Jefferson County High Point Trip Report

Kelly Mtn (6,664 ft)

Date: July 8, 2001
Author: Ken Jones

Drive: From US Hwy. 26 east of Idaho Falls, take the signed road north toward Heise and the Kelly Canyon recreation area. Follow the paved road to the ski area, and continue on the (now gravel) road to a fork in a saddle at 6230 feet. Turn hard right, and proceed 100 feet or so to another fork; both routes are gated. You want the one on the right. Park.

Hike: Kelly Mountain is a web of ATV tracks and roads. I'm sure there must be a better way than how I went - but this is the only way I know. Pass the right-hand gate and follow the jeep road. You can cut some switchbacks out by taking an ATV track more directly uphill by the first ski lift. After 4 or 5 crossings, the ATV trail merges back into the jeep road. Follow the most major jeep road to its end at the top of another ski lift. (At this point, there is probably a track which would work better than the way I went. You might want to explore, if it's not starting to rain and get dark.) Here you are on top of the northerly of the two NW-SE trending ridges that make up Kelly Mountain. You need to get to the southerly one. I followed a jeep road SE hoping to find a connection, but didn't. So I returned to the area by the saddle between the two ridges (by the "N" in "National" on the 7-1/2" quad) and thrashed my way over to the other ridge. Here, I picked up another track and turned NW. There is a USFS boundary sign and gate when you cross the county line. From here, the road passes north of the 6664' highpoint, and very close to the 6660'+ one. In both cases, a good fire will be required to remove the vegetation before you'll be sure which is the highest rock, but the one I picked as most likely is near the 6664' point in thinner brush, set back a bit from the edge of the plateau overlooking the Snake River Valley.

On my return, I followed another track that seemed to be heading northeast down the draw between the two ridges. I became concerned that it was going too far, and thrashed back to the northerly road. When I hit it, I suspected that I might have come out at the ski lift had I stayed on the track, but it was getting dark, and I wasn't taking chances.

With the right route, this is probably 3 miles and 1.5 hours. I walked about 5 miles in 2.5 hours. Gain is roughly 500' if you can avoid some of my ups and downs.