Maughan. Although it does not list the climb to the top of Mount Independence (or any other peaks in the Albions), it does provide detailed trailhead driving directions as well as hiking directions to Independence Lakes (the climbing route from there is obvious).
- Idaho Summits
An excellent page containing a growing collection of climb reports for some of Idaho's peaks (including Cache).
- Mount Independence (07/09/2003)