Friday Pass – Hike into the Elk Summit Country

Friday Pass is a low pass between the KoosKoosia Meadows area and the Wind Lakes in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area in Idaho. The hike to Friday Pass is a relatively manageable uphill until Swamp Lake (guess why it is called that?) when the trail goes steeply to the pass. Once reaching Friday Pass, you can continue to Graves Peak and its iconic fire lookout. The trail is generally narrow and hasn’t seen maintenance in quite some time. The basin on the southeast aspect of Graves Peak is a designated Research Natural Area. It features five subalpine lakes set in bedrock. You can also continue down the other side of the pass to the Wind Lakes, and a loop is possible that leads back to KoosKoosia Meadows.

Rant

I love wilderness with a passion (well, duh), but I hate those who insist on sneaking their off-road vehicles into the wilderness, So, when I saw the dirt bike tracks on the trail as we entered the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, my ire went through the roof. How could someone be so arrogant and shiftless?

Total distance: 8.8 mi
Max elevation: 7946 ft
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Obligatory trailhead shot

Obligatory trailhead shot

Starting out in the new burn

Starting out in the new burn

Into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

Into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

Some asshat rode his dirt bike into the wilderness

Some asshat rode his dirt bike into the wilderness

Friday Pass is that way

Friday Pass is that way

Kookooskia Meadows in the late afternoon

Kookooskia Meadows in the late afternoon

Pyrocumulus plume from the Lolo Peak Fire from Friday Ridge, Idaho...rose to 27,000 feet yesterday evening

Pyrocumulus plume from the Lolo Peak Fire from Friday Ridge, Idaho…rose to 27,000 feet yesterday evening

Swamp Creek has it leaves Swamp Lake...lots of Swamp here

Swamp Creek has it leaves Swamp Lake…lots of Swamp here

Swamp Lake sits under Friday Pass

Swamp Lake sits under Friday Pass

The harsh life of growing out of boulder has created this pattern of swirls in the root

The harsh life of growing out of boulder has created this pattern of swirls in the root

She found a Columbian Spotted Frog

She found a Columbian Spotted Frog

Approaching Friday Pass

Approaching Friday Pass

Under Friday Pass - the steep pitch

Under Friday Pass – the steep pitch

Almost there

Almost there

Looking down into the Elk Summit country and Bitterroot Divide

Looking down into the Elk Summit country and Bitterroot Divide

Vida just has to crawl around the boulders

Vida just has to crawl around the boulders

Young Spruce Grouse at the end of the hike

Young Spruce Grouse at the end of the hike

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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