How to Hike the Tallest Peak in Idaho, Mount Borah

Looking for a challenging hike with breathtaking views? This is for you.

Aptly nicknamed “The Roof of Idaho,” Mount Borah is not one of those peaks that you can drive most of the way and summit with just a couple miles of hiking - this is a tough hike and shouldn’t be taken lightly. With 30-40% grades, Class 3-4 scrambling, and over 5,000 ft. of elevation gain, it’s going to be a challenge. We know you’re up for it and once you do reach the top, the views will be 100% worth it. Here’s how to get it done!

1. Preparation

Need a warm up hike? Idaho has plenty! The more hiking you can do before this long climb, the better. Also be sure to eat well and hydrate leading up to your hike and pack plenty of food and water in your daypack.

2. The Trailhead

A quick google maps search for “Borah Peak Trailhead” will get you there, but if you prefer the old-fashioned turn-by-turn, check out this adventure for detailed driving instructions.

Photo: Chris Bruin

3. Up and Up

This hike doesn’t give you much of a warm up. Right from the get-go, you’re hiking uphill into the woods. It will give a little and flatten out when you make it to the ridge line, at which point you will have a decision to make...

4. Don’t Chicken Out! (But it's actually ok if you do.)

This part of the hike is called “Chicken Out Ridge.” This is where the trail turns into scrambling and where some folks decide to call it a day. The cliffs and exposure can be intimidating and there is nothing wrong with knowing your limits and bailing here. However, with patience and care, the scramble is nothing to worry about. Most hikers will do just fine on this section.

Photo: Chris Bruin

5. Summit!

The final push is steep! But it’s on a trail and only a half mile so before you know it, you’ll be at the summit. Get off of your feet, eat your lunch, and take in the gorgeous landscape in all directions. On a clear day, the views are out of this world!

6. Weather and Safety

Whenever you're planning to make a summit, it's always important to think about weather. If you're at the peak when a thunderstorm rolls in, you've got nowhere to hide and that can be really dangerous. Always check weather forecasts to avoid thunderstorms. Typically, beginning your hike early in the morning is the safest way to avoid afternoon thunderstorms that are typical in the summer months when summiting is most common. 

Head to Visit Idaho for more awesome adventures.

Cover photo: Chris Bruin

Published: July 10, 2017

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Visit Idaho


Idaho is home to thousands of miles of biking and hiking trails, rugged mountains, pristine lakes, 18 ski areas, and more recreational whitewater than any state in the lower 48. Find spectacular scenery and endless re...