Southwest route

Page Type
Idaho, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day
Walk up

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Created On: Mar 19, 2005
Last Edited On: Mar 19, 2005


From Burley and I-84, take Idaho highway 27 which goes south from Burley to the small farming town of Oakley. In the middle of Oakley, you'll find Main street and turn left (E) Go right at a fork 1 mile later, following the sign toward "City of Rocks". The pavement will end about 4- 1/4 miles later; keep going. At 13.2 miles from the end of route 27, you'll see a sign indicating "City of Rocks 2, Almo 9" - this is the Emery Canyon road. Turn left. At 14.5 miles cross a pair of cattle guards and a sign indicating City of Rocks National Reserve; just beyond turn left (a sign indicates "National Forest Access"). (This point would also be reachable via an eastern approach from Almo.) This road passes by several City of Rocks campsites before entering Sawtooth NF (sign, cattle guard) at 17.5 miles. Continue on the main road, crossing another cattle guard at 18.4; 0.6 miles further cross another and reach a junction (sign: "Information Center"). Keep left at the junction (the right fork goes to Graham Peak). At 19.5 miles pass the obscure junction to the left of the Fish Creek 4WD route (see note below); at 19.8 the signed road to Logger Springs forks off the route to the right. At 22.3 miles the road crosses another cattle guard and fence line, and turns sharply right. To this point it has been easy going for passenger sedans; beyond this point higher clearance will be necessary in spots. At the bottom of a very rocky section, a large mud puddle may be present. A vehicle track has been made through the trees on the north side and also a decent spot to camp is available right near this slight detour.

At 22.5 miles pass through a gate. At 24.3 reach the end of the road in a saddle. There are a pair of signs (~50 yards apart) to the Ranger Trail heading north and south out of this saddle.

Route Description

From the saddle parking area, walk up the old road and 4WD track shown on the topo to a spot NE of elevation 9401. Just before, and just after, you cross the fence line at the end of the track, smaller tracks head NE; these quickly rejoin. Follow the joined track for some distance toward Mount Independence. I think it goes to the Independence/Cache saddle but choose a likely route and head uphill to the right toward Cache Peak. There is some brush, and boulder hopping toward the top. A little bit of scrambling was necessary in a couple of places but nothing over class 2. Snow still remained when I was there but it was hard, suncupped and very consolidated. A great view is available from the summit and a register was located within the big rock cairn that marks the high spot. Great views down to "The City of Rocks".

It would be easy to add Independence Mountain on the way back and to get some good views of Independence Lakes.

Total hike is about 4 miles round trip with 1800' of gain. Time up: 2 hours, time down, one hour.

Essential Gear

No special gear necessary for July to late fall. Watch out for thunderstorms and it is best to do this early in the day. A snow bank can block the road about 4 miles from the summit making the round trip 8 miles or more and adding another thousand feet of elevation gain.

Miscellaneous Info

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Southwest route

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