Parks Peak

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There is a cool old lookout on Parks Peak, and an amazing trail network surrounding it.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We rolled out of McCall at about 7am for the 1:45 drive to Yellowpine. Jeff knows the area really well, and that makes it extra fun to drive back in here. The time went quickly and we were at the trailhead, one of several along the East Fork of the South Fork.

Miners Peak close-up

This outing was 100% Class 1, and the trail was in excellent shape (at least as Idaho trails go). Someone had recently cleared the trail, but more recently a few logs had fallen. But no big deal.

Trailhead

 

With Jeff setting a rapid pace, we did the first 2000' of gain in less than two hours. That included crossing this huge blowout.

Miners Peak
After those first 2k of gain, the trail moderates a little, even having a few downhill sections (uphill on the return, of course!). However, for us this section was less fun because the trail moves down closer to the creek including wet brush, the wetness being a leftover from last night's rainstorms. Uphill Sandy was turning into Wet Sandy. Miners Peak

We had been (pleasantly) surprised by the condition of the trail. Then we found other trails, some not on the map. And even a trail sign!

This sign was somewhat misleading. Uphill Sandy grew very concerned when after hiking for more than four hours, the sign said our peak was another five miles. However, the GPS was saying about 1.3 miles. So take those distances with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, my map did not show the trail to Profile Summit, but I had contemplated an extended bushwack to that destination, which would inclue several additional peaks. Hmmmm.

Ponderosa forest
After a while, the trail leaves the creek bottoms and moves out into open lodgepole. The map indicated switchbacks, but the trail seemed to mostly go straight uphill. From a high saddle, we finally got a view of our peak. Ponderosa forest

The trail follows the ridge around, then turns and heads up the ridge. Not too much farther now.

Snowshoes

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We lost the trail when it went into the rocks, but it is there. Just stay right on top....

Meanwhile, we were a little distracted by the opening views.

Ponderosa forest
False Summit Sandy needed a little convincing, but there's the old lookout, right there! Ponderosa forest
This lookout was destroyed in the early 50s. So it's old-style, with a foundation of stacked rocks and no cement. Also, there is a stone staircase, visible below and between the two ancient phone poles. Ponderosa forest

Looking back from whence we came.

Note that this is looking south so you can see Johnson Creek, etc.

Ponderosa forest

Summit.

In the background, you can see Williams Peak and Rainbow Ridge, which Jeff and I visited last October.

Ponderosa forest
This is the view east, including the Pinnacles. Ponderosa forest
And this is looking west down Sheep Creek to the South Fork. Ponderosa forest
Then it was time to head back down. This video is my lame attempt to convey the coolness of the rock pathway.
There are a couple more peaks adjacent to our route, but we wisely skipped them in favor of flavor- the huckleberries were great! Ponderosa forest
To give you an idea of the lay of the land, this is a picture of Parks taken the following weekend from Tsum Peak. It's the long, flattish ridge of a peak just left of center, at or just below the horizon. And looking down intoSheep Creek. Ponderosa forest
Map Ponderosa forest

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