South Wet Creek Peak via Bear Lake Gully ApproachThe approach to South Wet Creek Peak, and adjoining Wet Creek Peak, can be made via this approach or off of the approach to Octoberfest and Hidden Peak. Depending on your start and stamina you can chain these peaks together or in combination(s).
I was joined by my friend Bryan, who is relatively new to mountaineering. Our goal today was South Wet Creek Peak and Wet Creek Peak, but i was flexible. We hiked steadily climbing developed trails through fir/pine forest all the way from the truck to Bear Lake. After some photos of the lake it was time to hike the more formidable gully.
In the Gully
Having mapped it on the gps the easiest way appeared to be right of the centerline. The gully was sunshine-filled, long, and energy sapping. We started in the centerline, but as we continued upwards, each gully shelf had good views to clearly navigate the easiest way to the next shelf, but overall we did trend right. At the end of the gully you enter the basin.
In the Basin
Here's a look at Octoberfest from the Basin, which is the peak to your right. You'll head left toward the peak that is attached to the largest of the four peaks around you. This is South Wet Creek Peak. The largest peak is Wet Creek Peak and the peak in-between it and Octoberfest is Hidden Peak. Continue through the basin trending toward South Wet Creek Peak.
Final AscentSoon you're at the base of the peak approach. From here you angle toward the saddle of South Wet Creek Peak and the smaller summit to its left, without going too far right into the scree field. In this photo, the summit is further back on the right-hand peak, out of view.
When you reach the saddle continue along the ridge as if you were going to Wet Creek Peak. When you reach the top flat summit it will be evident that you continue along this section staying to your left.
The cairn is clear and there is a register. You're at the top! If you want to head over to Wet Creek Peak, the line is pretty evident. You'll descend, go past the flying saucer-looking thing, that I understand is a geology experiment of some sort, ascend the ridge, but near the top go around the back (west) side of the peak and approach the summit from that side. We didn't attempt it because it was late but you can see the line, and my link to IdahoSummits describes it in more detail.
Stats10 miles round trip
4,100 elevation gain
Getting ThereFrom Arco: Take US Highway 93 north of Arco to the Pass Creek Road. Turn right on the Pass Creek Road. Follow this road to where you get to a choice to turn in a turnout on the right, or take a jeep trail to the left, head left.
You will then reach a parking place or a continuation of the jeep trail on the left and uphill...go left and you'll be at the trailhead in a couple minutes.
If you do park in the parking spot and bushwack to the trail head you'll be rewarded with some mining artifacts from a historic structure scattered about. Because the creek spills out on the jeep trail approach, a 4wd may be preferred.
CampingThere is camping along the road coming in. Suitable for tents and RVs. No facilities available.
Red TapeNone. Idaho is wild and free...
External LinksFor area information
USFS Lost River Ranger District
Mackay, ID 83251
For area conditions
South Wet Creek Peak and Wet Creek Peak were done as a 4-fer outing in 2006.
Another approach to the basin and to Octoberfest and Hidden Peaks is via the Wet Creek Peak and Bear Lake trail out of Loristica campground.