South Baldy Mountain

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 What:  4WD fun ride up a very rocky one vehicle wide dirt road. Huckleberry picking at the switchback on a good year (not in 1998 though). Beautiful views, all four directions. Lookout tower exploration, but only if the volunteer allows you to come up. Hummingbirds, Mountain Bluebirds, dragon flies, and butterflies abound. Lots of beautiful beargrass if the deer haven't eaten it all. This was the most challenging 4WD trip for me a beginner in off roading. The rocks and holes made it necessary to stop 2 times toassess whether I could make it through without bottoming out, but the Toyota 4-runner never bottomed out and easily made the climb in low-speed 4WD. Going down was even easier knowing I would not bottom out. Be sure to steer around the sharpest differentials in height and putyour wheel on the higher rocks so the high rock doesn't bury itself in your oil pan.

 Where:  Take Hwy2 to 211 North to Usk. At Usk, take the bridge over to the East side of the Pend Oreille river and go straight onto King Lake Road. Continue at South Skookum Lake toward North Skookum, but do not take the North Skookum lake turnoff.King Lake Road turns into 50 now even though you might not see any sign. Now you must watch very closely for a small post that directs you which dirt road to take up South Baldy. The road is marked 306. Note that South Baldy has a lookout tower at the top and that is how you willknow you are going up the correct mountain. It takes about 1.5 hrs to get from Spokane to the base of South Baldy, and then another hour to navigate the rutted road to the top.

 Cautions:  I would get a copy of the Delorme Washington State Atlas and Gazeteer if you don't have one as it makes this trip easier. Take a swimming suit as you can swim at South Skookum on the way back. Bring shovel in case of getting stuck. A power winch would be nice, but not necessary.

 List:  Water, binoculars, picnic, and in summer swimming suit. Email Us