Peak 6125 (Thorn Peak) by Erik Pohlmann

Elevation: 6,125 ft
Prominence: 474

This peak is not in the book.


Thorn Peak is located roughly 3.0 miles south of Idaho City at the head of Grayback Gulch and north of Thorn Creek. To reach the summit from ID-21, turn east on Thorn Creek Road, FS-377, and follow it east to its junction with FS-389, which runs up the North Fork Thorn Creek to the obvious 5,640 ft+ saddle at the top of the North Fork (NF) Thorn Creek drainage in approximately 10 miles. Park here for each of the two routes described below.

There are spectacular views along the ridge to Thorn Peak. Erik Pohlmann Photo

There are spectacular views along the ridge to Thorn Peak. Erik Pohlmann photo.

North Fork Route. Class 1-2 depending on the route you choose.

From this point, hikers can follow the summit ridge cross-county west approximately 1 mile to the peak. Be sure to stay on the south side of the ridge prior to reaching Point 6,113 ft, as the north side is choked with brush up to this point. After Point 6,113, simply follow the old jeep road along the ridge, which traverses very near the summit.

Alternatively for a less adventurous but longer approach, hikers can walk dirt roads from the saddle for approximately 2 miles all the way to the summit. Start by heading downhill to the north on the same Thorn Creek Road. You will run into an intersection within a 0.25 mile or so. There, head left. It may be possible to drive this route, but I believe there is a gate here and am unsure when/if it’s closed, and the same can be said for other roads in the area. Keep following this dirt road and turn left at the next three intersections until reaching the summit.

If you have time, and for the best views and ridge traverse experience, I highly recommend continuing the easy hike past the summit and then following the broad rolling ridge south towards Point 5,918 ft, which could easily double the length and enjoyment of this outing. For the more adventurous and dedicated explorer, accessing the peak from the southwest may result in a better experience, but takes a lot more commitment. The expansive views from this ridge are potentially the highlight of the area and include the majority of the west Boise Mountains: the entirety of Boise Basin and the roughly 40-mile long, prominent Boise Ridge to the west; Mount Heinen and much of the Danskins to the south; and the entirety of Thorn Creek Butte to the east.

Thorn Peak from the slopes of Thorn Creek Butte. Erik Pohlmann Photo

Thorn Peak from the slopes of Thorn Creek Butte. Erik Pohlmann photo.

Thorn Peak

Looking north towards Sunset Mountain from Point 6,113 ft along the east summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann photo.

Summit view looking towards the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann Photo

Summit view looking towards the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann photo.

Looking south from Point 6,042' along the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann Photo

Looking south from Point 6,042 ft along the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann photo.

Looking south from Point 5,811' along the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann Photo

Looking south from Point 5,811 ft along the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann photo.

Looking south from Point 5,918' at the southern end of the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann Photo

Looking south from Point 5,918 ft at the southern end of the broad rolling south summit ridge. Erik Pohlmann photo.

One of the many fun bike-able trails on the west side of the south summit ridge, in this case New Yorker-Greenland Gulch Trail#118. Erik Pohlmann Photo

One of the many fun bike-able trails on the west side of the south summit ridge, in this case New Yorker-Greenland Gulch Trail #118. Erik Pohlmann photo.

USGS Topo: Thorn Creek Butte

Recommended Mountain Bike Loop: From Idaho Highway 21, I suggest driving east on Thorn Creek Road for 1.4 miles until reaching an intersection with a dirt parking lot on the northwest corner; park here (sorry, I can’t recall the name of this dirt road/intersection). Then pedal up Thorn Creek Road, taking the described alternate dirt-road route to the summit (as described above), and now the fun begins!

Head south on single track Trail #117 and enjoy the flow. Follow Trail #117 up the small ~100 ft hike-a-bike section to Point 5,918 ft and enjoy the view. Continue following the trail, which heads east shortly, stay right at the next intersection, and descend the south leg of Johnny Woods-Placer Creek Trail #119. Be sure to stay right at all intersections, avoiding accidentally descending motorcycle Trail #121, and eventually Johnny Woods-Placer Creek, Trail #119, drops into namesake Placer Creek itself. Continue following the trail adjacent to the creek, which eventually becomes an unofficial trail and is vacant from any maps, until you reach the obvious, well-maintained dirt road (again, the name of the dirt road escapes me). Follow the road back to where you parked. Stats are approximately 3k foot elevation gain over 15 miles round-trip. Some sections of the trail are steep and chunky but in general it’s a wonderfully fast and flowy ride with great scenery.

The link below for my Strava trip report and GPS track does not cover my recommended bike route. I have included the track to demonstrate that there are a lot of possible riding routes of varying difficulties available in this area.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Boise Mountains

Longitude: -115.83569   Latitude: 43.77819

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