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Jackson Peak Lookout

A beautiful and under-utilized trail with stout elevation gain, reaching a sizable fire lookout atop Jackson Peak.

Hiking Difficult

14 km
1.1 km
1.1 km
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.4 km
High Point
2.5 km
Jackson Peak Lookout Map

This is a rewarding training hike not far from Boise, on a little-known but respectable peak of the Boise Mountains. The trail delivers stout elevation gain along with beautiful natural scenery, and definitely earns a checkmark on a list of Idaho summits.


Jackson Peak does not command much attention on any map of the region, but it just happens to rise a bit higher than most of its neighbors. It has a maintained trail going all the way up, but also a service road coming up the other side, and a fire lookout occupying the summit. So you won't find the wildest of settings upon reaching the top, but the views are still impressive, and most of the hike to get there will feel quite remote.

Jackson Peak Trail begins near the Lowman Nature Ponds, just about a mile farther on a rough dirt road. Drive or walk the road to reach the signed trailhead. The trail starts uphill right away, taking switchbacks through a regenerating burn area that's colored with flowers and young trees. Expect some of the trail to be overgrown in summer.

After about a mile and a half the trail gains a ridge crest, which it more or less follows the remainder of the way. You'll pass in and out of timber stands, among a patchwork left by wildfires, and enjoy plentiful views over steep drainages below.

Near the top of the ridge, the trail joins with a forest road for the final bit of the ascent. There you'll find a two-story wooden lookout tower. It's not generally open to the public, and remains staffed throughout the summer. The lookout may let you up, but otherwise you can walk around the base and enjoy panoramic views off every side of the mountain.

Sources: https://www.idahoaclimbingguide.com/bookupdates/jackson-peak/ https://www.explorumentary.com/adventure-blog/jackson-peak-8124-boise-national-forest-idaho2262558



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between April and November


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation