Monday, May 15, 2017

Hike To Idaho's Peak 6187 In The Bennett Mountains

Last edited on May 15, 2017

I haven't done much peakbagging in the Mount Bennett Hill / Bennett Mountain area north of Glenns Ferry, Idaho, USA. My goal was to bag Peak 6187 and from my research, I knew it wasn't a prominent peak at all but is would have excellent views down into the Little Canyon Creek area and over a little-visited area of this volcanically dominated mountainous landscape.

Perched on a ledge with a great view of Little Canyon Creek and the snowy Bennett Mountain in the distance

The Ascent - A Cross-Country Hike

The hike starts from the side of Bennett Mountain Road, a well-maintained gravel road and heads steeply up the ridgeline to the east. There is no real trailhead nor any paths to follow. It a "point your nose at the goal and put one foot in front of the other" type of hike. For this and all cross-country hikes, I suggest you chose your route wisely. I didn't.

From my starting point, I scrambled up a section of the mountainside for about seven-tenths of a mile, that was not only steep but also had slick footing. The "shaley" volcanic rock laying on loose dirt and gravel made for an 18-inches up, five-inches slide down for quite a distance. It was exhausting but not unpleasant.

Once I ascended that initial steep section the rest of the hike leveled off significantly. The distant views were as good as I expected. I suspect not many people have walked this section of earth but being cattle country, evidence of cows were easy to spot. I eventually encountered a mandatory fence line in the middle of nowhere and I followed it on the publically owned side.

Peak 6187 is just off the right side of the photo.

Not Peaking Out Regrets

I didn't stand on Peak 6187 on this hike. And again I have regrets for my decision. The initial ascent up the ridgeline was a sweaty event and the wind was blowing rather hard up there. So, while there was full sun and temperatures were likely in the high 50's, it was rather cold. I never removed my sweatshirt on this hike. Ironic, considering I debated at the trailhead if I should bring the sweatshirt on this hike. Obviously, I was glad I did.

I ended up about 725 feet south of the peak before heading down a ridgeline. Had I just put one foot in front of the other I would have likely had a great view of the West Fork of King Hill Creek and Lansing Springs.

Probably the biggest factor in not pushing on up the peak was because it didn't look very prominent or inspiring. Regretful. There was also that fence line that stood between me and the peak. Is Peak 6187 on private or public property? My research says "public" but why trespass when you don't absolutely need to. Bad justification ... I know.

The Descent

My descent back to my vehicle was another steep grind down a valley and intermittent stream course. The sagebrush was much thicker than on the ridgeline so I got to hopscotch and weave all the way down.

Easier to hike on a dry creek bed in Idaho's Mount Bennett Hills
A dry creek bed provided an easier path down from Peak 6187

There was very little, if any, water in the streambed until getting into the lower elevations. At one point I came upon water flowing out of a spring. Not unusual, except the streambed was completely dry on the surface and 10 feet later water was flowing rather swiftly in that same streambed.

Rockhounding & Geology/Geography 

There were some cool volcanic hoodoo rock formations in the valley I descended but other than that, the area was sterile of any cool rocks. This is exactly is what I've come to expect while hounding in a "Rhyolite, quartz latite, and latite ignimbrites and flows; Miocene felsic volcanics; Owyhee Plateau" geologic area. However, because the earth's crust is always moving and you never know what could push up from the depths.

Bondy with pterodactyl shaped hoodoo in background during a hike.
Selfie of Bondy and hoodoo on Bennett Mountain area hike

The Hike Data

Total Distance: 3.79 miles
Hike Configuration: Mostly cross-country loop around a high sagebrush steppe mountain valley
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,265 feet
Slope: Avg = 13.4% / Max. 41.5%
Time On Trail: 3:30 hours
Land Ownership: Mostly public lands (BLM) but a section of private property was also involved.
Trailhead Coordinates: Find a place near 43.169271, -115.316434 and head up the mountainside to the east.
Peak Coordinates: 43.189903, -115.309081
Facilities: None. The closest available food, equipment and/or bathrooms are located in Glenns Ferry, Idaho or 19 road miles to the south.
Link to more photos from the hike:
Road Miles from Boise / Twin Falls: 78 miles / 76 miles

Interactive Hike Map

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This hike was a tad disappointing. A little too steep at the beginning and not challenging enough for the rest of this microadventure. The highlights of the hike were the views and newness of the area. Obviously not peaking out was a disappointment. I'll be back peakbagging this area in the future. I already have a route picked out, so come on back to read about that future hike.

Originally published on May 15, 2017.


Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer & Citizen Journalist

I am currently a proud citizen journalist, aka "enemy of the American People!"

P.S. It is my opinion that Mountain Home, Idaho is a city in decline. While you could find goods and services in that town, I suggest you avoid Mountian Home completely.

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