Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade I
Elevation Gain
3,200.00 ft (975.36 m)
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
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Trapper Peak is the highest summit in the Bitterroots and is a spectacular view if you're driving up through the southern Bitterroot. It's also one of the most climbed mountains in the Bitterroot as it's not too tough. Almost everyone climbs it via the Trapper Peak Trailhead, but if you want a more secluded off-trail trip that passes by a beautiful alpine lake before following a scenic ridgeline, consider climbing Trapper via Baker Lake.


A disclaimer on this description and track - this off-trail line was traveled on a single day with certain conditions. The route described is a reasonable way to move through this terrain, and the description below mentions some of the hazards found during the trip. However, conditions may be significantly different when you visit this area. The advice in this trip report is not meant to be followed perfectly - you will need to adapt the route for the conditions you find and for your party’s abilities.


The Basics

  • Seasonality/Snow: Trapper should generally be dry enough for dryland travel from mid-July to early October, though you can start tagging it as soon as the road opens up (or earlier if you're a real crusher).

  • Route Add-ons:

    • You could add a trip to Boulder Peak or North Trapper, but nothing is too convenient to add on.

  • Number of Days: Almost everyone will do this as a day trip, but you could camp at Baker Lake if you want to do a night out!

  • Navigation: Bring a map and/or a GPS, it can get a bit tricky out there.

  • Gear:

    • Good gear for scrambling and moving fast in the mountains.

    • Consider an ice axe and traction (microspikes/crampons) if it’s still early season.


The Trip

Begin by heading up toward the Baker Lake Trail. Enjoy the pleasant 1.3 mile trail up to the lake. At the Baker Lake outlet, leave the trail and head south along slabs. You may find cairns, but there aren't many. You're aiming for an obvious dirty gully on the steep ridgeline south. Make your way there and climb up the steep trail before gaining the ridgeline. From here, the route is obvious and fun. Stay on the ridgeline for the big views as you climb. You'll leave treeline behind and get higher and higher. At 9,200', break left from the ridgeline and travel toward the standard Trapper trail. Take note where you gain the trail as you'll need to take this turn on the way back down.

Continue up to the grassy saddle at 9,800', then scramble west along large talus to the true summit. From the summit, enjoy being higher than everything else in the range! Then head back down, following your route. Take a dip in Baker Lake before finishing at your car.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Incredible views. Fun offtrail portion. Passes by alpine lake.


Requires some routes finding and talus travel - don't attempt without experience in both.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Trailhead Elevation

7,060.00 ft (2,151.89 m)

Highest point

10,157.00 ft (3,095.85 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas



Typically multi-day


Permit required


Primary aspect

East facing

Drinking water

Unfrozen water


Nearby Adventures


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