The fluted east face of Ferry Peak in April 2005 A close-up of the summit during an ascent of the SE ridge in October 2009
Ferry Peak is definitely the most recognizable peak in the Snake River Range. It is not the highest, but it stands proudly above the Snake River Canyon which has a major highway. Thousands of travellers have marveled at the spectacular east face which towers above when you reach the curve near Wolf Creek. When the face is snow covered it resembles a fluted Andean mountain face. It has a different characteristic then most of the other peaks in the area. Even from far away Ferry Peak stands out due to its different shape and form. The north side above Indian Creek is seldom seen or explored, but it is also spectacular with a beautiful cirque with broken cliffs.
At one point in history there was a ferry to cross the Snake River in the area. This was probably the main way to travel in the days before all of the bridges were built. The town of Alpine is at the mouth of the canyon and Ferry Peak rises up right above the town.
There are many mountain goats which live on the slopes of the peak. A herd was transplanted here from the Selkirks in Idaho not too long ago. They are seen right above the highway in the spring on some rock outcrops. They live all over the peak, but mostly on the steep eastern parts of the mountain where they can survive the winter. The east and southern parts of the peak are very rugged and are perfect habitat for the goats.
The peak gets hiked fairly often being right above a town and a highway intersection. The east face gets skied in the spring and sometimes in the dead of winter. Conditions must be right to ski it because it can easily slide. A couple of summers ago a heavy summer downpour caused the whole east face to drain all at once into Sheep Gulch which caused a mudslide that closed the highway for a few hours. It is a fragile peak that is always changing.
The views from the top are amazing as are the views from most peaks in the area. You can see the Tetons and you have a great view of the Palisades Reservoir. The town of Alpine is directly below and you get a great view of Star Valley and the Salt River Range. You can see the highway 3,500 feet below you, from the summit it is obvious why it is called the Grand Canyon of the Snake River.
Ferry Peak from Deadhorse Peak in April 2005 The east face from the summit in October 2009 The NE face of Ferry Peak contains the beautiful NE bowl
Access is easy for Ferry Peak. To get to the SW ridge you can park right at the mouth of the canyon where you can see the ridge beginning to rise up. To get to the SE ridge you can park at the turnout across from the Cottonwood Creek sign. The route is not obvious from the parking area. These areas are accessed from the town of Alpine by driving east on the highway. Sheep Gulch can be accessed from the highway also. To get to the north side of the peak you can go to Indian Creek. This is accessed by taking the highway around Palisades Reservoir into Idaho and then turning off at the Indian Creek sign on the big curve. It is a couple of miles to the end of the road at the south fork of the creek. From Jackson drive south and turn right at Hoback Junction. You will see the peak rising above when you are close to Wolf Creek. Indian Creek is the only approach that has a major trail to get you close to the peak. The other ways are mostly off trail.
Working up the summit ridge on October 17,2009
Ferry Peak is not in a wilderness area so there is no red tape. You should wear orange when it is hunting season because there are lots of healthy deer and elk on the mountain.
Some mountain goats can be seen in the center of the photo hanging out amongst the cliffs of the east face where they live The beautiful east aspect of the peak. The SE ridge rises up from left to right going directly up to the summit
There are some forest service campgrounds in the Snake River Canyon. There are also some campgrounds around Palisades Reservoir. In the Snake Canyon you can only camp in the established campgrounds during the busy season, the rangers try to enforce this. Alpine has many motels and a few restaurants. There is abudant camping down the Greys River Road just outside of Alpine. The road to Indian Creek has lots of great sites for some beautiful car camping.