OverviewRyan Peak is the northernmost major point in the Big Hole Mountains, a subrange of the Snake River Range of Eastern Idaho. Relay ridge is the name given to the long ridge that leads north until the range gradually dissipates into rolling highlands between Newdale and Tetonia, Idaho. Ryan peak is stategically located directly across the Teton Valley from the Grand Teton and offers spectatular views. Also visible from the summit are the cities of the upper Snake River valley and points west, including the Lemhi and Centenial Ranges.
During the summer months a road leads to the top of the ridge and follows along to the south to the summits by cell phone towers and repeater stations that service the Teton Valley. The road is not passable by car, however, until July. Even during summer months there are not many people, if any, other than maintenance workers doing routine checks on the communications equipment on the ridge.
This peak makes accessible a wonderful view as well as a quick trip into an alpine and subalpine environment that some people may not be able to experience otherwise. Although just a hill in my backyard, this peak is worth a visit.
Looking east - Looking west -
Getting ThereTo get to Relay Ridge and Ryan Peak, the best route is to come from ID-33 between Rexburg and Driggs, Idaho, although it is possible to approach through forest roads to the south. At Canyon Creek Road, the entrance to Green Canyon Hot Springs, head south. Pass the hot springs area and continue until the pavement ends in about two miles, passing a parking area and crossing a gulch. After crossing a cattle guard and a small yellow house on your left, turn left. If it is earlier spring, FR-328 would be a good route to take, further down Canyon Creek Road. The hike to the summit up the west face should be quite a steep little run. Click here for map.
Red TapeIf you are driving up FR-218 to the summit, stay on the designated route. The road is posted as winter range use from November until may. Keep this in mind any earlier because you can still get stuck in snow drifts high on the mountain even in June. (See When to Climb.)
When To ClimbThis peak can be climbed all year with snowshoes. During the winter there are a few snowmobilers that cruise up and down the ridge. There are guided tours that come out of Teton Valley and locals that come from the west. I don't believe that there is high traffic in the area, however. The only difficult part would be getting to the mountain itself during winter.
From personal experience, the road is still snowy after entering the forest off the main road in late April, and may not be passable by 4WD only. I got turned around at a snow drift near the national forest boundary at 6800 feet in late April of 2004, after passing icy sections lower (see map). By mid may you will be within a shorter hike to the summit. The road to the summit, however, isn't completely clear until July.
CampingThere is family camping at Green Canyon Hot Springs and pool,
(208) 458-4454 .
Mountain ConditionsWeather in Newdale, Idaho.
The Teton Cam shows the conditions across Teton Valley, and Ryan Peak should be similar to conditions about 2/3 the way up Table Mountain.