Cervidae Peak is the highpoint on a main ridge line near the confluence of Mores Creek and Lucky Peak Reservoir (Middle Fork of the Boise River). It provides an excellent steep, fast scramble in the summer and a nice snow climb in the winter. It's close proximity to Boise (17 miles) makes it a nice quick mountain destination, especially when the bigger peaks are blocked by avalanched roads or closed approaches. The views from the summit are all encompassing and include Shafer Butte, Thorn Creek Butte, Mt. Heinan, Sunset Peak and Pilot Peak. You can create a very long ridge run / hike that would include this high point. Antlers and weather balloons have been found on this ridge.
Routes on Cervidae Peak:
1) East Route (Class 2) - 1.1 miles past the Spring Shores Marina, climb northwest up the very steep hillside until it joins the main ridge north to the summit in 2 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain..
2) Southwest Ridge (Class 2) - Starts just past the high bridge and follows the steep SW ridge until it joins the north ridge. (2.1 miles / 2100 ft elevation gain)
3) Direct West Ridge (Class 2)- 1.8 miles past the high bridge ascend the steep west ridge. (1 mile / 1800 ft elevation gain). I often ran (barely) this for mountain speed training.
4) West Ridge (Class 3)- 1 mile past the high bridge park and ascend. There is a section of very steep and crumbling rock if your interested in increasing the difficulty. I've needed an ice axe in the winter for this route. (1.5 miles / 1800 ft elevation gain)
This peak was named by Dan of IdahoSummits.com.
Name Origin: Cervidae is in the order Artiodactyla (cloven-hoofed animals) There are many Elk and Deer on this ridge. It's a large migration area with the confluence of two major rivers. In 2004 the migrating elk were crossing a partially frozen river just below the peak and fell through and froze to death. Over 80 elk were frozen in place for months.
Take Idaho 21 north from Boise past Highland Valley summit. Cross the high bridge near mile marker 18. proceed straight to the turnouts for the West routes. Turn right immediately after the bridge for the SW (park immediately) route and the East Route (Proceed Past Spring Shores)
Nearby Arrowrock Dam was once the tallest dam in the world, before Hoover Dam. In fact, there was a small city near Arrowrock Dam complete with railroad running along the Middle Fork of the Boise (now Lucky Peak Reservoir) down to Barber and Boise. In low water you can still hike in front of the dam and see the building foundations and other junk. Fishing is also exceptional on the nearby Mores Creek and there is definite evidence of Native American presence in the vicinity of Cervidae (lithic debitage).
Wildfires have ravaged the slopes around Cervidae. In the late 1990's the Toll Road Fire charred most of the western slopes and in 2005 a fire burned much of the north slope. The vegetation typically recovers in 1-3 years, but during the recovery, the slopes are more likely to mudslide. This occurred during one particularly heavy downpour and a mudslide temporarily blocked ID-21.
One of the greatest aspects of Cervidae is year round access with a short drive from town. While the slopes may appear tame from some angles, they are actually quite steep and can be treacherous during some winters. Conditions may vary greatly. It can be extremely hot in the summer and very cold and windy in the winter. Regardless of the season or conditions, this peak will provide a nice workout and will reward you with terrific summit views.
There are many drive-in camp sites along the Middle Fork of the Boise (past Spring Shores) and near Idaho City (further up ID-21).