Spring Mountain Road System

Access to this area is covered on pages 313-4 in the book.


Access to Big Windy Peak, Sheep Mountain and Trail Peak can be accomplished via the Spring Mountain Canyon road system. These roads were built by miners. To reach the road from ID-28 turn west off the highway 5.0 south of Gilmore summit. The road is signed for the Hahn Town Site. This road system reaches the Lemhi crest and connects with a west side road that comes up Squaw Creek. See [(C)(6.2)] on page 318. Be forewarned, there are no guardrails and lots of exposure to steep slopes. There is no cell coverage and a tow will cost you a fortune. Careless driving could cost you your life.

Looking out on a rock garden of a road.

Looking out on a rock garden of a road.

The roads have Forest Service identification numbers but keep in mind that they are old mining roads and there is no regular maintenance. In fact, I cannot find anything on the National Forest site mentioning this road system. These roads are rough, 4WD roads that will test driving skills and eat up your tires and your undercarriage if you do not have skid plates. Having said this, I must mention meeting a guy who drove his Honda CRV with street tires from the Little Lost River Valley to Hahn. He did say, “if I had the sense God gave a golf ball,” he would not have done it. Having driven the road in a Toyota Sequoia, I am not sure how he did it.

Above, Hahn, the road becomes extremely rocky in spots. The second right leads up Quartzite Canyon FS-918 and eventually over the crest where it meets up with the Spring Mountain Canyon Road. In 2015, the Quartzite Canyon Road was the roughest of the two roads and in one spot my skid plates came into use. It took me about 1.2 hours to climb to the crest in 4WD low range. An AWD is not a 4WD. You need a true 4WD, all terrain tires with multi-ply side walls and skid plates.

The main Spring Mountain Canyon Road has a few hundred yards of good road but is mostly rocky. I descended the road in 4WD low range the entire way to save my brakes and tires.

Spring Mountain Canyon Roads Are shown on this map. Just because a road is shown does not mean it is passable.

Spring Mountain Canyon Roads Are shown on this map. Just because a road is shown does not mean it is passable.

I recommend taking the Spring Mountain Canyon Road over the Quartzite Canyon Road based on my experience. Larry Prescott prepared this GPS Track of the,route,which will take you to the summit in 6.75 miles with

I recommend taking the Spring Mountain Canyon Road over the Quartzite Canyon Road based on my experience. Larry Prescott prepared this GPS Track of the route which will take you to the summit in 6.75 miles with 3,100 feet of elevation gain.

This Google Earth image shows the upper portion of the Spring Mountain Canyon Road. The Quartzite Canyon Road is off,the image to the left.

This Google Earth image shows the upper portion of the Spring Mountain Canyon Road. The Quartzite Canyon Road is off,the image to the left.

There are only a few smooth sections bit the views are always great along the road. Ray Brooks Photo

There are only a few smooth sections but the views are always great along the road. Ray Brooks Photo

The highest point on the Spring Mountain Canyon Road is just north of the summit of Big Windy Peak. This photo shows the road reading the crest on the right side and proceeding north around the high point to,eventually meet with the Quartzite Canyon Road.

The highest point on the Spring Mountain Canyon Road is just north of the summit of Big Windy Peak. This photo shows the road reading the crest on the right side and proceeding north around the high point to,eventually meet with the Quartzite Canyon Road.

Winter Access.

John Platt and  Robbins climbed Big Windy Peak during the winter utilizing this road system. They avoided the upper Spring Mountain Canyon Road’s upper stretches where it crosses steep slopes due to the avalanche danger. See their trip reports which are linked on the Big Windy Peak page. I suspect these roads see a lot of snowmobile use in the winter.

Dan Robbins on the Spring Mountain Canyon Road during a winter ascent of Big Windy Peak. John Platt Photo

Dan Robbins on the Spring Mountain Canyon Road during a winter ascent of Big Windy Peak. John Platt Photo