Kootenai County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 22, 2001
Author: Barney Metz

This route is one that I would not recommend. These are just informational, in case you would like to attempt these peaks from the South.

From St. Maries, ID, I proceeded East on FH 50, the road that runs along the St. Joe River. This road is paved and in excellent shape. Proceed east until you come to Reeds Gulch Road, take a left and head north for approximately one mile. There is a turn-around spot for trailers. We parked here and unloaded our ATVs.

We then went back to FH 50 and headed east on it until the very next left turn, approximately 1/4 mile from Reeds Gulch. Essentially this will put you on the East side of the valley. The directions from here are hard and difficult to follow. The road map from the St. Joe National Forest is very outdated and worthless. My original intention was to ride FS 501 over to Pine Creek Valley and assault this the way that Ken Jones and Bob Packard did. However, these roads are no longer in existence. There is an entirely new maze of logging roads for one to try to solve, so I can only give directions that could easily change as the logging continues. The directions that I obtained came from Mr. Smith who lives at 789 Reeds Gulch. His number is 208-245-8053. This gentleman is extremely friendly and had good information about getting me up the roads that I wanted. He also was kind enough to tell me the way to his huckleberry patch in case I was finished hiking and had time to pick some berries.

Head north on the road immediately following Reeds Gulch Road. Follow this road until you come to the second right, go right. Follow this road until the next major fork and go left. At this point, Reeds Gulch needs to your immediate West. If not you need to head back and get to that point, as you have crossed over the ridge and are now in the Wittenburg Draw Drainage. Once you make the second fork you will encounter few roads and the ones you do encounter are definitely not being used by anyone. I followed this road to spot elevation 6063.

Here I dismounted my ATV and proceeded north along the ridge. I passed over Benewah County highpoint and continued to Latour Peak. At La Tour, I could not find the BM, but found a rock with a bolt cemented into it. You can see the remnants of the old fire tower lookout on the Twin Crags and you can see the very picturesque Mirror Lake. I thoroughly tromped the tiny summit and headed back towards the Benewah County highpoint. There were numerous Cairns here and as the true highpoint is not at the summit of spot elevation 6168, I set up a grid and walked the slope to ensure that I some point I walked over the Benewah County Highpoint. From there I proceeded back.

I hiked from spot elevation 6063 to the two highpoints and back in two hours, not including the ATV ride. I would not recommend anyone attempting this route unless you have an ATV as the road I described is not passable even in a four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle.