Paris Peak is a large mountain that dominates the view for the Bear River Range from the Bear Lake side. At 9,575 it is also the second highest summit of the Idaho portion of the Bear River Range. Only Sherman Peak to the north is higher. Interestingly Paris Peak does not sit on the main crest of the range, but quite far to the east of it, a fact that contributes to its visibility from the Bear Lake area. It gets its name from the small town of Paris, Idaho which sits below in the Bear Lake Valley. Although Montpelier is the largest town in Bear Lake County, Paris serves as the county seat.
The mountain is typical of Bear River summits being large, rounded, and rocky. While the mountain is rounded generally, the summit is on a raised rib of rock surrounded by cliffs. Perhaps Paris Peak’s most distinguishing feature though is its dramatic north face which is composed of a series of cliffs and avalanche chute. This face is easily seen for the north and east. The other stand-out feature of the peak are the white boulders which cover the peak and add to its visibility.
There is a small emergency radio facility on the summit of Paris Peak that is used by the Forest Service and other Federal, State, and County agencies for wildfire monitoring and search and rescue operations. On a clear day the Uintas in Utah and the Grand Teton and Salt River Ranges of Wyoming are visible from the summit.
Looking down the north face.
From highway 89 which runs along the west side of Bear Lake take the signed Bloomington Canyon Road from the small town of Bloomington. This is a good road that eventually enters the Cache National Forest. Once you pass the forest boundary there will be a trailhead with a restroom. This is NOT the Paris Peak trailhead. The actual trailhead is a little further down the road and is fenced and signed with an info kiosk and map. Parking is plentiful.
Paris Peak is quite accessible and is done as a fairly easy day climb. The best route begins at the Paris Peak Trailhead along the Bloomington Canyon Road. This is a well maintained ATV track that is also suitable for hiking. The trail ascends the west slope of the mountain with two major switchbacks. It eventually leads to a beautiful and flat 8,800 ft. saddle between Paris Peak and Peak 9,270 (North Paris). From here the trail continues to the east so you must leave the trail and continue cross country to ascend the north slope of the mountain. While not terribly steep, you must ascend through a large boulder field that is easily visible from the saddle.
This adds a degree of difficulty to the climb but it is not a major obstacle. The final challenge is the scramble to summit which is on top of a large rocky fin.
View from the Summit.
The peak is easily combined with “North Paris Peak”. For those seeking even more adventure a traverse of the four peaks surrounding the North Fork of Bloomington Canyon makes for a wonderful and strenuous day totaling 10 miles and 3,700 ft. of gain.
Paris Peak is on public land administered by the Montpelier Ranger District of the Cache National Forest. Access is free and there is no other red tape of any kind. During the weekend this is a busy area for ATV's so make sure to lookout for them. During the week you may have the whole place to yourself though.
Please practice Leave No Trace
Paris Peak Forecast
When to Climb
The mountain is best climbed in the summer or fall but could also be done in the spring of a low snow year. I am unaware of any winter ascents but it would certainly be possible. However, there would be much more mileage because the Bloomington Canyon Road closes well below the trailhead.
Paris Peak in the Fall.
Camping is plentiful in the area with many campsites along Bloomington Creek Road and farther up the canyon and beautiful Bloomington Lake. While this peak does not really warrant an overnight expedition the 8,800 ft. saddle north of the peak would be an excellent place to camp as it is very flat, broad, and open. I would say that it is worthy of being a campsite destination on its own.
Paris Peak Saddle
External LinksMontpelier Ranger District