Hawks Peak

Elevation: 9,079 ft
Prominence: 1,299

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Climbing and access information for this peak is on Page 368 of the book. The updated information by Livingston Douglas and Rick Baugher replaces the information found in the book. Updated November 2018

This peak is the high point of Dry Ridge. See Rick Baugher’s discussion of this issue on the Peale Mountains page. USGS Harrington Peak

Livingston Douglas’ 2018 Update

Date of Climb:  September 1, 2018

Hawks Peak is a magnificent rocky summit with a stunning South Ridge that splits Georgetown Canyon from Church Hollow. Unfortunately, the mapping misinformation about this peak is widespread and appalling, some of the worst that I have ever seen (Caribou-Targhee NF Map/Montpelier-Soda Springs Districts, 2011; USGS topo map). My update will clear up the extensive misinformation. The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the Montpelier Ranger District is much more accurate and recent (2018).

South Ridge/Church Hollow Route,Class 2+


From the signed turnoff on US-30 in the center of the bustling metropolis of Georgetown, ID, turn E onto Georgetown Canyon Road (which is called Stringtown Road within the city limits). Drive up the road to a junction at 2.3 miles (LEFT is CR-1095/Left Hand Fork Road; STRAIGHT is Georgetown Canyon Road/FSR-102). Go straight; the road changes from paved to gravel here. At 3.5 miles, you enter the Caribou National Forest. At 5.2 miles, turn LEFT onto FSR-688/Church Hollow Road. Drive 0.2 miles to a parking area at the end of the road. This is the trailhead for FST-554 which connects Church Hollow Road to Hawks Roost Road/FSR-680 in the Left Hand Fork Canyon. The elevation at the trailhead is 6,590 feet.


This route climbs Church Hollow to 7,600 feet and then requires a bushwhack up the Southwest Gully to reach the South Ridge, and finally a short scramble up the South Ridge to the summit.

FST-554/Church Hollow Trail is no longer maintained. It used to be an ATV trail that climbed to the head of Church Hollow and then descended the Hawks Roost drainage via FSR-680/Hawks Roost Road. FST-554 is no longer signed and the old ATV trail is no longer maintained. But it does still exist, at least part way up Church Hollow. This route starts at the end of FSR-688/Church Hollow Road, at the base of the old ATV trail (FST-554). The MVUM shows NO trail anymore. The NFS map shows a trail all the way up to the head of Church Hollow and a continuation down into the Hawks Roost drainage and the Hawks Roost Road/FSR-680. The truth lies somewhere in between. The USGS topo map is completely ridiculous, showing Hawks Roost Road mostly in areas that it has NEVER existed. Ignore it.

Hike up Church Hollow on the old ATV trail. This trail is good to about 7,000 feet, at which point it becomes very overgrown. The trail gradually degrades into a footpath and then completely disappears at about 7,600 feet. From this point, bushwhack NE up a steep shoulder on the L/W side of an obvious gully. At about 8,100 feet, contour rightward across the dry gully and begin a steep climb NE up onto the South Ridge. The bushwhacking up from Church Hollow is on open terrain then a mix of pine trees and desert scrub then mostly open pine forest. The blowdown on the SW side of the South Ridge is a bit tedious to navigate through, despite the openness of the forest. Once on the open South Ridge, it’s a Class 2 cruise up the open terrain (easy broken rock and scrub) to the top. You will find game trails to expedite your ascent of the South Ridge. The summit of Hawks Peak is a rocky ridge point with outstanding views of the surrounding area. The summit includes a USGS BM on the highest boulder.

South Ridge/West Spur (Descent), Class 2+


Same as for the South Ridge/Church Hollow Route


From the summit of Hawks Peak, descend the South Ridge about ¼ mile (and a 150-foot vertical drop). Leave the South Ridge and descend R/WSW down the ill-defined West Spur through thick forest and hidden cliff bands (Class 2+) to reach the small open area that is the connecting saddle between Hawks Peak and Peak 8786/Hawks Nest. This saddle is at an elevation of 8,100 feet. Navigating this route down the West Face/Spur is challenging. If you force yourself to descend W (not NW or SW), you will avoid the adjoining gullies which will take you in the wrong direction. If you get off course, simply contour back to where the slope is heading due W.

Rick Baugher 2001 Update

To climb this peak you could grunt up the steep, dry, limestone riddled south or east side out of the main Georgetown Canyon. Instead, on 5/29/01, I approached from Left-Hand Fork Georgetown Canyon and rode east up the Hawks Roost ATV trail. From 7,200 feet, an unmaintained forest trail reaches the 8,100-foot saddle southwest of the peak. Hike this Southwest Ridge cross-country to the summit. On top, the 1948 USGS benchmark tablet is stamped “George.” Fittingly, some hawks circled closely overhead.

Back down in the forest, I heard a nearby large animal. At first thought it was an elk, but the huge round size and thudding sound (gulp) indicated a bear, a big old boar. It wished to avoid me, for which I was glad. Made plenty of noise the rest of the way down.

View N to Hawks Peak. SW ridge is on left skyline, 4/30/14. Subsequent research has indicated this peak was used for triangulation by USGS topographical engineer George T Hawkins in preparing the Montpelier 30' quad of 1909. I'd like to think the peak was named for the bird and the man. Rick Baugher Photo

View north to Hawks Peak (4/30/14). The Southwest Ridge is on the left skyline. Subsequent research has indicated this peak was used for triangulation by USGS topographical engineer George T. Hawkins in preparing the Montpelier 30-minute quad of 1909. I’d like to think the peak was named for the bird and the man. Rick Baugher Photo


Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Peale Mountains

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: South Ridge/Church Hollow
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.27979   Latitude: 42.52889

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