Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 43.74447°N / 115.75183°W
Additional Information County: Boise
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 7515 ft / 2291 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Minneha Tree

Thorn Creek Butte is situated almost equidistant between the Mores Creek drainage and the Middle Fork of the Boise River.  The peak is clearly visible from many parts of ID-21 and sits above Idaho City as one of the taller peaks in the region.  It's summit is topped with a fire lookout and many jeep roads can be found in the region.  What separates this peak from some of it's neighbors is the amount of single-track trails that lead up toward the summit and the numerous approaches that are possible.  From the summit, the Sawtooth Range is visible, along with most of the Boise Mountains, the Boise Front Range, the southern portion of the Salmon River Mountains, and parts of the Treasure Valley.  Nearby Sunset Mountain  is connected to Thorn Creek Butte by a series of long and complicated single track and jeep roads trails that go up, down, and around the ridgelines. 

This peak provides some of the best unknown mountain biking in the region along with some great trail runs.  Careful timing and planning can enable you to avoid any off road vehicles and motorcycles, while utilizing their network of single track trails.  

Thorn Creek Butte

Trails / Routes 

  1. Idaho City Approaches- many possibilities that include Granite Creek to Rabbit Creek Summit where you will find a single-track trail taking off and heading along the ridges. Best for Mountain Biking or Trail Running. The Bannock Creek Approach is best for mountain biking and involves more of a climb.
  2. North Fork of the Boise River- This approach starts where the Rabbit Creek Road drops and meets the North Fork of the Boise for the first time. Follow a series of Jeep roads and trails south and west until you reach Meadow Creek where you'll follow the main ridge south to the summit. Best for hiking.
  3. Middle Fork of the Boise River- Follow the Haga Creek Pack Trail just north of Twin Springs until you reach the summit area. This route is best for hiking and is subject to logging operations in the vicinity.
  4. Thorn Creek Approaches-  Lots of possible routes, mostly all jeep or logging roads. See Routes page for more info.

    Maps:  USGS Arrowrock Reservoir NE, USGS Idaho City, USGS Rabbit Creek Summit

    Getting There

    Thorn Creek Butte

    Follow Idaho 21- For the Thorn Creek Approaches, turn right near milepost 31. For the Idaho City Approaches, turn off north of Idaho City near mile markers 40-41.

    Conditions and Season

    The terrain here is generally warm and dry for a mountain, but snow usually lingers on the south slopes until April, while the north slopes have snow until late May / early June.  The first major snows usually come from in December.  Generally, temperatures are not much colder during the day than the lower valleys near Idaho City. Summer days can be very warm with temperatures in the 90's.  

    Nearby Idaho City Climate Data

    Jan Feb  Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
    Average Max. Temperature (F)  35.4 41.3  42.5 48.6 59.0 68.7 77.0  88.1 77.4 64.4 45.9  36.5 60.8
    Average Min. Temperature (F) 12.7  15.4 21.2 27.7 34.4  40.1  44.7 43.0 35.6  28.5 22.0 15.1 28.4
    Average Total Precipitation (in.) 3.63 2.75 2.38 1.76 1.79 1.39 0.44 0.49 0.88 1.46 2.90 3.62 23.50
    Average Total SnowFall (in.) 24.3 16.4 7.0 0.9 0.1 0.0 0.0  0.0 0.00 0.7 9.2 22.3 81.0
    Average Snow Depth (in.)  17 19 11 1 0  0 0 0 1  8 5

      National Weather Service-Boise

    On the east side is the Bald Mountain Campground which provides drive up camping. Hundreds of other primitive camping can be found virtually anywhere.

    Thorn Creek Butte

    Flora and Fauna

    Thorn Creek Butte

    • Numerous wildflowers can be viewed in the springtime such as the Arrowleaf Balsamroot, a common sunflower that grows in warm and dry conditions with thousands of variations. 
    • Herd animals will often be seen- Mule Deer, Elk, and Pronghorn (on the lower slopes). Idaho is good at preserving herd animals for hunting purposes, so these will be commonly seen.
    • Less commonly seen are Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Moose, Wolf, Badger, and Red Fox.
    • Other more commonly observed animals include the Coyote, Belding's Ground Squirrel, Douglas Squirrel, Red Tailed Hawks, Turkey Vulture, and Golden Eagles.
    • Songbirds seen in the Thorn Creek Butte area are:  Lazuli Buntings, Western Tanagers, Black Headed Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Crossbills, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpecker, Lewis's Woodpeckers, Flickers, Black Capped Chickadees, White Breasted Nuthatches, Juncos, and Red Breasted Nuthatches
    • Reptiles that may be seen include the Western Fence Lizard (Blue Belly), Gopher Snakes, and Rubber Boas



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.