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.
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 ThereAbout 1.5 miles south of the traffic light at the McCall airport/Hwy 55, turn east on Farm to Market Road (paved).
There are parking spaces all over, but sometimes finding an empty space is a challenge because the reservoir is a popular local fishing hole.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CampingAlthough 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 LinksPayette National Forest
McCall Chamber of Commerce
McCall area web cams
Idaho road report
McCall, Idaho wiki
Splattski trip report
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide.