Steamboat Mountain

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Idaho, United States, North America
Spring, Summer, Fall
8533 ft / 2601 m
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Steamboat Mountain
Created On: Nov 28, 2013
Last Edited On: Nov 29, 2013


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Summit on the left
Steamboat Mountain is a relatively unknown peak north of McCall, Idaho. From McCall, it is about an hour's drive with the last 10 miles on an improved dirt road suitable for any car. The summit once held a lookout, so you can expect great views from the summit, including the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Loon Lake, and the northern expanse of the Lick Creek range.
Steamboat Mountain has some attraction to peak baggers, because according to Lists of John it has over 2000' of prominence.

5.2 miles round trip
Class 1
1900' gain
3 hours car-to-car

Getting There

Steamboat Mountain
About half-way there
From downtown McCall, head west on the Highway 55 through town. Shortly after crossing the bridge over the the North Fork of the Payette River (the outlet of Payette Lake), turn right on the signed Warren Wagon Road. From this point, it is about 22 paved miles of mostly climbing to Secesh Summit. Note that as you drive around the lake, the road feels very woodsy and there is a tendency to exceed the 35mph speed limit. Don't-- it's actually a residential area and the cops patrol it with fervor.
After Secesh Summit, the road begins to descend to Burgdorf Junction, which you will reach in about 6 more miles. That's the end of the pavement. 
Another 9 miles, all on dirt, gets you over a small summit and down to Stratton Creek. The trail starts in Stratton Creek. There is no trailhead parking; just pull over in the most convenient wide spot (and anticipate trailers, etc. using the road). That's a grand total of about 37 miles, and expect it to take about an hour from McCall.
If you follow the road a little farther, you would be at Steamboat Summit.


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Looking north at the route, roughly
The trail up the peak starts just east of the creek. Only about 100 yards up the trail, there is a fork. Take the right fork and immediately cross the creek. Then simply follow the trail. It's a little thin in places as it traverses the old burn, but there is a tread for most of it and some of the less distinct parts are cairned.
The trail goes quite close to the summit.  At this point, you're still in the burn so if you can't find the trail, just head up. The bushwhacking is easy, but possibly with some small-diameter logs to crawl over.

Red Tape

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Nearing the summit in the old burn
No red tape. 
However, this is snow country. Warren Wagon Road is not plowed, so from roughly November 1 through June 1, the road could be closed.

When to Climb

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Loon Lake and the northern Lick Creek peaks
Summer and Fall would be the best seasons. IN late Fall, check the hunting regulations and wear bright colors.


On the drive to the 'trailhead', you pass several official campgrounds, including Upper Payette Lake and Chinook. Upper Payette Lake is very popular, so you may need reservations.
There is also some dispersed camping available, but much of the stretch between Burgdorf Junction and Chinook Campground is private land. The trailhead does not look like good camping.

External Links

Payette national Forest
Steamboat Ridge trail, Payette National Forest
City of McCall
Splattski trip report
Brundage Mountain web cams (including McCall)
Idaho road conditions

For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide