Coordinates: 48.612N, 116.594W
Trailhead: Chimney Rock Trail, No. 256 Trailhead elevation 4,020’
Estimated Time: 4 – 5 hours up, 3 – 4 down
5.25 miles, 3,161’ elevation gain
Start the climb by parking at the Chimney Rock Trailhead. Cross the bridge and head south along the hillside (an old logging road). You will gain very little elevation but it’s a good warm up for what is to come. Just before the first mile you will reach another bridge that crosses Thor Creek. Hike about another mile before leaving the trail and turning right into the forest and onto the ridge. The Chimney Rock trail makes a “V” and turns directly west toward Chimney Rock. Exit the trail at this point – right at the bottom of the “V.”
The ridge is not difficult but crosses numerous old logging roads. There is no consistency to the terrain as it ascends through alder, deadfall, and along game trails. There is plenty of evidence of elk in this area. You can follow game trails up much of the way. These alter from being very distinct to disappearing altogether. Stay to the right side of the ridge all the way up. Your objective is to gain elevation all the way. Not until you are just below 6,000’ will the summit come into view. This is a welcome relief from all the bushwhacking you will have done to this point. The terrain weaves in and out of forest the entire route but occasionally opens up for views of Roman Nose to the east and Gunsight Peak to the southwest. Chimney Rock cannot be seen until you are nearly to the summit. The easiest ground is closest to the north side of the ridge. Follow this over large boulders to the summit where you will find a large cairn.
To the north you can clearly see the South Twin and a closer unnamed peak. The views of the crest in both directions are exquisite with Chimney Rock dominating the views to south. In the distance is Lion’s Head and Smith Peak as well as the Pack River drainage and Lake Pend Orielle in the distance.
This may well be one of the lesser climbed peaks in the Selkirks. Though not technically difficult, it is off trail for nearly 7 miles along the ridge. On the descent take care not to drop off into one of the drainages. Stay on the ridge. There is a small lake that feeds Thor Creek but descending this route is not a good alternative. Return on the ridgeline and drop back down to the main trail for Chimney Rock. Unless you have technical rock climbing skills, there are no other feasible or easy routes up Silver Dollar. Late fall or late spring is the best time to tackle Silver Dollar.