SHEDROOF DIVIDE TRAIL #512
This is an up-and-down ridge like along the Shedroof Divide in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in the Washington Selkirks. It borders the west side of the Upper Priest River Drainage. Water is scarce especially from late July through September. A shuttle at each trailhead is necessary if doing the trail one-way.
The trail skirts around four small peaks and through open meadows with some sweeping panoramas but relatively poor scenery.The hike is mostly in forest with uninspiring panoramas from vantage points. The only views from the ridge are valleys on both sides. East are the relatively distant Idaho’s Selkirk Crest and west are unimpressive peaks.
Difficulty: E2, easy to moderate.
Elevation gain: 762m (2500′) either option.
Key elevations: High point: 6,450 ft.
Distance: 29km (18 miles) one way or shortened 14.5km (9m) round trip
Time: 2 days minimum. 4-10 hours for one-way trip
Season: July through mid-October
Map: USGS Salmo Mtn (for the north end), Helmer Mtn, Continental Mtn. Bonners Ferry Ranger District Travel Map
If you’re coming from the south, this turn is 3.3kms (2mi) from the middle of the Pend Oreille River bridge.
0.0. Go east on Sullivan Lake Road
5.2km. Pass Mill Pond historic site
7km. Go straight on Sullivan Creek Road. Road #2212 forks left.
7.6km. Go left on Road #22 (also numbered #2220) signed for Salmo Mt
8.3km. Go straight through the campground. Pavement ends.
14.5km. For Shedwell Divide: stay on main road. For Crowell Ridge: turn left (NW) onto Road #250.
17.3km. Cross a bridge and reach a 3-way junction.
For N Shedroof Divide TH: go far left (NE) on Road #2220 toward Salmo Mtn For Grassy Top Mountain and S Shedroof Divide TH: go far right (SE) on Road #22 for 12.55km.
19.8km. Ignore rough road forking left. Goes to Crowell Ridge but access is easier via Road #250 described at the 14.5km point above.
28km. Proceed straight on main road. For Shedroof Cutoff Trail #511, take narrow
spur forking right
38km. Bear right on main road through a pass. For summit of Salmo Mtn, take rough
road forking left (NW).
38.5km. Parking at TH. Spacious lot. Elevation 1800m (5900 ft). Trails depart here for:
For Grassy Top Mtn and S Shedroof Divide trailheads (Trail #503), turn SE onto Road #22 at the 17.3km 3-way junction. Reset odometer to 0.0.
0.0. Start SE on Road #22, toward Pass Creek Pass
3.7km. Go straight on the main road where a spur forks left
12.2km. TH for Grassy Top Mt (Trail #503) on the right at 1646m (5400’). The trail is 7m before (west of) the sign. Proceed on the main road for the south Shedroof Divide trailhead.
12.4km. Go through tiny Pass Creek Pass
12.7km. TH for South Shedroof Divide Trail #512 on the left, across from a brown sign (1677m, 5500’). There is no parking here. Park at a 2-vehicle pullout 100m farther.
North Shedroof Divide Trail. Start from the road’s end below the parking area on Salmo Divide Trail #535, pass a barricade and proceed on a level road. South Salmo River valley is to the north and Little Snowy Top Mtn is NE.
1.6km (15 min). Follow trail #535 south. Sign: Shedroof Mtn 4.9km (3m), Snowy Top Mtn 12.9km (8m). Begin moderate ascent. At 30 minutes, traverse an open slope: Salmo Mtn is NW, Leola Peak west across Sullivan Creek, Crowell Ridge SW.
5km (1 hour). Descend 244m (800′) into saddle with good campsite, 1677m (5500′) and junction with left to Snowy Top Mtn. and Trail #512 right to continue on Shedroof Divide.
6.4km. Crest shoulder of Shedroof Mtn 1951m (6400′). Descend 200′ and climb 200′ to the next saddle.
7.2km. About 2 hours from TH, the ridgecrest plummets here. Out-and-back hikers should turn around here. If a vehicle shuttle has been arranged and you are hiking one-way, it is 21.8km (13.5m) to go.
The trail undulates SW along Shedroof Divide traversing the flanks of Thunder, Helmer, Mankato, and Round Top mountains before dropping to the south TH at Pass Creek Pass.
South Shedroof Divide Trail. From the Pass Creek Pass begin climbing immediately on Trail # 512 around Round Top Mountain. Then walk the ups and downs that lead around Mankoto, Helmer, Thunder, and finally Shedroof mountains. The hike is mostly in forest with uninspiring panoramas from vantage points. The only views from the ridge are valleys on both sides. East are the relatively distant Idaho’s Selkirk Crest and west are unimpressive peaks.
If you are a runner, the full 29km as a run would make for a light, fast adventure. The trail has a good smooth surface. Like most ridge trails, there are many ups and downs.
Campsites. No dependable water can be found along the trail. One site near Shedroof Mt, head west on Trail # 535 has a good campsite with seasonal water, 4 miles down the trail. Water. Early season hikers should find water on the south flank of Helmer Mt, 1 mile north of Helmer Mt, on north side of Thunder Mt and NW of Shedroof Mt near junction of Trail # 535 and 512.
There are several junctions along the Shedroof Divide Trail #512. Trails # 511 and 526 descend to the west and are good bail-out routes to Forest Road #2220 at Gypsy Meadows. Four other trails descend the east slope – ignore them all. Keep following Trail #512 generally S/SW along the crest.
SHEDROOF MT, 2062m., 6,764’, October 31
Taking advantage of the continuing good weather, I ventured south of the border once more bound on a foray into the mighty Salmo-Priest Wilderness. Wilderness it’s not, as it has a trail system that would put those in our national parks to shame.
Anyway, here’s the way to Shedroof Mtn. Cross the border at Nelway and drive south on W 31 for about 15 km. Turn left onto the paved #9345, drive to Sullivan Lake campground, turn left on #22, and continue to pavement’s end (8.3 km. from W 31). Re-set your odometer. Continue on the good gravel road for about 9 km. to a major junction. Bear left on #2220 signed for Salmo Mt. (the right fork takes you over Pass Creek Pass and down to Priest Lake,Idaho). I should point out that about 6 km. east of Sullivan Lake the road became hard-packed snow with some icy looking surfaces. It looked to be heavily-traveled by hunters; I saw their camps and trucks, but never saw one during my travels on foot. Continuing on #2220, pass the Gypsy Meadows turnoff on the left at km. 18.4; now drive 1 km. more and look carefully for your goal, the signed Shedroof Cutoff Trail #511 on the right. Drive 30 m. up this spur to a parking spot and the trailhead (2 hrs. drive and 109 km. from Nelson).
There was 15 cm. of snow on the ground when I started out afoot at 11:00 am (you can see this was a leisurely day). Following a hunter’s tracks, I walked an abandoned roadbed for 30 min. until the beginning of the trail proper. A vigorous 15 min. of switchbacking got me to a col and the junction (signed, of course) with Trail #512. I turned left or north and followed the sign saying Shedroof Mtn. After 55 min., the hunter’s tracks disappeared, and I continued on the snowy, but clearly discernible, path. After about 90 min., the trail descended to an obvious notch with an unsigned junction; I took the right fork, which ascended, and at 12:45 reached the forested summit. I found the footings of a lookout, an old outhouse, a snow cover of about 20 cm., and an appropriately weathered, hand-carved sign stating “Shedroof Mtn. 6764’.” Views to the south revealed the Idaho and Washington Selkirks, looking surprisingly rugged clothed in “freshies,” and the lake-like Pend Oreille River.
To the north and west, the view was blocked by trees, but the three bumps of nearby Snowy Top were clearly visible. After a 15 min. lunch under sunny skies and in windless conditions, I headed down. I returned to the truck in 1 hr. 20 min. and was back in Nelson by 4:15 in plenty of time to prepare for Halloween. In sum, the good trail right to the summit makes this is a suitable late-season post-snowfall outing. All driving is on 2WD roads.