Shephard peak is a beautiful mountain located in a remote corner of the Boise Mountains near the North Fork of the Boise River and the Graham Guard Station. It commands exceptional views of the seldom seen western Sawtooths as well as the Goat Mountain area. Another named peak, Silver Mountain, sits just to the South of Shephard and is connected by a short and easy ridge. While Silver Mountain lacks sufficient prominence to be called a true peak by some it is still a worthwhile secondary goal and is a more precipitous looking mountain than Shephard. The ridge walk from Shephard to Silver is pleasant and has amazing views on either side.
Although Shephard is remote, it is easily done in half a day from Boise, most of that time being travel time. The hike is an easy class 2 but the road getting there is another story. For the most part it is a good road but there is a two mile section near the end that is very steep and rough requiring a 4X4 with high clearance.
According to the Idaho Place Names book the mountain is named after E.C. Shepard, a Boise National Forest Supervisor. The spelling on the USGS quad is, however, spelled "Shephard". The 1927 Forest Service map of the area also has it spelled "Shephard". Perhaps this was a typo that has been perpetuated to the present day. (Info provided by Super Dave
Map of the Area
Getting to Shephard is half of the adventure. This mountain sits off the beaten path in a remote corner of the Boise Mountains. It is still not terribly difficult to get there as long as you have a sturdy vehicle and a good navigation skills.
From Boise take highway 21 over More's Creek Summit and continue to the Edna Creek turnoff. There will be a sign indicating that Atlanta is 41 miles down this road (FS-384). Follow this road for 4 miles and turn east onto FS-312. This is the Graham Guard Station road. The road will wind up to a high ridge near Jackson Peak and drop into an area called Trapper Flat. This area is heavily forested and is surrounded by rugged peaks. The road will soon start to climb out of the flat and onto another high ridge. It is here that the road begins steepen and deteriorate. It is possible to park before this section and hike the remaining 5 miles of road but that would greatly lengthen the trip. Once the road tops out on the ridge the views of Wolf and Goat Mountains are incredible. The road follows the ridge to a high saddle where Shephard Peak is visible. Here the road is closed due to a washout farther down the road. There is sufficient space to park or camp at the road's end.
The peak is a mile and a half south of the end of the road. It is clearly visible and many ascent routes are possible so use your imagination.
View from Shephard
4WD and high clearance required. The road is good except for about a two mile stretch near the end that is steep and rocky.
Although this peak might be a great spring climb, the road would not be recommended for travel when wet. The steep grade combined with the roughness of the rock strewn road could be dangerous when wet. If you get into trouble you're a long way from anywhere. When the road is dry it is passable as long as you have a high clearance 4X4 and the ability to drive it, or the sense to park and walk a little farther.
Late summer and early fall are probably the best times to visit this area because the weather will be nicer and the road will be in better condition. Be aware that in the fall there will be a lot of hunters in the area.
View from Shephard
Always remember to practice Leave No Trace
The possibilities for camping in this area are endless. There are a few established campgrounds near the Edna Creek turnoff but Trapper Flat is full of excellent sites. There is also ample room to camp in the saddle at the end of the road.
The area where Shephard Peak sits would be ideal for a short weekend backpacking trip. The scenery is grand, there is plenty of water (including a few alpine lakes), and it has a nearly perfect combination of remoteness and accessibility.
External LinksIdahosummits Trip Report
Idaho: A Climbing Guide.
The Idaho peak bagging bible.
Splattski's Trip Report
Super Dave's Trip Report
Idaho Outdoors Forum
View of the Sawtooths