Williams Peak and Rainbow Ridge


We dodge hunters and weather to see one of the natural wonders on the Payette Forest: Rainbow Arch

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

It's hunting season. I knew an open hillside with lots of visibility and a steep ascent. I knew it because Art and I came down it at the end of a 5-day ski trip about 15 years ago. But at the time, I had not tagged the top of Williams Peak because Art was suffering from a bad case of the flu and it didn't seem like the time was right, even though we were only a couple hundred yards away.

So ~ I was back. After an 8am departure and 90 minute drive, we left the East Fork of the Salmon (the road to Yellowpine) at about 9:40.

Trail start

It's a pretty good trail, but the hillside is steep. That combination meant that we were gaining elevation fast. Click for a better view of the East Fork road at the bottom of the canyon.

East Fork road
We knocked off almost 2000' in our first hour. There's the lookout! Snow and rock

Despite the prediction of 60% POP, it was sort of sunny at the lookout.

It's a real grind getting up to the lookout, but your hard work earns you some incredible views and a good chance of Idaho solitude.

Scrambling with a view

From the lookout, we followed the Rainbow Ridge trail off to the east. And yes, the ridge is higher than the lookout. Oh good- more up.

Surprisingly, we did run into a group of three hunters. Even more surprisingly, Jeff knew them. Small world.

Rainbow Ridge
We enjoyed talking to the guys. Then, knowing we were still not yet half way through our day, we got back to business. After the first couple of humps of the roller coaster, you start seeing lots of rock Ridgetop

The most spectacular of the many towers and features was our goal for the day, Rainbow Arch. According to The Natural Bridge and Arch Society, it's 47 feet wide and 60 feet tall.

And no, we did not walk across it.

Rainbow Arch
Then it was time to reverse our tracks. More roller coaster. We stopped and took pictures of the trail signs at the top of Deadman Creek. Signs

And then it was the long torture back down to the river.

Both on the hike and the drive home, it seemed like the colors had sharpened since this morning. Get 'em while they're out.

This was a very scenic trip. And although the drive over Lick Creek Summit is long, it is also a Top 10 for Idaho scenery. And the sections along the river(s) aren't bad, either.


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