Location: Extreme southwestern portion of the Sawtooth Range, between the Queens and Little Queens Rivers, just north of Atlanta. The easternmost summit is higher than the westernmost peak.
Nearby Peaks: Flat Top Mountain, Scenic Peak 9554, Browns Peak, East Warrior, Blizzard Mountain, Greylock Mountain
Linkups: Scenic Peak 9554, Flat Top, Browns, Peak 9521
Difficulty: Moderate to Easy off trail ridge scrambling- Mostly Class 2-3
Usage: Hikers, Backpackers, Horses, Fishermen on approach trails
Terrain: Rocky ridgelines with many small rock towers, scree gulleys, large talus piles. In this part of the range, generally speaking, the east slopes are the most steep while the west and south slopes provide the easiest access. The north and south slopes of the west summit are nearly vertical rock of solid looking quality.
Traffic: Very light, although Nahneke summit register contained many names being one of the closer peaks to the Queens River Trailhead. Perhaps 5 parties climb the peak per year.
Summit Register: Yes- a large metal tube container
History / Etymology: Shoshone word for "swaybacked", as in the back of a horse. One could speculate that the shape of the two summits of Nahneke form the shape of a swaybacked horse.
Nearest Paved Roads: ID-21 (from Boise via Edna Creek this drive is about 2.5 hrs)
Nearest Dirt Roads / Conditions: China Basin/ Queens River Road (decent- usually passable without 4WD), Middle Fork of Boise River (Good), Swanholm Peak Road (Good), North Fork Boise River Road (Good), Edna Creek Road (Good)
Approach Trails / Conditions: Little Queens River trail is a good single track trail. Comparatively speaking it is slightly better than nearby Queens River Trail (less downfall and fewer stream crossings)
Main Route: West Ridge (Class 3)- follow the Little Queens River Trail to the Scenic Lake turnoff and climb steeply on trail to Scenic Lake. Hike east above Scenic Lake and gain the obvious saddle between the Nahneke summits. Follow the west ridge to the summit. For descent, retrace steps (longer), or follow the south ridge to a point where you can descend into King Creek. Below 7500 feet King Creek is brushy.
Main Route Stats: 15.7miles / 5729 (round trip)
Average RT Time: 6-8 hours
Other Routes: Ridge Traverse of Browns, Flat Top, Scenic Peak 9554, and Nahneke (Class 3)- follow the Little Queens trail to Browns lake and gain the ridge and take it south. The ridge is quite manageable and requires nothing more than endurance. 20.3 miles / 7679 feet (round trip)
North Ridge (Class 3-4)- this is the route that Lopez reports.
South Ridge (Class 3)- this is the described descent route
Jurisdiction: Sawtooth National Forest
Permit: Yes- self registration at trailhead
Other Users / Issues: None- long approach drive keeps this area relatively traffic free
Maps: USGS Quad- Nahneke Mt
Guide Book: Tom Lopez, Idaho: A Climbing Guide
When To Climb
Climbing Season: June - Nov
Ideal Climbing Time: July-Oct
Nearest Weather Station: Atlanta, Smiley Creek
Weather Relative to Region: The trailhead is lower in elevation than much of the region and it similar to the Grandjean trailhead. Expect slightly warmer and drier conditions.
Car Camping Sites: Queens River CG, Riverside CG, Camp Gulch CG
Backpacking Sites: Above Average- Scenic Lake, Browns Lake, Flat Top Lake 8850, Johnson Lake, Triangle Lake, The Hole- tons of other unnamed lakes!
Flora & Fauna
Potential Wildlife: Badger, Beaver, Black Bear, Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Cougar, Coyote, Elk, Marmot, Marten, Moose, Mountain Goat, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Grouse
Confirmed Wildlife: Elk, Marmot, Pika, Grouse
Vegetation: Ponderosa, Lodgepole, Engelman Spruce