Hike North Idaho

Parker Peak

August 21, 2017

Parker Peak is the highest named peak in the U.S. Selkirk Range. It is 7,670 feet but it is not an easy one to reach. Landon Otis and I started at the Pyramid Pass trail #13 (take Trout Creek Road No. 634 to the end -- about 9 miles off Westside Road just north of the Wildlife Refuge west of Bonners Ferry). We set out on a smoky morning (August 20, 2017) and started up the easy trail to Pyramid Pass. The trailhead starts high, 5,410 feet but don’t let this fool you into complacency. The 18-mile roundtrip high still covers 3,260 feet of vertical because Parker Ridge undulates until it reaches the end of the ridge that connects to Parker Peak. We estimated 1,000 feet of vertical on the ridge itself so save some energy for the return trip over Pyramid Pass.

You can bag 7,265 feet Long Mountain in route to Parker Peak. Ironically, there are other higher peaks but these are not named. You know you are on Long Mountain when you look down on Long Lake below. The trip on a clear day is one of the best ridge hikes in the Selkirks – staying above 7,000 feet much of the way with great views in every direction. We made our way through abundant huckleberries and beautiful meadows. Start early because this is a long hike. You can split it into two days by camping at Long Lake which is almost at the halfway point.

The Pyramid Pass Trail eventually connects with the Parker Ridge Trail #221 on the other side of the pass which means you drop down about 300 feet before connecting to it. Don’t keep going down into Long Canyon because this will take you in the wrong direction. Once you pick up 221, it will start climbing along the west side of the ridge for less than a mile before you reach the ridge. This is when Parker Peak comes into view and it looks like a long way away – it is still six miles. We reached the summit by 1:00 pm before reversing course back toward Pyramid Pass. The return trip is slightly quicker (we were just under four hours). This is a great hike but it is also a long hike. There are few better views in the Selkirks on a clear day.

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