Granite Peak via Barton Creek

Granite Peak, literally a pile of granite rocks, serves up incredible all-around views of the Coeur d’Alene and Bitterroot Mountains as well as of Revett Lake at its feet. The hike could be a pleasant ridge hike, were it not for the dilapidated trail conditions that turn parts of the ascent into a serious bushwhack.
  • Coeur d’Alene Mountains
3.1 out of 5
More Difficult (unkempt trail, talus slopes)
8.8 miles
6:03 hours moving time (Hiking)
Elevation Gain
3,595 feet
High Point
6,800 feet (Granite Peak)
Low Point
2,957 feet (trailhead)
  • Mountain
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Out-and-back
  • Trailbed
    Packed dirt, talus
  • None, except for the creeks at the trailhead
  • Camping
    • Only at the trailhead
    • Poor. The first 2 miles up are fair, but then the trail gets more and more overgrown and essentially non-existent once you’re beyond the 3-mile mark. The last half mile is mostly talus, with no indication of a trail.
  • Coeur d’Alene National Forest
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Burke
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • ()
    Open To
  • Hikers
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • ()
  • From I-90 take the Kingston exit (#43) and head north on FH9 about 23 miles, past Prichard, and turn slightly right, with FH9 turning into Prichard Creek Road. Continue for another 10 miles (the road will turn into Thompson Pass Road). The trailhead, on your right, is marked as trail #140. There is parking for a few cars.
  • Season
    July – November
      August 19, 2017

      Trail #140 starts out innocently enough on an old logging road, fording Prichard Creek, and entering a lush forest of cedar and fir dotted with campsites. It’s possible to drive across Prichard Creek, and obviously that’s been done a number of times, judging by the tire tracks. The trail, marked with diamonds stapled to trees, continues along Granite Gulch for just under a quarter mile (stay on the left side of the creek), crosses Barton Creek, which is almost lost in a patch of devil’s club, and soon ascends the mountainside that is essentially the dividing ridge between Barton Gulch and Moonshine Gulch. The narrow single-track switchbacks uphill through a jumble of downed trees and reaches the ridge a bit past the half-mile mark. On the ridge you’ll have limited views northwest towards Murray, but as you climb the spine of the ridge, views of the Prichard Creek drainage (left) open up quickly, and soon you’ll have views to the right as well, towards Sunset Peak and Tiger Peak.

      Around the 2-mile mark trail conditions get seriously worse. There are many downed trees and in some places the trail is so overgrown with alder that it’s almost impassible (see marker on trailmap). Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse. The diamond signage end about half a mile into the hike. Up to around the 2-mile mark there are some plastic ribbons. Beyond that are blazes on trees, but these are hard to detect, and the trail is in such deplorable condition that it’s rarely worthwhile even finding them. Beyond the 3-mile mark it’s essentially a bushwhack. Higher up, once you’re within half a mile of the peak, there are patches of talus that make the ascent easier, but you’re essentially on your own as far as a trail and directions are concerned.

      The views from the peak are breathtaking, however. Revett Lake lies at the mountain’s feet to the east, with the Montana portion of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains beyond. Southeast you can see the distant Bitterroot Mountains, and north and west the Prichard Creek drainage and the Idaho side of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. The peak itself is actually just a heap of talus, graced with two mounds of piled-up rocks.

      It’s too bad about the trail conditions. We did this as a group hike and may have to revise our policy to only take groups to trails previously scouted out…

      Alternate Routes

      • You can also ascend Granite Peak from the stateline trail or Sunset Peak via trail #137. That trail appears to be in much better condition, even having a trailbed across the talus slope!

      Things to Consider

      • The peak is very close to the Idaho/Montana stateline, which is also the time zone border. Your phone may switch to Mountain Time during the ascent…

      Not so great

        The trail starts out on an old logging road
        There are a number of campsites at the trailhead. It’s obviously popular with car-campers and hunters
        Barton Creek
        Devil’s Club. Grab it firmly by the stem and yank hard…just kidding
        On the way up you’ll see that clearcut patch on the horizon get larger and…
        …larger as you ascend the side of the mountain
        Much of the trail follows this ridge
        The trail looks like this all the way? No, not really…
        Views of Thompson Pass and the Prichard Creek drainage open up relatively soon
        Tiger Peak, Sunset Peak
        The upper portions of Granite Peak are covered with talus
        Looking northwest from Granite Peak into the Prichard Creek drainage
        Granite Peak
        Some vantage point for “Big Jack”, overlooking Revett Lake from Granite Peak
        Panorama shot north side
        Panorama shot south side
        Prichard Creek drainage
        Granite Peak is, well, granite talus
        Revett Lake
        Revett Lake
        Another shot of the saddle leading to the stateline, trail #137
        Prichard Creek drainage
        A saddle along the ridge above Barton Creek
        Sunset Mountain and Tiger Peak
        And there is that clearcut again, in dying light
        The obligatory carcass