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guess the high point
Overview: South Chilco Peak is the highest point of Chilco Mountain, which is a long north-south running mountain in the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. South Chilco is covered in trees, with limited views, but is a pleasant trail and hike.
Hike: The trail starts at the southwest corner of the junction of FS-332 (Bunco Rd) & FS-385. There is no sign, but a fiberglass marker at the corner. Elevation gain begins immediately, as you head up a ridge between the two roads. The trail follows an old roadbed for the first quarter-mile but then begins to switchback uphill, steadily gaining elevation. As you head southwest, you can catch a few glimpses of Lake Pend Oreille to the north once you get high enough.
The trail is in good condition, mostly dirt and pine needles, rarely rocky. The shade is plentiful, as you are surrounded by trees. After about 1.70 miles, you will pass a campsite on your right. Check out the views to the west from the edge of the campsite. Once back on the trail, just past the campsite, the trail forks. Taking the left fork leads to North Chilco (which you can take and then rejoin the main trail on the south side of North Chilco, there is a trail the entire way) and the right fork is the main trail to South Chilco.
After taking the right fork, the trail heads downhill, then contours around the west side of North Chilco, before dropping down to Chilco Saddle. At Chilco Saddle, continue south, regaining all of the elevation you just lost and then some. Note--bikes are not allowed south of Chilco Saddle. The trail switchbacks up to South Chilco before mostly leveling off across the top of the mountain. The summit is non-descript and all views are obscured by trees. It's mostly a guess of where the true high point is, but the area is pretty, with a few places to sit in a small meadow just before the highest point. It helps to use a map or gps so you don't go too far south beyond the summit and back downhill unnecessarily.
Once done, head back north and down to Chilco Saddle and retrace your steps back to the trailhead. Having three distinct uphill sections of this hike does get a little tiring by the time you are heading back from the saddle, but once you pass the campsite, rest assured, the remainder of the hike is all downhill.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.