Prairie Creek Peak sits directly on the main crest and is just one of a handful of peaks in the Smoky Mountain standing above the ten-thousand foot barrier. It is an impressive peak that towers over many pristine mountain lakes.
The most attractive feature of Prairie Creek Peak is its north face, which rises 1,000' precipitously, while forming a perfect pyramid, above Prairie Lakes. Its less impressive east slopes form the backdrop to Big Lost Lake, while its jagged south extending ridgeline presents a bold face to the area near Smoky Lake.
Suprisingly few people make it to the summit of Prairie Creek Peak considering its proximity such popular hiking destinations. Perhaps it is because its relatively rugged appearence compared to most other Smoky Mountain Peaks. Or maybe few reach the peak because of access issues as it is either a time consuming class III scramble from the north or a 12 mile rountrip hike from the west. Either way, the peak is a worthy goal as views of the entire Smoky Range are outstanding from the summit.
To access the Northeast Ridge Route from Ketchum, Idaho, drive north on Highway 75 for 16 miles to Baker Creek Road. Follow this improved dirt road south for 6 miles until reaching the turnoff that reads Norton and Prairie Lakes.
Follow this road for 2 miles to the trailhead for Norton Lakes and park. Passenger vehicles can make these last two miles.
No red tape or permits required.
Prairie Creek Road, as well as Norton and Baker Roads, are closed during winter.
A large herd of mountain goats roams the region in and around the peak, please keep your distance.
When To Climb
The mountain is usually climbed during the summer months. Avalanche danger and extreme isolation during winter would make an out of season ascent very difficult.
Camping is highly recommended at all lakes surrounding Prairie Creek Peak.
Two, well maintained campgrounds are located nearby. Baker Creek and Prairie Creek Campgrounds provide all usual services.
Prairie Creek Peak, like many of the Smoky Mountain Peaks, is very remote and not located near any reporting weather stations. For a good idea of what to expect generally, these links provide excellent information.