Bald Mountain is located in the Yankee Fork area of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. At 8967 feet, it is heavily overshadowed by neighboring Mount Greylock, but is still a very significant day hike. This mountain gets its name from the apparent baldness caused by its lack of trees near the summit. Unlike most larger mountains however, Bald Mountain does not get this from having an alpine tree line. The elements in the dirt near the summit, particularly nitrogen, cause a bare area directly on the summit. This mineral-caused treelessness is very common around the Stanley-Challis area.
Bald Mountain is located in a historic area of Idaho. The Yankee Fork River area has been a mined since the mid 1800s. This gives a mountain climber a lot of options when planning a trip to this area. The nearby ghost town of Custer was at one point one of the largest towns in the state of Idaho. It now is a collection of abandoned buildings and houses that are kept and in fact operated as museums by the U.S. Forestry Service.
From Stanley, ID, head north on US Highway 75. Drive approximately 14 miles on 75 until you come to the Yankee Fork Road. Take some time to stop here, enjoy the Sunbeam Village area, and walk down to the scenic overlook of the old Sunbeam Dam. Then head up Yankee Fork Road until you see a large dredge. A dredge looks just like a factory, except with large mechanical arms. This is where you want to park. From here you can easily see the baldness of Bald Mountain. The hike itself takes anywhere from 2 to 10 hours depending on your physical condition.
Camping near the Yankee Fork River
The Yankee Fork River has campsites all up and down its banks. All of the camping is free, but it is on a first come, first served basis. The area is very beautiful throughout. Anglers enjoy great cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing, especially near where the Yankee Fork flows into the Salmon. It is recommended that you plan at least one night for a trip to this mountain. The area around it cannot be truly seen in one day.
There are no special permits or regulations for this area. However, there is a single-sight camping limit of two weeks. The general rule of thumb to pack out what you pack in applies here as it does everywhere.
External LinksIdaho Parks and Recreation
Information on Salmon River Area
Yankee Fork Mining Information