Scotchman Peak Trail

HARD 77 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Scotchman Peak Trail is a 5.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Clark Fork, Idaho that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3812 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
1 day ago

The trailhead that google maps takes you to is nowhere near the actual trailhead, so we were lost for about an hour trying to find the trailhead. So, a heads up for any future hikers you will turn left and be following #65, which isn't marked very often, we only saw the marker twice, then you will be in a more open/clear area after a bit that has previously been logged and the dirt road will come to a fork, GO LEFT at the fork, do not go straight like Google maps tells you to. And if you follow that, you will run right into the trailhead.
This inaccuracy of Google maps, set us back an hour, but we were making pretty good time on our hike. The hike is definitely tough, but so worth it for the views at the top. We passed a lot of people telling us we had such a long way to go and it was a bit late in the for day for us to be hiking up there (it was only 2:00pm and we were halfway up). The AllTrails map is completely off on the distance, I have a Garmin GPS fitness watch and it said we had hiked 4 miles when we got to the top where you reach the clearing and can see everything, but the AllTrails map only said we were barely 2 miles up....SO NOT CORRECT! We kept getting nervous with everyone telling us we were hiking pretty late and we had a ways to go, that we decided to turn around once we reached our 4 mile mark. I am sure we only had another half mile to a mile left to go, but we were not familiar with the area and the bears and goats, we didn't want to end up stranded in the dark, even though we did come prepared. We will definitely try the hike it again, now that we know exactly where the trailhead is and we will be able to leave earlier in the day.

hiking
4 days ago

Definitely a very difficult trail but the views from the top make it worth it. It is definitely not a 6 mile hike but an 8 mile hike. On the way in there are no downhill so if you cannot handle incline this trail will not be for you. I took my dog in the poor guy was totally pooped in my van so if you go make sure you bring enough water for you and for your puppy. I do even throw in an extra bottle just to be on the safe side. Saw six Mountain goats on the summit could pretty much walk within 5 feet of them as they were right next to the trail and didn't care about humans. All in all a super awesome hike glad I got to scratch it off the to do list.

7 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

Go early and bring lots of water. We hit the trail at 7:30 and were back to the car by noon. If not for the wildfire smoke, the views would have been amazing. The real treat is the goats, however. Don't be intimidated by the elevation gain - it's well worth the effort!

This is by far my favorite trail in Idaho's four northern counties, however as many commenters have said, it is a strenuous trail for all but the pro level of mountain runner. I have made the mistake of not bringing enough water, as the trail starts in more humid forest cover , which can make you sweat, but pops above the tree line roughly 2/3 of the way up, and the sun exposure plus (moderate altitude) can catch you unprepared. The views are unparalleled for this region, as we have few truly alpine mountains in North Idaho. It made me miss the hikes in the Sierras I had as a kid. Winter and late Spring usually will entail a good deal of snow cover, and Avalanche/icefall danger is present. It can be hard to see the drop offs properly when snow is prevalent, so don't risk it. In summer, typical scree/rockfall dangers are present near the summit, however this inst a technical peak to hike, it just requires good planning and fitness. You will be amply rewarded upon completing this hike. No lakes or streams nearby, so as I mentioned, bring more water than you think you need. I would recommend boots even if you are used to hiking in lower cut shoes. The ankle support will likely be appreciated.

This is by far my favorite trail in Idaho's four northern counties, however as many commenters have said, it is a strenuous trail for all but the pro level of mountain runner. I have made the mistake of not bringing enough water, as the trail starts in more humid forest cover , which can make you sweat, but pops above the tree line roughly 2/3 of the way up, and the sun exposure plus (moderate altitude) can catch you unprepared. The views are unparalleled for this region, as we have few truly alpine mountains in North Idaho. It made me miss the hikes in the Sierras I had as a kid. Winter and late Spring usually will entail a good deal of snow cover, and Avalanche/icefall danger is present. It can be hard to see the drop offs properly when snow is prevalent, so don't risk it. In summer, typical scree/rockfall dangers are present near the summit, however this inst a technical peak to hike, it just requires good planning and fitness. You will be amply rewarded upon completing this hike. No lakes or streams nearby, so as I mentioned, bring more water than you think you need. I would recommend boots even if you are used to hiking in lower cut shoes. The ankle support will likely be appreciated.

26 days ago

Great trail, but definitely pay attention to what other commenters have said. It's definitely longer than what it says in the description, it's a tough climb all the way up, and there are no water sources. We made the mistake of starting around 1pm, on a 90 degree day...this would not be recommended, especially since much of the trail is in the sun (bring sunscreen and bug spray for pesky flies and mosquitoes). the goats are adorable, but you do need to finish the hike to see them, or at least that was our experience(it doesn't end at the sign about the goats). we didn't have any issues with the goats trying to lick us or take our things as some other hikers had mentioned while we were on the way up, but one mama and baby did stalk us for at least half a mile down, seemingly irritated that we were there (or maybe she just wanted to lick us and we kept moving away from her, haha). the other 4 or 5 goats we saw really had no interest in us other than noticing we were there. The pictures are beautiful, but seeing the views for yourself, as well as the goats, really makes the tough workout worth the effort.

hiking
29 days ago

Finally checked this one off my hiking bucket list on 7/20/17. I do not know the standards for rating the difficulty of hikes, but if you go by the general population (and not just the uber-fit) this would have to be rated as Difficult, if not Strenuous. Also, none of the maps I could find, including the one posted online by The Friends of Scotchman Peak, seem to reflect the new series of switchbacks which start at the very onset of the hike and, I believe, add nearly an extra mile from the old trail. I, for one, appreciated the switchbacks greatly. There were still plenty of huckleberries through one section of the trail. While the lower bear grass blooms were gone in the lower elevations, we were rewarded with a sweeping panorama of them higher up.

If this is your first time up, as it was mine, new aware of the "false peak". Just when you find yourself saying "we made it!" look up at the true peak awaiting you. By all means, push forward, you will be rewarded greatly. The mountain goats are amazing, but we were aggressively pursued by one at the peak that we had to continually sho off. Please don't be "that person" and feed or let them lick you. You are not doing anyone any favors if you do.

Last point, and one that is made in nearly every post or trail description I've read: TAKE PLENTY OF WATER. I thought 2.5 liters for me and 1 liter for my dog would be enough. I was wrong.

By all means, do this hike! Just be prepared for a good workout!

hiking
29 days ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiked this 7/16/17. no snow on the trail. it took us 3 hours up and 1 hour to jog back down. I highly recommend trekking poles on this one--it's a strenuous climb and being able to use arms/core instead of solely relying on my legs was really nice. I would rate this as difficult, not moderate. I think you gain 4,000 ft in 3-4 miles. saw a mama goat and her kid near the peak. always keep 100 ft between you and the goats! also it's a good idea to make noise on the trail--plenty of berries, beargrass and thick brush surrounding most of the trail. and the trail is in grizzly country. please use good trail etiquette--uphill has the right of way. let those making the climb continue their momentum. to get to the trailhead simply follow the signs for #56. Beautiful views at the peak! it's well worth the effort!

1 month ago

please don't feed the animals, they close this trail in 2015 because of this.

1 month ago

My fitbit logged 9.6 mi RT. I was on the trail 7 hrs enjoying awesome scenery. Could see WA, MT, and Canada. No goats seen today but the summit was overrun with flies. Had to retreat down a little to eat. Bring extra water. I was drinking a lot even downhill as much of the trail is exposed.

1 month ago

Very easy to find, the trail is kept up and obviously worked on quite a bit. Loved the view from the very top! Must do

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Go early - its easily an hour and a half drive from CdA. My GPS ran out of road before I hit the trailhead. Just follow the #65 markers and keep going. The FS road is rutted, washboard and there is a dry creek just before the "parking lot" that's decently rocky. No less than a light SUV with adequate clearance to traverse.

Tall brush and narrow trail in the lower elevations, opens up the higher you go. Gets a little technical past the tree/scree line. Keep going until you run out of trail. Top marked with a makeshift rock shelter. If you don't see a goat, just wait 5 minutes. They seem to pop out of nowhere.

I hiked this solo - not advised. Beautiful day but probably 8 people all told on the trail. Other hikers reported black bear in lower altitudes, but I can't confirm. Fitbit clocked total distance at 7.75mi. No creeks or lakes so bring plenty of water. There are portable toilets at the trailhead.

Beautiful views. A must do.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail # is #65. Follow the signs / posts for #65. This hike is strenuous. Period. The trail ambassador from the USFS told us the USGS puts it at 3.5 miles up and 3.5 miles down. Plan 3 hrs up and 2 hrs down. Elevation gain of 3700 ft. The switchbacks the first mile are hardest, but in the shade in the morning, then it gets easier, but fewer trees. Go early in the day in the summer.

The mountain goats are near the peak. You will get to a field of rock and a 360 view, but the peak is further and marked with a rock shelter. Mountain goats will be around the peak.

Huckleberries everywhere. Best views of the region I have seen. Bring your own water.

hiking
1 month ago

Best hike in these parts. Period. Mountain Goats. Not for the faint of heart.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! Definitely a good workout. Make sure to take lots of water and a PB&J for the top. When we got to the top, we sat for a bit and just admired the beauty. Saw a mama and baby mountain goat, which made the whole hike worthwhile.

1 month ago

Strenuous hike, well worth the reward of fantastic views and lively goats at summit! Garmin tracked 8.5 miles round trip with almost 4000 vertical!