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solid sub five mile hike
Overview: Pleasant trail in the Idaho Panhandle near the Idaho/Montana border. The area has a rich mining history, and the trail passes several old mines and a miner's cabin.
Hike: The start of the hike can be a little tricky to find. Trail #137 starts just southeast of Tamarack Saddle, off an old mining/logging road. There are pullouts for three vehicles near the beginning of that road, then walking up that same road a short distance will bring you to a brown fiberglass sign marking the start of 137. Once you are on this trail, it immediately starts climbing uphill, gaining 700' in the first mile. The forest is densely vegetated, limiting views but providing plenty of shade. You'll pass a few minor mining prospects on the way uphill.
Once the trail tops out at a saddle at that first mile, it turns left, and you will enter an alpine meadow. From this point, the views are incredible as you head east and lost about 400' of the elevation you just gained. If you are just doing an out and back to Granite Peak, keep in mind that you will have to regain this 400' on your return. As the trail heads downhill through the meadow, you will pass another mine and cross several short talus slopes before reaching another saddle, marked with a survey marker indicating the elevation is 5835'.
After passing the marker, the trail gently ascends again, crossing a slope that looks to have been recently logged. As you curve around that hill, you'll pass through another meadow before the trail reaches a dirt road. Continue up the dirt road for less than 100,' and you will reach an intersection of four roads. The trail begins again ahead of you and slightly to your right (not any of the roads, but an actual trail) and is not signed. This section of trail is narrow in places and does not seem to receive much use but is easy to follow.
As the trail curves around the next hill, it passes a relatively large mine and what I think may be the remnants of a miners cabin. It was somewhat indistinct but seemed to have been leveled off with logs scattered about right next to the mine. After that, the trail turns to a dirt road and connects to another dirt road as you head northeast. Follow this road for just over a mile as it drops, then begins to gain elevation.
After about a mile on the dirt road, the trail veers slightly off to the left and uphill away from the road. There is a brown fiberglass marker, but a fallen tree partially hid it at the time of writing this guide. Follow this trail uphill as it makes its way up the south slopes of 6805, curving around the west side of the hill. The trail is quite steep in a few places.
After coming around the side of 6805, Granite Peak is directly in front of you, easily identified by the bald peak, topped with a giant cairn, which you likely spotted from a distance a couple of miles ago. The cairn is at least 10 feet tall. The final approach to the peak follows the trail through the talus, use caution on the loose rocks. Views from the summit are excellent, and you can see the Cabinet Mountains to the north and Revett Lake directly below you. Enjoy a break on the rocks while soaking in the views.
The return trip is pretty straightforward, but it does gain an additional 650' aeg on the way back out. There was no running water along the trail, so carry all you will need.
Notes: There are very few trail signs along this hike, and old roads intersect the trail in several places. Also, the drive from Wallace can be confusing once you leave the pavement--none of the roads are signed, and there is a spiderweb of roads. Staying on the "main" road can be difficult. The official route posted has two tracks--one for the drive from Wallace and one for the hiking trail--using both will be quite helpful.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.