Mount Borah Trail

HARD 46 reviews
#2 of 15 trails in

Mount Borah Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mackay, Idaho that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.3 miles
5,242 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips

rock climbing

trail running




wild flowers




Stand on the roof of Idaho! This is the highest peak in the Lost River Range of Idaho as well as the State's highpoint. The standard route to the top of this 12,662 ft peak is the Southwest Ridge from the Birch Springs Trailhead. This ascent of of over 5,250 feet in less than 4 miles is steep but can easily be done in a day. If it is early season you may want to bring an axe crampons and your mountaineering skills.

4 hours ago

4h up, 3h down. Well kept trail up to chicken out ridge. Not a tough scramble, only 1 section where a fall would be disastrous but totally doable keeping 3 points of contact and taking your time. the snow bridge was almost gone with only a small area requiring you to walk on snow. Following the flattish section the trail becomes hard to follow with very few cairns. This is the most dangerous section as footing is very loose with danger of rock fall. Stick to the ridge crest on your right for a much safer and fun route. This will require some easy bouldering. Enjoy the summit, there is still an American flag there to hoist.

16 days ago

Left before five am, went straight up , (should of went slower). The view s are great. And spectacular from the summit! I rested there for 45 minutes then came down. It’s too easy to get lost coming down. While going up the summit is always in site, down is convoluted and can be threatening. Knees hurt some coming down but I was in my truck by three pm

22 days ago

7/14/2018 Amazing hike! It took us, a group of 9, 11hrs and 23 minutes with plenty of breaks along the way. The total length was around 9.7 miles. Tons of mosquitoes so bring plenty of bug spray. The snow bridge was a little sketchy but totally doable. Bring trekking poles and knee braces if you like your knees.

1 month ago

7/11/2018 Tough hike. About seven miles RT and the guide book said to plan for 12 hours. What?!? I was convinced I’d do it in eight with a stretch goal of six. Humbled, it took me ten. I did lose the trail on the final push so I did some extra scrambling but “wherever you go, there you are”.

Most important thing to note in my mind is that if you climb very early in the morning, the snow bridge may be an ice bridge. There was no kicking holes in the snow and the existing boot holes were iced over and not very deep. It’s only about 25-30 steps but one slip will take you far away. Bring spikes or an ice axe. Later in the day it softens up. It was MUCH softer and easier by noontime.

I had the benefit of perfect weather and the views were amazing! I was the only person on the mountain. Two people well behind me turned around at Chicken Out Ridge (which wasn’t that bad)

Great hike. Do it!

3 months ago

This was our first ever mountain climb. Summited on Aug 21 2017 the morning of the total solar eclipse. There are no words to describe how surreal the experience was. We also got engaged on top of the summit before totality. All around amazing experience. A lot harder than planned but mostly due to the altitude, give yourself time to adjust.

rock climbing
11 months ago

BRUTAL. 'Nuff said.

11 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in the area. Not only is it a rigorous uphill battle with some nice exposed class 3 scrambling, at the end you find yourself at the highest point in the state!

I'd recommend going in August, and starting at the trailhead early in the morning before daybreak. If you can make it to the tree line in time, you'll see the shadow of Borah creeping across the valley below. Also, an early start will get you to the top before the heat of the day arrives in full force, and give you time to get off the top before any afternoon thunderstorms arrive.

Chicken Out Ridge isn't as bad as it sounds. As you ascend the ridge, travel up through the obvious notch, after which you can traverse around the right side until you reach the transition between the brown rock and the grey rock. At that point, stick to the top of the ridge (avoid the temptation to try and traverse around the ridge on the right side). The downclimb to the snow crossing is simple, as the holds are obvious and bomb proof. There will be a well beaten path across the snow by August. Earlier in the season an ice axe and maybe crampons would be advisable.

The last push to the summit involves some mild scrambling, and there's a lot of loose material - so watch for rocks dislodged by anyone ahead of you.

11 months ago

Forewarning, this is a hard hike, but in my opinion a very fun hike. I loved the chicken out point. My personal opinion is chicken out point isn't scary but some people might find it to be scary. I loved the challenge and definitely the elevation change. When you get closer to the top you'll notice the altitude change and the hike will become much harder. The temperature will change quite a bit as well going from bottom to top. So bring extra clothes just in case. We started this hike at 6am and I would definitely recommend starting sooner then later. Just because this might just be the longest 7 miles ever. It takes a good amount of time to complete the hike but well worth it!

11 months ago

Kicked my butt, but loved every minute of it!! So worth it!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My father and I did this hike last year in early-mud August. It's an incredible hike and incredibly rewarding. The trail kicks your butt right from the get go, so definitely stretch out before embarking on a summit attempt. This site has the round trip mileage listed at 7.5, but that's only one way. It is 7.5 miles to the summit and 7.5 grueling miles back to your car. Start early, bring lots of water and snacks. we stayed the night at the trail head and then started climbing in the dark around 6 am and returned to our car at roughly 4pm. It's a trek to get to the top. I would not recommend it to people who have not climbed/hiked in this area or similar terrain before.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Hard hike for sure, but worth it! Leave early to beat the heat and potential storms that can come in the afternoons.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Start early

Saturday, July 23, 2016

We camped about half way up on the saddle and it was great. Kinda had a natural block from the wind so no issues there. The climb was pretty rough and the stretch right before Chicken Out Ridge got me. I think if I was tied in I wouldn't have minded as much but the climb with pretty sheer drops had me pretty nervous. If you don't like heights you probably don't climb peaks and I'd stick with that motto here but if danger is your thing this is a nice peak.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Super fun! Start early so your hike is in the cooler temperatures of the morning. Also, have good boots/shoes because the downhill was the worst part for me!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Awesome hike truly. Unfortunately I hiked it this year when there was tons of smoke so the views at the top were somewhat limited, but still amazing. Definitely the most strenuous hike I did this summer. There is a lot of climbing involved. I saw no mention of it anywhere, but right before chicken out ridge you climb up this narrow crevice and then there is a rather intimidating point where you have to get past an almost sheer wall to get on this pathway above. There is one foothold that is pretty far out, and below you is a long fall with a lot of sharp rocks. I found this to be the sketchiest part of the hike.

Chicken out ridge had me worried but truly isn't that bad. Everyone says staying on top is the best course of action, but there is essentially a trail that goes along the left side that isn't hard to traverse at all. The only downside to this route is it required us to climb up most of chicken out ridge, but at the very end of this trail when you come to the area with the snowfall, there's a clear and easy climbing path to get back on top of the ridge. It is strenuous but I never felt in danger at that point.

Additionally after chicken out ridge there is a huge last stretch to climb me and my buddies called "Heartbreak hill." It is an incredibly steep portion that gains 1000 feet of elevation extremely quickly, and is a complete scramble. There is no trail and you are going almost straight up on the loose rock. This part is extremely physically taxing.

But the feeling of accomplishment at reaching the summit and the flag up there provides a truly great experience. And the golf club on top allows for some fun if you bring some golf balls.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Arrived at the trailhead at 6:00 am and got done just after noon. This is a hard hike, which is exactly what I was looking for. The elevation gains sap your energy and seem to never end. Chicken Out Ridge is extremely intimidating, until you just face it and get it over with. Once you're actually on the ridge it's not as bad as it looked. Saw one guy on our way out who was just standing at the bottom of chicken out ridge, unable to go on. The views were spectacular, not just at the top, but along the way as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Strenuous hike until you hit chicken out ridge. Then the rock climbing starts for the remainder of the ascent. Stay on the top of the ridge as best you can. The last 1000ft scramble after the saddle will test you if your conditioning is not up to snuff. The view at the top is amazing. Search for Borah Peak, Idaho 2014 on YouTube I have about 7 videos that I filmed with my go pro camera on this climb. When you climb don't forget gloves!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

When is it to late to hike Mt. Borah? Thinking of hiking it this weekend or next?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Great hike. all ages can do it. had 8 year Olds in our group and they made it just fine. definitely better mountains close by that are a way better hike/climb in my opinion though

Sunday, March 24, 2013

one of the hardest hikes i have done but once you get to top the view is unbelievable. getting past chicken out ridge is a little tricky :)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

This is a gorgeous hike! Going over chicken out ridge it was not bad climbing up, although it's kinda hard to tell which was you are supposed to go. There's not a defined trail so you are pretty much just Rock climbing and scaling the mountain side. Be prepared to rock climb and DO NOT go if you are afraid of heights! Also be careful when crossing the snow, it's slippery and kinda scary! The worst part on the way up is after chicken out ridge on the last part up borah! It is very steep and my legs were burning! The view at the tops amazing! The way down was long and very strenuous! It's hard to go down the rocks and going down chicken out ridge was SCARY! If you slip and fall you are going to fall thousands of feet be careful! Also my toes were killing so you would be better off wearing boots than tennis shoes! Don't forget to being LOTS of water, I drank almost 4 liters! Good luck! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This is a very difficult hike, but well worth it when you get to the top and take in the awesome views. Make sure you are in good shape because the climb is strenuous to say the least. Quite a few people quit at chicken out ridge, but it wasn't too bad and we never felt like we were in danger of falling off, and after you make it past the knife-ridge it is pretty smooth sailing until the final quarter to half mile to the top, which is a difficult ascent up some loose shale type rock. We started at about 8:30 am and finished the hike about 3:30 pm. Make sure you check the weather because it can often storm in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strenuous but completely worth it. Stay on the ridge at Chicken Out, don't get caught too far down on either side, that's how you get stuck in exposed areas.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Let's put it this way, most people start their hikes at 4 a.m.; I started at 10:30 a.m. Also with me was my son and dog, Andy. At 1.1 miles the pooch and son were blazing up the mountain while I continued to pace myself...slow. As I was continuing the climb up others were hiking down. What was so wonderful is the downward hikers asked if I was Karen. I always responded with yes. Then they would proceed to tell me the young man, my son, and "the pooch" were doing fine. What a relief for me. It was like getting trail "trailers" from people. Right before getting to Chicken a huge hail storm with thunder got me during a place like tundra with no rock or tree protection. I choose to turn around since the weather continued to look threatening. Many people spoke of a 73 year old taking his grandsons up the trail. They also spoke of this was his 23 hike up Mt. Borah. I was hoping so much to meet this legend. Well, it turned out I waited at the point my son, pooch and I had departed. Carl, the legend, choose this same spot to take off his outer layer. We got to chat and had a lovely time...and then total relief...Andy and my son arrived! Those two completed their Mt. Borah hike in six hours! I loved the journey! I would like to know if anyone else has ever taken a pooch up the Mt. Borah trail.

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