Jefferson County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 21, 2007
Author: Tyler Nimke

I tried driving up the road past the Kelly Canyon Ski Area parking area but didn't make it more than a couple hundred yards. The road was still snow-packed and I started sinking through the snowmobile tracks so I tried to back down the road and ended up sliding into the ditch. It took a good hour to get out and by this time it was about 7:00 in the evening on this March day. I decided to go for the highpoint anyway. I ended up backing down to the parking area and hiking up the snow-covered ski slope. I shared the area with numerous snowmobilers since the ski area had just closed the week before.

After reaching the top of the lift, I side-hilled to the south just west of the county line then through the draw between the ski area and the highpoint. There was knee-deep snow here in the openings so I put on my snowshoes and tried to use the tree wells in my favor. There is a trail through this draw which snowshoers had used during the winter but the snow was just rotten enough for me to sink through 80 percent of the steps I took.

I came out on the trail marked "jeep trail" on the USGS quad. This ridge was mostly snow-free and there were old ATV tracks in the mud from the previous fall. I walked all over both 6,660+ contours, and found the refrigerator-size rock and the pill bottle. The signature paper was too wet for me to write on.

By this time, it was sunset and I got some amazing pictures of the Snake River Plain all the way to the south end of the Lemhi and Lost River Ranges, as well as Big Southern Butte. On my hike out I headed straight north through the draw, basically following the county line back to the ski area. There were enough breaks in the brush to make this a decent route. I stumbled upon a year old 5 point elk shed under a tree well after dark, which was a nice bonus.

So the moral of the story is this is a nice spring hike but don't try to drive past the ski area parking lot on snowmobile tracks, especially in a Dodge diesel.