Window Mountain Summit
Starting Elevation: 5922 feet
Summit Elevation: 6826 feet
Round Trip Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1039 feet
Elevation Loss: 135 feet
This Mountain is presented more as a cautionary tale. It is not usually customary for me to discourage someone from going on a hike. Especially if their is a summit and a view involved. In this case I must make a small exception. Window Mountain is nestled in the Grandmother Mountain Roadless Area
, which is a very remote area in north central Idaho.
It is remote enough that on 2 separate trips out to this area I encountered not even one other hiker. So what is so bad about this hike? Nothing in particular, except that their is a much more interesting summit - Lookout Mountain
- along the same trail.
Looking at a topo map one will quickly discover that Window Mountain is taller by 37 feet. On my first trip to this area I did the Lookout Mountain section and thought I must have made a mistake even though that summit was very enjoyable. So I decided I had to return and to the taller neighbor Window Mountain.
What I found after doing Window Mountain is that the views were much better on Lookout Mountain and even though the trail was pretty crummy with all the blow downs, I found Lookout Mountain much more rewarding. Just proves that you can't always believe what you see scratched on a trail sign.
Getting to this trail head is an adventure in itself. From the small town of Clarkia, ID it is no less than an hour and a half of driving to go 26 miles on a nice forest service road that gets worse and worse until you can hardly do 15 miles per hour without rattling your head off your shoulders. No less than 8 miles of this approach road is done at over 1 mile of elevation.
Directions from Clarkia:
After entering town off Hwy 3 take a Left on Cedar St.
.5 miles turn Right on Sunrise St.
1.5 mile Sunrise becomes dirt
2 miles At intersection go straight onto FSR 301
6.4 miles from intersection follow FSR 301 Left
14.9 miles Follow FSR 301 Left again
18.2 miles Grandmother Mountain trail head and Sign
20.4 miles Follow FSR 301 Left again
23.7 miles Crater Peak trail head
26.4 miles Left to Window Mountain trail head parking lot
permitted but quad's, and snowmobiles are not. No trail head passes needed.
Camping Can be done right at the Orphan Point Saddle trail head (pit toilets available) or several other locations along the road.