Burton Peak

Fabulous all-around views await atop Burton Peak overlooking Bonners Ferry. The trail leads through mostly mature forest and bright-green alpine meadows to a decaying lookout tower at near-7000 feet of elevation.
  • Selkirk Mountains
3.9 out of 5
Moderate (uphill)
5.6 miles
2:21 hours moving time (Hiking)
Elevation Gain
1,809 feet
High Point
6,978 feet (Cascade Ridge)
Low Point
5,109 feet (trailhead)
  • Meadow
  • Mountain
  • Structure
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Out-and-back
  • Trailbed
    Packed dirt, loose rocks
  • None
  • Camping
    • None
    • Good. Recently sawed out
  • Kaniksu National Forest
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Farnham Peak
  • Moravia
  • Pyramid Peak
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • ()
    Open To
  • Hikers
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Mountain Bikers
  • (non-motorized)
  • From U.S. Highway 95 in Bonners Ferry, drive west on Riverside Road (aka Country Road 18A) past the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge to the Refuge’s headquarters. About 1.5 miles past the refuge, turn left onto Myrtle Creek Road #633. Follow the gravel road for 2 miles to the junction with #2411. Turn right and follow 2411 for a bit over 6 miles to another junction. Turn left onto #2692 (the right fork is gated) and follow that somewhat bumpy road for a bit over a mile to a turnaround with parking for several vehicles
  • Season
    June – October
      July 5, 2021

      The trail starts in an old clearing or burn that’s been overrun with larch and lodgepole pine, which are not quite high enough to provide any shade. As the trail rises, though, it enters a more mature forest of mixed conifers (mostly spruce). The trail follows the spine of the ridge closely, except for a spot halfway up, where it departs to the northwest, then switchbacks and regains the ridge. The higher up you go the more open the forest becomes, with frequent meadows near the top and the tree cover replaced with subalpine fir.

      The views from Burton Peak into the heart of the Selkirk Crest and the Kootenai River Valley are fabulous and worth every step. The rickety old lookout is a squat log structure, apparently built of locally-sourced log. A short off-trail scramble leads along a granite edge of Cascade Ridge to the next peak, which offers a birds’ eye view of Burton as well as a small tarn far below.

      Alternate Routes

        Things to Consider

          Not so great

            Larches near the trailhead
            Much of the hike leads through established, but open, forest
            Frequent meadows in the upper reaches. Full of delicious ground squirrels
            View of the Kootenai River Valley
            The old lookout
            The lookout has seen better days
            Kootenai River Valley
            Myrtle Peak, among others
            Kootenai River and Bonners Ferry
            Can you make out Lake Pend Oreille in the blueish haze?
            Cascade Ridge
            Another shot of the old lookout
            A small pond below Cascade Ridge and view of Russell Peak
            View of Burton Peak from Cascade Ridge
            Flowers abound in early summer
            Another shot of Burton Peak from Cascade Ridge