Mike Harris Campground--July 23
Fossil Mountain--July 24
A tougher and more vertical trek to commemorate Pioneer Day
Distance: About 6 miles to the top
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
Special considerations: Expect to see tons of fossils on the side of the summit block
The trail begins at the end of the Darby Canyon road and crosses the creek on a footbridge. After about a half mile, the trail enters the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area. From here it gently switchbacks up the South Fork of Darby Canyon.
In midsummer this canyon is filled with wildflowers.
After about 3 miles, the trail crosses to the west side of the canyon and heads for the Wind Cave. There is a faint trail that continues up the canyon toward Fossil Mountain.
The faint trail soon fades away. Don't worry about getting off track. Just set your sights on the pass to the southwest of Fossil Mountain and hike the path of least resistance.
When Fossil Mountain appears in view, its west face is imposing. It's almost straight up, cliffy and loose rock.
Two miles after leaving the main trail, you'll reach the Fossil Mountain pass.
From the pass, there is a faint trail that starts up the ridge to Fossil Mountain. The peak's south end is a steep ramp of broken and loose rock. The hiking up is slow, but not too hard.
Almost at every turn, ancient seabed creatures--clams, coral, seaweed--lie cemented in the broken up rock. There are also geode crystals broken open and on display. What might be an uneventful grunt up the side of a mountain becomes a slog of discovery.
After about a third of a mile, the ramp of scree gives way to the level summit ridge. A few hundred feet north and you're standing next to a cairn with a summit register inside.
Coming down from the mountain can be more taxing than going up. The loose rock occasionally will scoot out from under and bite legs and hands.
Eastern Idaho Sweet Spots: Hiking, Biking, Skiing & Climbing. Jerry Painter and Matt TeNgaio.
A blogger and extreme runner from Victor recently hiked Fossil Mountain. The pictures come from his hike. Read about his climb here.
Tuesday, July 20
- 5:00 PM Hike plan ready
- 4:00 PM Leave hike plan at home with a parent
- 6:00 PM Meet at church for prayer and departure (Bring overnight essentials!)
- 7:30 PM Arrive Mike Harris campground
- 7:30 PM Set up camp and prepare dinner in patrols
- 9:30 PM Scriptures and to bed for early start in the morning
Saturday, July 24
- 06:00 AM Arise and shine forth! No-cook breakfast
- 06:30 AM Strike camp, clean up, head out
- 07:30 AM Arrive at Wind Cave/Fossil Mountain trailhead.
- 12:00 PM Lunch on the summit
- 01:00 PM Begin return hike
- 03:00 PM Detour to Wind Cave for cooling off
- 05:30 PM Back to trailhead
- 07:00 PM Arrive in Rexburg
- 07:05 PM Hit the shower
- 07:15 PM Hit the sack!