Borah Peak - Hike near Mackay, Idaho
Mackay, ID 83251, USA,Mackay,Idaho
44.13253406236965, -113.83446335792542
18.7 miles NW of Mackay, Idaho
Address: Mackay, ID 83251, USA
GPS: 44°7'57.1"N 113°50'4.1"W
Maps | Directions
State: Idaho
Trails/Routes: 7.9 mi


This is the highest peak in all of Idaho, standing 12,662 ft along the Lost River Range. There are several routes that can be taken in order to reach the summit with different levels of difficulty depending on the season. Mount Borah has been summited every month of the year, though the best season to climb is late summer or early fall.

The most common route used in climbing Mount Borah is Southwest "Chicken-out" Ridge. This is a Class 3-4 route, and if going in the summer/fall does not require any advanced or additional equipment. The trail starts through a pine forest and sage brush area. After the forested area, climbers will then go through some switchbacks as they make their way towards "Chicken-out" Ridge. The crux of the trail begins around 11,200 ft in elevation and at this point climbers must scramble, or use their hands on the steep trail, through the crux. There is a lot of exposure along the "Chicken-out" Ridge and for inexperienced climbers, this is the point where many turn back. For more experienced climbers, this part might not seem too bad and leave them wondering if they really have climbed through the worst section. While scrambling up the ridge, the last portion will have climbers scramble down. Exercise caution through this area because a snow knife-edge is present most of the year. Past this ridge the slope becomes a variety of different rocks, from scree and talus to bare slabs and ledges. At the top of Mount Borah is a registry, so feel free to sign it after reaching the top!

Other routes to the summit require either a lot of experience, or additional equipment, or in most cases both. Mount Borah is a great mountain to climb because there is something for every climber. Other routes include North Face Direct, North Face (traverse), Psycho Therapy, Borah Borah Borah, Northeast Ridge, Hidden Couloir, East Face Dye/Boyer, Dirty Traverse, East Face Direct, East Face-Northeast Ridge Variation, South Couloir, and Northwest Ridge. 

2.7K Edited by cteicheira

Be courteous, informed, and prepared. Read trailhead guidelines, stay on the trail, and don't feed the wildlife.

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  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors


From Mackay, Idaho

  1. Head southeast toward Main St (118 ft)
  2. Turn left onto Main St (128 ft)
  3. Turn left at the 1st cross street onto US-93 N/Custer St
    Continue to follow US-93 N
    (20.3 mi)
  4. Turn right onto Birch Springs Rd (2.9 mi)
  5. Turn right to stay on Birch Springs Rd (0.4 mi)
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Guest Review/Comments



4/11/17 2:13 pm 8/30/13
This hike is a beast not for the faint of heart. Chicken out ridge isn't super technical but there's a lot of exposure so it can be pretty scary. This isn't your lush green beautiful hike. The treeline comes pretty quickly and then it's just rock for a long ways. We only sunscreened at the bottom and we paid dearly for it. The view at the top is pretty sweet and the red rock mountains are pretty cool as well.
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Borah Peak Winter1 Borah Peak Winter1
Mount Borah 20091 Mount Borah 20091 Trailhead Map added by endovereric Trailhead Map added by endovereric Borah Peak 2012 - Chicken Out Ridge Part 1 (of 3) by Timothy Bryant Borah Peak, Idaho July 2014 Chicken Out Ridge Vide by Dan Eckstein Climb Mt Borah in 5 Minutes by Todd Bigelow


Distance ?

7.9 miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain ?

5,025 feet

Real Ascent ?

5,232 feet

Real Descent ?

207 feet

Avg Grade (14°)


Grade (-19° to 33°)

-35% to 66%

Elevation differences are scaled for emphasis. While the numbers are accurate, the cut-away shown here is not to scale.

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