Star Peak is a mere 6,167’ but a whopping 4,000’ vertical from the start of the #998 trailhead. This is an easy one to reach – just off highway 2 before you get to Big Eddy Campground just outside of Heron, Montana.
The Friends of Scotchman’s Peaks Wilderness (see ScotchmanPeaks.org) had eight hikers, all who made it to the summit lookout tower (including two month old “Tanner” the blond lab). The weather was favorable for a mid-May hike. At the top, we enjoyed mixed clouds and views to the Clark Fork River to the south and Bull River to the north. Four of the eight hikers had not been up Star before – including David Heaton from Texas and Paul Carey from Ohio. Danielle Otis (Sandpoint) and Trey Johnson (Spokane) made their first big hikes in the Cabinet Mountains
There are two other trails from the east and south that meet at the summit -- #1016 up Star Gulch and #1036 a long ridge that runs the length of Pillick Ridge. The most accessible trail from the west side (if you are coming from Sandpoint) is #998 – 10 miles round trip. Bring hiking poles as your knees will appreciate these on the way down. The trail ascends gently at first through dense forest for about a half a mile before leaving Big Eddy Creek on the east and switchbacking up to several benches that look out to the south and west. These are good places for a break before continuing.
The top is not visible until the last 300’ and then the trail swings around to the south and up to the lookout.
Photo #1 – Star Peak Lookout from the ridge leading to Billiard Table Mountain
Photo #2 – Genny Hoyle and her tired dog “Tanner” after returning to the trailhead
Photo #3 – David Heaton makes his way up the final slope at 6,000’