West (Priest Lake) Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 48.61320°N / 116.7041°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike to saddle; scramble to summit
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-up
Sign the Climber's Log


Although the trail does not appear on USGS topo maps, it is well worn and you won’t get lost. From the Horton Ridge trailhead (former site of a lookout tower), proceed northeast through the firs and huckleberry patches. Gunsight Peak (elevation 7,352 feet), Hunt Lake (elevation 5,813 feet), and Hunt Peak are plainly visible to the south. There are great views of Priest Lake far below, and you’ll pass some small huckleberry patches along the trail. After you cruise by the western knob of Mount Roothaan, the trail steepens as you approach the rocky saddle. Young children can make it to the saddle with assistance, and they are rewarded with a fantastic view of the Kettle Crest to the north. Technical climbers often skip the summit of Mount Roothaan and pass through the saddle to tackle the famous Chimney Rock.

Route Description

The western knob of Mount Roothaan is just a short, 5- minute scramble along bounders. Young children may have trouble negotiating the rocks, but kids older than 10 will have no problems. From the west knob, Priest Lake lies to the west, and Upper Priest Lake peaks out from behind the mountains. Hooknose Mountain (in northeast Washingston State) is prominent past Upper Priest. Mount Spokane is due south 50 miles away.

The scramble up to the (eastern) Mount Roothaan summit is more difficult, and takes about 20 minutes. Look for the geocache near the top, under a ledge. From here, the view of Chimney Rock is partially obscured by a spine of rock, but you can see the Cabinet Mountains of Montana far to the east, and Lake Pend Oreille to the southeast.

Essential Gear

Good hiking boots, water, and windbreaker are recommended.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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