Elevation: 7,728 ft
Climbing and access information for this peak is found on page 71. Mike Hays has provided this extensive update to the information found in the book.
Indian Peak is the highest point on the divide between Schwar Creek and Buck Lake Creek, two major northern tributaries in the vast, 300-square-mile Meadow Creek drainage, which after Moose Creek, are the largest tributaries to the Selway River.
Indian Peak’s summit is an unassuming rounded hump on the end of a long ridge that is almost the same elevation. The summit is just inside the boundary of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness and is one of the more remote places to reach in north-central Idaho. It’s not a technical mountain and is easily walked up, however it is a long hike.
The relatively flat summit area is formed by a pile of large granite rocks. The broad south and west aspects fall gently to broad ridges radiating from the mountain. The southwest aspect between these ridges drops steeply about 800 feet to the bottom of the remote Snowslide Creek. The north side is formed by sheer cliffs that fall over 900 feet to the head of an unnamed subalpine basin. The open eastern slopes fall into Schwar Creek approximately 2,300 feet below. The long northern ridge runs around the east side of the rugged north face along a nice open subalpine boulder hop or walk on the subalpine beach formed by the decomposed granite. The ridge eventually ties in with the pass above Grave Meadow, which sits at the head of the basin about 1.5 miles northeast of the summit.
The mountain provides good views across Schwar Creek to the large masses of Bilk Mountain and Elk Mountain. Westerly views are dominated by the picturesque form of Vermilion Peak and the Copper Buttes in front of endless waves of smaller tree-covered mountains and ridges that stretch to the horizon and fall into the Selway to the north. Looking north, the ridge dominates the view as it stretches away toward the Selway. But the best view by far is to the south at the pile of giant rocks that form the Rocky Peak pyramid. Look for the hot pink wildflower, Idaho Douglasia. The Elk Mountain area supports the largest extended population of this endemic on the planet. These flowers are common on the north end of the ridge top. This stunning species was described by botanists in the early 1980s.
Indian Peak is accessed from the Magruder Corridor Road via Forest Service Road [FSR]-468 from Grangeville or Montana. From the western end of the road, head east for 19 miles to the junction of FSR-285, which is signed for Green Mountain. Turn left on road 285 and continue 15 miles to the trailhead just south of Elk Mountain. FS-285 road is narrow and takes some time to navigate safely. Road use can be high some weekends and during hunting season so anticipate other vehicles on the corners.
South Ridge, Class 2
From the trailhead take trail 517 north over Elk and Bilk mountains. Continue west across the Schwar/Marten divide to Grave Meadow. Here, leave the trail. This is a distance of about 7 miles. Next, get onto the high ridge to the west. Either climb up the steep slope west of the meadow or follow the trail north a few minutes from of the meadow and get onto the ridge at the saddle. Once on the ridge, continue south to the rounded high point of Indian Peak. This point is just a couple miles from the Grave Meadow area. It is tempting to leave the trail in the Elk Mountain area and drop down into Schwar Creek and go up the east side of Indian Peak. However, Schwar Creek is wide, deep, and brushy and a cross-country crossing is not recommended.
USGS Topo: Running Lake