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Warren - South Fork Salmon River - Pilot Peak Lookout, Idaho

ATV ride from Warren, Idaho to the Pilot Peak Lookout. Much of the ride is along the scenic S.F.of the Salmon River.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 65 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This ATV/OHV/High Clearance Vehicle trip starts in Warren, Idaho. Warren is 52 miles from McCall, Idaho and the last 16 miles are on a... more »

Tips:  Depending on the seasons' snowfall, the trails are usually clear by July and open through September, sometimes a little longer. It... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Warren, Idaho

Warren is frequently listed as a Ghost Town, but has a year around population of 12 to 16. The summer population swells to around 50. During the gold rush in the 1860's, its population was over 5000.

In winter, access is limited to snow machines from McCall, Idaho, about 52 miles away.

It has a restaurant, the Baum Shelter, that is usually open ... More

2. Warren Summit

Several Forest Roads (FR) intersect here.

FR #340 to South Fork and Big Creek is the one to take. It is a single lane road with occasional pull outs for passing.

3. Shiefer Campground, Elevation: 3050'

This is a mostly undeveloped campground. There are a few old tables, a restroom, and several metal fire rings.The metal fire rings are important as camp fires may be allowed in them when the forest is under fire restrictions.

Trail #235 starts here and follows the South Fork of the Salmon River downriver on the east side of the river. This trail... More

4. Former Site South Fork Guard Station, Apple Orchard, Grave Site, and Trail #123

The only things remaining at this location from the old South Fork Guard Station are the concrete root cellar, apple trees, and the Guard Station road sign.

The root cellar was constructed in the 1930's by the CCC and could be used as a bomb shelter.

Trail #123 continues from here (no trail sign) and starts south of the root cellar and goes... More

5. Elk Creek Ranch, Idaho

This is the base camp for the local outfitter. He pastures his pack stock here and packs in and out of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness.

This ranch is private property.

6. Elk Creek Cemetery

This is a historical site and there is a sign board with the history of the cemetery.

There is a geocache near here.

7. Forest Road #340 Junction with FR #062

FR #062 is a rough two track road starting just a short distance from POI #6.

8. South Fork of the Salmon River

The photos and most of the video in this POI were taken from FR #062 or the many scenic overlooks near it. FR #062 turns into a foot/horse trail about a mile from FR #340.

A very scenic and must visit area.

9. Elk Creek

Elk Creek is typical of the mountain streams in this area. It starts near Elk Mountain and empties into the South Fork of the Salmon River at the Elk Creek Ranch (POI #5).

FR #340 follows it until near the intersection of FR #341 and bridges it several times. It is a long scenic POI.

10. Flora Hackett Grave Site

The Yellow Jacket Ranch (Private Property) entrance is on the north side of the road just a short distance from this grave site.

11. West Fork of Elk Creek, Trail #120

This is the Trailhead for Trail #120. The trail splits about a mile from here and one branch follows the South Fork of Elk Creek. The trail is for foot/horse only.

I met a hunter here and he said the trail was in good shape. There were fresh horse tracks in the trail.

12. Middle Fork of Elk Creek

Trail #121 is supposed to originate here. There is a lot of forest fire damage and I could not locate the trail.

13. Junction FR #340 & FR #341 (Pilot Peak Road)

FR #341 intersects FR #340 here. FR #341 goes to the Pilot Peak Lookout and FR #340 continues to Elk Summit and then to the Big Creek Guard Station.

There are several pull outs with scenic views of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness and of the South Fork Salmon River Mountains along this road.

14. Rattlesnake Peak Trailhead, Trail #123

This trail goes north and for about four miles forms the boundary of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness. It then heads downhill to the S.F. of the Salmon River.

It is maintained by the area outfitter and is in good shape. It is for foot/horse only.

15. Lookout Spring & Trail #123 Trailhead to Shiefer Campground

Trail #123 to Sheifer Campground goes across the boggy area here. It is open to foot/horse. There is no trail sign or marker.

The spring water from the pipe here is used by the fire lookout and is potable, according to a hunter I met here. He said he has been drinking it for about five years with no ill effects.

16. Hettinger Ranch Trailhead

This trail goes north several miles until it intersects Grouse Creek. It then turns west and follows Grouse Creek to the S.F. of the Salmon River.

I met a hunter back-packing an elk here. He said the trail was in pretty good shape until Grouse Creek where there was a lot of deadfall. He also advised me that the local outfitter told him the bottom... More

17. Pilot Peak Lookout, Elevation: 8057'

This fire lookout was established in 1919 and is staffed every summer. The current lookout structure was constructed in 1954.

As with most fire lookouts, there are excellent views in every direction. The views here are of the South Fork of the Salmon River Mountains and the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness.

There is a geocache here.