Overview 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.
Trails / Routes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Getting There 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 SeasonThe 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
|Average Max. Temperature (F)
|Average Min. Temperature (F)
|Average Total Precipitation (in.)
|Average Total SnowFall (in.)
|Average Snow Depth (in.)
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.
Flora and Fauna
- 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
- 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