Fourth of July Peak is located just west of the main crest of central Idaho's White Cloud Mountains, seperated by a high pass between Fourth of July and Washington Lakes. This peak's beautiful slopes form the scenic backdrop to many mountain lakes in the area and dominates the skyline in the upper portions of the large Fourth of July Drainage.
Although Fourth of July Peak does not share the famous white limestone that caps many of the summits in the region, its long north to south trending ridgeline and redish rock appear unique and form a boat like shape. Its southern and western slopes are less appealing as trees have established themselves almost to the summit.
Fourth of July Peak from the north.
Unofficially named, the nickname Fourth of July Peak has been tagged on the summit because of its location at the headwaters of the drainage. The primary access to Fourth of July Peak (Fourth of July Road), was severly damaged by a horrendous wildfire in the summer of 2005. It is estimated nearly 75% of the drainage was burned including the northwestern and western slopes of Fourth of July Peak. Expect dangerous conditions to prevail in the area for the upcoming years.
Fourth of July Peak sits across the valley from two named peaks and a much more impressive terrain, therefore, it is rarely climbed. This is a shame. It is an excellent half day climb and offers unique views of the area, including the damages from the wildfire. A climb up this mountain from any direction involves a ridgewalk up loose and rotten rock.
Northwest Ridge South Face
To access the standard Northwest Ridge Route from Ketchum Idaho, drive north on Highway 75 for 43 miles up and over Galena Pass at 8,700'. Look for the signed turnoff for Fourth of July Road and take it.
Recently improved, the Fourth of July Road is a major access point to the White Cloud Mountains. Drive 10 winding miles on a good gravel road through scores of burnt forests until reaching the Fourth of July Lake Trailhead. Park here.
The summit view including David O. Lee Peak and Castle Peak
No permits required.
Falling dead trees resulting from the recent wildfire activity can be very dangerous may create access issues at times. The 4WD mining road to Phyllis Lake is closed indefinetely to vehicles because of numerous deadfall trees.
All access roads are closed during winter and early spring.
When To Climb
This mountain, because of its gentle nature. may be climbed with or without snow with ease. Once the Fourth of July Road opens in summer, usually around June, until it closes, usually around November, Fourth of July Peak is an easy climb.
An out of season climb would add about 10 miles each direction.
Fourth of July Lake
Camping is allowed and highly recommended at any of the nearby mountain lakes such as Fourth of July Lake, Washington Lake, or Phyllis Lake. Campsites are also available at the Fourth of July Creek trailhead.
Fourth of July Peak is not located near any reporting weather stations. The following links will provide good general conditions in the area.
Sawtooth Avalanche Center- Gives daily avalanche reports during winter.
Idaho Outdoors Forum- Frequent reports of local conditions and climbs in the area.
Sawtooth National Forest Website- Provides information on road closures, wildfires, and other current happenings in the area.