Elevation: 7,220 ft
This peak is referenced on Page 356 of the book. Published November 2018
Wild Horse Mountain is a rather nondescript hump located just over a mile southeast of Kinport Peak. This the Rodney Dangerfield of Idaho Mountains. It gets NO RESPECT. The USGS map makers didn’t even get its NAME right. Whew. The summit high point is in short desert scrub about 30 feet to the west of an old two-track jeep road that curls northward when it reaches the summit plateau. No antennas, no cairns, nothing up here. In fact, it’s difficult to ascertain the exact high point. It is not an obvious outcrop or hump as the USGS topo map implies. Wild Horse Mountain is not a ranked summit.
Wild Horse Mountain is mislabeled as “Wild Mountain” on the USGS topo map as well as in the book and on Lists of John (LOJ). The Caribou-Targhee National Forest/Westside Ranger District map has it correctly named. Frankly, there is nothing “wild” about this mountain. The easiest access to Wild Horse Mountain is via an old two-track jeep road from Kinport Peak to the northwest.
North Ridge (Descent), Class 2
Date of Descent: September 30, 2018
Access is via Kinport Peak and the two-track jeep road that connects these two summits.
This route is part of a ridge traverse from Kinport Peak and a descent back to City Creek Road in Pocatello. From the summit, descend northward on the ridge on an old two-track jeep road until it fades away to nothing. Continue down the ridge crest, staying on its L/W side to avoid trees on the ridge crest and on its R/E side. At the 7,000-foot level, be careful to follow the ridge as it bends L/NW briefly. The ridge returns to a northward trajectory at 6,600 feet. At the 6,500-foot level, the ridge forks. Go N (not NW) here. At 6,300 feet, the ridge forks yet again at the head of a brush-clogged gully.
From here, the objective is to descend to Cusick Creek and the old jeep road alongside it. The best way to accomplish this critical part of the descent is to follow the ridge fork to the R/NNE down to a 6,140-foot saddle with a visible trail crossing it. You can see this trail from your vantage point at the top of the brush-clogged gully. You can also see the switchbacks of the trail as it descends westward into the Cusick Creek drainage. This trail is not shown on the USGS topo map, but it is shown on the NFS map.
This trail is a GODSEND because the terrain here is VERY THICK—aspens, willows, tall veg—and STEEP as well with an unstable gravel/scree base. The switchbacks of this narrow trail (FST-505, a mountain bike trail) add some mileage to the descent, but it goes quickly. Descend the R/NNE fork of the North Ridge for just over 350 vertical feet to reach the saddle and the [blessed] trail. Go L/NW on the trail and follow it down to its signed junction with Cusick Creek Road/FST-010. There is even a nice bench at this junction if you wish to take a brief rest or have a snack.
From this junction, hike down Cusick Creek Road in a northward then northeasterly direction. In just under a mile, you reach an unmarked fork in the road. Go LEFT here to stay on Cusick Creek Road. You immediately cross to the L/W side of Cusick Creek (a small stream) and, almost immediately after crossing the creek, reach an unmarked junction with a mountain bike trail to your L/W. This unmarked bike trail is the SERENGETI TRAIL.
Follow this trail WNW as it meanders itsway back to Kinport Road. Be sure to ignore several side trails that intersect the SERENGETI TRAIL as you make your way toward Kinport Road. The SERENGETI TRAIL reaches Kinport Road at a small parking area just above its junction with North Fork Road. Follow Kinport Road back to its base at the large trailhead parking area at the head of City Creek Road. It helps to have the City Creek Management Area Trail System Map when using these bike trails as part of your hiking route which is linked HERE.
Optional Descent of the Northeast Spur of the North Ridge
From the 6,140-foot saddle, rather than following FST-505 down to Cusick Creek Road, bushwhack NE up the ridge to Point 6252. Turn L/N here and follow a shoulder that descends north then northeast to the open scrub at the mouth of the Cusick Creek drainage. Drop L/NW to the drainage and follow the SERENGETI bike trail back to Kinport Road. I did not descend this spur, so I cannot speak to its ease or difficulty.