King Mountain the Southernmost major Lost River summit and the last (or first) one topping the 10,000 ft. mark. Interestingly the highest point on this mountain is not the peak most know as King Mountain but is about a mile North of the named and surveyed 10,612 ft. point. Most people who refer to and climb King Mountain are actually talking about the named point and not the higher northern point. This point is often referred to as "North King" and stands at 10,760 ft.
This mountain is surprisingly accessible and easy by Lost River standards. This is due to its status as a hang gliding Mecca. There are two well known launch sites on the mountain between 7500 and 8000 ft. with a good gravel road leading to them and ending at the upper launch site near 8000 ft. From the upper launch site it is a short, straightforward, but steep hike up the West ridge to the named summit. The round trip can be done in only 2-3 hours which is phenomenal for the Lost Rivers. Because of the high elevation start and good road. The peak makes an excellent winter climb in dry years when the road is accessible. The West ridge is also a fairly safe route since the ridge top is not prone to avalanches. There is one short section of Class 3 climbing just below the summit but it is very easy and could be avoided if needed.
King Mountains upper slopes and crux
Another interesting feature of King Mountain is a large natural arch
found on the mountain's Southern flanks. It can be accessed on the same road as the launch site road.
The Natural Arch
The upper launch site
From Arco head North on highway 93 to the small town of Moore. Once there look for the sign directing you towards the King Mountain Launch site. turn East on this road and follow it to the base of the mountains. There you will turn North onto a dirt road. follow this road to the first intersection and turn east again onto a smaller dirt road that goes through a fence and up the obvious canyon to the East. The road will split a few miles up the canyon. When it does take the Northerly route that begins sharply switchbacking up the mountain. (The other direction leads to the arch.) This road will lead you to the launch sites and the beginning of the hike. It is best to start from the upper launch site.
The Lost Rivers are a very dry range and there is no water available on this route. Therefore you must bring your own.
The launch site road is passable by sturdy 2WD vehicles to the lower launch site. Past that, a 4WD high clearance vehicle is necessary. It is also possible to park at the lower launch site and walk up the road to the upper launch site. That will add about 1/4 mile to an already short hike.
The view to the North
Please practice Leave No Trace
The upper slopes of King Mountain are barren and exposed to the elements. Please check the forecast ahead of time and avoid any days where lightning is expected. Mountain thunderstorms can develop in the afternoon on almost ever summer day so the earlier you are off the mountain the more likely it is that you won't have to deal with lightning.
The Summit with North King
It is possible to camp at both the upper or lower launch sites. There are picnic tables but no other facilities. There also isn't much room, especially at the upper site.
Other options would be the Joe T. Fellini campground at Mackay Reservoir a few miles North of Mackay or Craters of the Moon National Monument
about 20 miles West of Arco.
External LinksIdaho Outdoors Forum
Where the locals share beta and chat about the mountains.
The parent site of the outdoors forum and a great source of trip reports and photos.
Another great resource for trip reports and photos.