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9 Best Mountains to Climb in Idaho

Idaho has nine peaks over 12,000' and many more that are well worth learning about. The best mountains to climb in Idaho are spread out across the state and are all unique in their beauty.

While Idaho might not be the first place you think of when you think of mountains, it does have some very tall peaks, reaching heights of nearly 13,000'. If you're an avid mountain climber, skilled hiker, or alpine enthusiast, these climbs might be for you.

Best Mountains to Climb in Idaho

Remember, though; you should never attempt a climb that you're not 100% prepared for! These are not normal hikes. Many have off-trail portions that can be dangerous.

The majority of Idaho's mountains are in the Rocky Mountain area of the state. That means the eastern side of the country from the panhandle all the way down to the border of Wyoming and Utah.

The Best Mountains to Climb in Idaho

Here is a breakdown of Traverse the Pacific Northwest's list of the best mountains to climb in Idaho:

  1. Mount Borah

  2. Diamond Peak

  3. Leatherman Peak

  4. Hyndman Peak

  5. Scotchman Peak

  6. Mount Church

  7. Mount Breitenbach

  8. Mount Idaho

  9. Donaldson Peak

Keep reading to find out all the details on these amazing mountains!

Idaho Mountains Map

Use the map below to explore the best mountains to climb in Idaho.

Borah Peak

Location: Lost River Range

Height: 12,662'

Borah Peak
The majestic Borah Peak

Borah Peak is the tallest mountain in Idaho, reaching nearly 13,000' in height. It's followed by the also very impressive Leatherman Peak and Diamond Peak.

It is part of the Lost River Range and stands out at nearly 600' in prominence compared to the surrounding mountains. Most people take the Chickenout Ridge route to the summit, which includes 3rd class, sometimes dangerous scrambling in the summer, and true alpine snow climbing in the winter.

Diamond Peak

Location: Lemhi Range, Eastern Idaho

Height: 12,202'

Diamond Peak
Diamond Peak

Diamond Peak is the 4th tallest mountain in Idaho and is one of the more commonly climbed mountains on this list. It's part of the Lemhi Range in Eastern Idaho (furthest from the heart of the Pacific Northwest mountains).

The climb takes hikers through 3rd and 4th class terrain on a variety of rock. The mountain is also known for its large antelope herds, which can be seen in the valleys to the east and the west of the mountain.

Leatherman Peak

Location: Lost River Mountain Range, Salmon-Challis National Forest

Height: 12,228'

Leatherman Peak
Leatherman Peak

Leatherman Peak is the 2nd tallest mountain in Idaho and is very recognizable. Its first ascent is thought to have been in 1914. The mountain is one of the busiest in the state as hikers try to complete the well-known Idaho 12'ers (mountains over 12,000' in height, of which there are nine).

Hyndman Peak

Location: Pioneer Mountain Range

Height: 12,009'

Hyndman Peak
Hyndman Peak

Hyndman Peak is another very tall mountain in Idaho, reaching just over 12,000'. It's shaped like a pyramid and can be climbed via a 6-mile hike and 2nd class scrambling. It's climbed by people every weekend over the summer, making it very popular among those trying to finish the Idaho 12'ers.

Hyndman Peak is the 9th tallest mountain in Idaho and the shortest among the 12'ers.

Scotchman Peak

Location: Clark Fork River Valley, Northern Idaho

Height: 7,009'

View from Scotchman Peak
View from Scotchman Peak

Scotchman Peak is a very popular hike in northern Idaho. It offers incredible views of the very large Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet Mountains. Nearby, you'll also see the Selkirk Mountains.

The trail is quite difficult, requiring a total of around 7 miles of hiking (out and back), but it's still very popular in the region.

Mount Church

Location: Lost River Mountain Range

Height: 12,200'

Mount Church is well-known as the 3rd tallest mountain in Idaho. It is part of the Lost River Mountain Range, along with Borah Peak. It is a popular summit, mostly climbed by those hoping to complete the Idaho 12'ers. The most commonly used route is along the East Ridge. It's rated at 3rd class, and there have been injuries and even a fatality on the summit hike.

Mount Breitenbach

Location: Lost River Mountain Range

Height: 12,140'

Mount Breitenbach is the 5th tallest mountain in Idaho. It's also a part of the Lost River Mountain Range and is well-known for its striking north face. The mountain is most commonly climbed via Pete Creek and the South Ridge. The route is also around 3rd class and is most fun when there is some snow to cut down on the talus section.

Mount Idaho

Location: Lost River Mountain Range, Challis National Forest

Height: 12,065'

Mount Idaho is one of the shorter 12'ers in the state, reaching 12,065'. It's in Challis National Forest and is the 7th highest peak in the state. It's usually climbed via the West Ridge and Southwest Face, which offers 3rd class terrain. The climb starts off at US-93.

Donaldson Peak

Location: Lost River Mountain Range, Challis National Forest

Height: 12,023'

The 8th highest mountain in the state, Donaldson Peak, is known for its long, steep climb and less than stellar rock quality. You should be confident climbing on scree and loose rock if you want to complete this summit.


Are there any 14ers in Idaho?

No, there are no 14ers in Idaho. The tallest mountain in Idaho is just over 12,600 feet-- Borah Peak. Idaho climbers often strive to complete all 9 12,000' mountains.

What part of Idaho has the most mountains?

The Salmon Region of Idaho has the most mountains. It includes Borah Peak as well as the Lemhi and Custer Rangers.

How hard is Chicken Out Ridge?

Chickenout Ridge, or Chicken Out Ridge, is the Borah Peak summit trail. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy, and falls could be fatal.

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