Red Mountain is a friendly peak with a Class 1 trail right to the summit. It has a steep eastern face that drops steeply to the Red Mountain Lakes and Cat Creek Lakes. Idaho's fabulous Sawtooth range sits east and south. Red Mountain has 1400' of prominence, and it's eastern face is a tall cliff with no obstructions. This view explains the old lookout foundation on the summit of Red Mountain.
Red Mountain has a long ridge line with several high points. Although the trail leads right to the lookout, the lookout might not be the exact high point. However, it is an easy stroll through the woods to walk the entire ridge, and from the far end one can do a little cross-country travel to make a loop and rejoin the main trail on their way home. But don't get lost- Red Mountain is a long way from civilization.
3.5 miles each way
~4-6 hours round trip
Getting ThereFirst, get to Lowman, Idaho. The closest town of any size is Boise. From Boise, you can either drive Highway 21 through Idaho City, about 78 miles. Or you can drive up Highway 55 towards McCall, but turing east up the South Fork of the Payette River toward Garden Valley, and proceed to Lowman that way.
From Lowman, head east on Highway 21 toward Stanley. Just east of "town", look for a dirt road leading left (north), the Clear Creek road. If you get to the Forest Service office on Highway 21, you went too far.
Once on the Clear Creek road (excellent dirt road, but can be washboarded), drive about 12 or 13 miles to a junction. The right-hand turn continues up Clear Creek. Take this road and follow the valley. The left hand turn immediately starts climbing out of the valley.
From the junction, it's about 5 more miles to the trailhead. Although the road deteriorates a bit after the junction, a passenger car should be fine with a little finesse and a little less speed.
Note: This is snow country and the road will be closed all winter, so check ahead for road conditions in the shoulder seasons.
The trailhead is signed, so are the trails.
Take FS trail 145 for 2 miles to a signed junction with the Red Mountain and Kirkham Ridge trails.
Take FS trail 143 for 1.5 miles to the summit.
CampingThere are many excellent campgrounds along Highway 21, some with hot springs. You could also camp at the trailhead, but there is not an official campground and the trailhead can be pretty busy.
The Red Mountain Lakes and Cat Creek Lakes are a popular backpack or horse pack destination. These lakes are stocked regularly via airplane with cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat-rainbow hybrids.
External LinksFor more information, call the Lowman Ranger Station at 208.373.7500.
The Forest Service website has a page with some QuickTime VRs for this area
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide.