Mount McGuire is a wonderful class 2 climb within America's largest Wilderness area. It could be climbed in a day, but with a long drive and a long approach, it is best climbed as part of a backpack trip. If you are going to take the time to reach the trailhead, it is best to spend a few days enjoying this pristine area.
Mount McGuire is the tallest point in the vast Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. It lies in the heart of the stunning Bighorn Crags area, near the spectacular Ship Island Lake. The Crags are studded with granite mountains and alpine lakes.
The River of No Return is the largest Wilderess area in the lower 48 states and contains 2.4 million acres of land. There are nearly 2,500 miles of trail within this spectacular area. The trails and peaks of the River of No Return are often overlooked because most people entering the area do so on raft. The Middle Fork of the Salmor River is one of America's premier rafting destinations.
Thus, the trails and peaks offer great solitude. Although Mt. McGuire could be climbed from the trailhead in a long day (24 miles roundtrip), it is most often climbed as a day trip during a backpacking adventure. The views from the top offer sweeping vistas of this remarkable Wilderness area.
If you are interested in exploring the Wilderness I recommend Margaret Fuller's "Trails of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness." Guidebook
Getting ThereFrom Salmon:
Drive 5 miles south on Highway 93 to Williams Creek Road (Forest Road 021). Take this dirt road 12 miles to Panther Creek Road (FS-055). At the junction, turn left (south) and drive 10.5 miles up Panther Creek until you reach Porphyry Creek Road (FS-112).
Drive 9 miles north on Highway 93 to Morgan Creek Road. Turn left, go 19.6 miles to Morgan Creek Summit where the road becomes Panther Creek Road. From the summit, drive 14 miles to Porphyry Creek Road (FS-112).
Once on Porphyry Creek Rd.(FS-112):
Go 6 miles to a four way junction. Turn right on FS-113, go 8 miles to FS-114. Take FS-114 2.5 miles to the Crags Campground and trailhead.
Reaching the trailhead requires a good vehicle, good maps, and the ability to follow those maps. Although I made it to the trailhead in a Saturn Sedan, I would highly recommend a 4wd vehicle. Fill up your gas tank in Challis or Salmon. Have a good spare tire. Store some extra food & water in your car for any emergencies. The wilderness is big, unforgiving, and lightly traveled.
This is a great big Wilderness area. No fees. Permits are self-issued at the Trailhead.
Crags Campground is a nice USFS campground near the trailhead. The main lakes of the Bighorn Crags all have campsites. Ship Island and Airplane lake offer the closest lakes to Mt. McGuire that have campsites.
External LinksSalmon-Challis National Forest
Frank Church User's Guide