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Rapid Peak

Rapid Peak

Rapid Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.85729°N / 115.9018°W

Object Title: Rapid Peak

County: Valley

Activities: Hiking

Season: Summer, Fall

Elevation: 8264 ft / 2519 m


Page By: splattski

Created/Edited: Oct 11, 2010 / Jul 26, 2013

Object ID: 669689

Hits: 2446 

Page Score: 84.27%  - 18 Votes 

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Rapid Peak and Summit Lake
Rapid Peak and Summit Lake
Rapid Peak is a sharp little fang sitting on a long, winding ridge line that trends generally north-south.
This peak is surrounded by beautiful lakes, many of them unnamed, and sits at the heads of two drainages: the Rapid Creek drainage, which leads south to Paddy Flats, and Buckhorn Creek, which eventually leads east to the South Fork of the Salmon River. All this is within the Lick Creek range, a sub-range of Idaho's Salmon River mountains.
From close study of the USGS map, you will see that Rapid Peak is not the high point of the ridge south of Buckhorn Saddle. However, it is marked as the summit. One can only surmise that the USGS skipped the distant high point and instead applied the name to this little peak based on its sharpness and brave attempt at looking mean- it's a beauty. The rest of the ridge is pretty tame with no real exceptional efforts at looking like a mountain.

Buckhorn and False Buckhorn
Rapid Peak (right) in snow
Route stats
The route described here is about 5.2 miles each way, with a gain of about 1980'. Mostly Class 1, with the final grunt up the ridge going at Class 2 or possibly Class 3 (depending on your route-finding skills and spirit of adventure).

Getting There

About 1.5 miles south of the traffic light at the McCall airport/Hwy 55, turn east on Farm to Market Road (paved). 
Route map
Route map
Follow this road through four 90 degree bends. After a bridge crossing Lake Fork Creek and at another 90 degree bend, turn left (actually go straight; the bend goes right) on FS-403 and head up the hill. Shortly after the top of the hill, the pavement ends. Stay on the main road, and reach the parking at Boulder Reservoir in about 5 miles from the end of the pavement.
There are parking spaces all over, but sometimes finding an empty space is a challenge because the reservoir is a popular local fishing hole.

Main route
The first part of this route is a popular day hike from McCall. At about 1.5 miles and 700' gain, it's an easy hike from Boulder Meadows Reservoir, the trailhead, to Boulder Lake. There is a signed trail just north (uphill) from the dam. 
Boulder meadow
Boulder Lake meadows

After you arrive at Boulder Lake, the trail swings to the south of the lake, passing through quite a few well-loved camp spots. At the far end of the lake, the trail meanders through some meadows and at about 2.5 miles (and another 50' of gain) you will come to a trail intersection. Go straight and follow the very-obvious trail, which will take you to Buckhorn saddle.
From the saddle, there is no trail. However, the line of ascent is obvious: just follow the ridge, moving to the right side a bit as needed to avoid downfall or cliffy areas.

Other routes
This is typical Lick Creek Range terrain, where a skilled navigator can head cross-country. So there are a variety of possible Class 2 and 3 routes. There are cliffs on the east side of Rapid Peak, and the typically good granite of the Lick Creek range might offer up some routes for those willing to lug gear in that far. For now, though, there is no known technical route.

Red Tape

Motorized vehicles are not permitted on these trails (but chances are you will see sings of them... for a long time.
This is snow country, so check ahead on road conditions. 
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit
Rapid Peak summit from the south
South side
West side of Rapid Peak
West side


Although there are campsites at the trailhead, for spoiled mountaineers it is too busy for good camping. Boulder Lake offers some nice spots, but don't expect to be alone, as this is another popular fishing spot.
Instead, try camping at Summit Lake or Rapid lake, where you will most likely have the place to yourself.

External Links

Payette National Forest
McCall Chamber of Commerce
McCall weather
McCall area web cams
Idaho road report
McCall, Idaho wiki

Trip reports
Splattski trip report

Printed guide
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide.



Rapid Peak from Buckhorn SummitRapid Peak summit from the southNearing the summitRapid Peak and Summit LakeWest side of Rapid PeakRoute map