Elk Mountain Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
17.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
304 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Breathtaking views of the Sawtooth Mountain Range await you on the Elk Mountain Trail. This popular mountain biking and hiking circuit in the Salmon-Challis National Forest offers spellbinding vistas of the craggy snow-capped mountain range without having to tackle a taxing trek.

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Route Description for Elk Mountain Trail

This pleasant trail follows old mining roads through a landscape occupied by blossoming meadows, scenic woodlands, ponds, waterways, and steep mountains. While this route can be biked, we prefer to hike it—allowing ample time to indulge and admire the beauty of the Rocky Mountains that rise from the landscape. As much of the terrain is unshaded, it is important to be prepared to wear inclement weather, and we suggest dressing in layers as insurance against changing conditions. It is also wise to wear SPF! Note that this route is often unstable with mud after rainfall and spring, so don’t wear your new white runners!

Embark on your journey on the Elk Mountain Trail from the parking lot of National Forest Development Road 649. Setting out from here, turn left onto the roadway, wandering along the route before merging onto Trail 628. After some hiking through the mixed pine woodlands, the path will open into a lush meadow—offering spellbinding views of the Sawtooths. Admire the grandeur of the range, then follow, then merge onto Trail 853, trekking northwardly, nearing Elk Creek. Eventually, you will reach the route’s end—keep right, and you will be diverted onto the NFR629, heading east. Curving around to the eastern face of Elk Mountain, intersecting with Park Creek.

Eventually, you will reconnect with Stanley Lake Road, turn right and hike alongside the roadway all the way back to your vehicle, marking the end of your adventure.

Getting to the Elk Mountain Trail Trailhead

This hike sets out from the parking lot off National Forest Development Road 649.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Elk Mountain Trail Elevation Graph

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Elk Mountain Trail Reviews

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