2024 North Star

Volunteer Trail Work Project

2024 North Star

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Deep in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, we will be working on the North Star Trail, which leaves the Selway River Trail and climbs 3,700 feet to picturesque Gardiner Peak Lookout. Gardiner Peak is a staffed fire lookout in the summer and this trail is sometimes used to bring in supplies by pack stock, along with the Eagle Rock Trail to the north. The trail could also make a scenic backpacking loop if hiked with the Eagle Rock and Selway River Trails. We will be working to improve this trail by clearing logs, removing brush, and widening switchbacks.

We’ll have pack stock to help bring gear in and out from Paradise Campground. As we work up during the week, plan on a day of backpacking to bump camp higher, eventually to camp near the lookout at the top of Gardiner Peak. This lookout features a spring to refresh in, a pit toilet, and exceptional 365-degree views of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. The hike to the top is well worth it.

Project information is subject to change. Crew leaders will communicate via email. Failure to respond to your crew leader may result in being dropped from the project. See our FAQs, reach out to your crew leader, or contact ITA staff at trails@idahotrailsassociation.org if you have questions.

Trails: Selway River Trail #4, North Star Creek Trail #219

Itinerary: This is a Saturday- Friday weeklong project. Volunteers encouraged to camp at the trailhead the evening before. Meet Saturday morning at Paradise Campground to be packed in, swapping out with the crew working on the Selway River Trail. Mid-week, backpack to bump camp to the lookout. Gear picked up by packers Friday, return to Paradise.

Food Provided by ITA: No

Crew Leader: Gregg Rettschlag

Estimated Drive Time from Closest Town: Approximately 3 hours from Darby, Montana

Trail Map: Click for trail map and elevation profile

Refundable deposit: $50

Why do I need to pay a deposit? We’ve had trouble with people backing out of trips at the last minute which can really affect the productivity of the overall project. By charging a refundable fee, volunteers are less likely to cancel their reservation. Refunds will not be given to volunteers that do not show up or cancel their reservation. Exceptions will be made for medical reasons or unforeseen circumstances. Volunteers can choose to donate the deposit to ITA. All donations are tax-deductible and will go towards maintaining trails throughout Idaho. If you require assistance in paying for this fee, please contact us at trails@idahotrailsassociation.org and we will waive the cost.

Difficulty Rating

You should have experience with backpacking and be in good hiking condition with broken-in and tested gear. This is a remote backcountry project so injuries such as sprains and blisters or even extreme fatigue from not being properly conditioned can quickly become a big safety issue. If you are unsure about the proper gear or about preparing for a trip, please reach out to trails@idahotrailsassociation.org.

Hike: 5/5 Very Strenuous- North Star gains 3,700 feet of elevation over 8 miles; lots of hiking carrying heavy packs and tools expected, with some pack support. See the linked map for the elevation profile.

Project Work: 4/5 Strenuous- Log out, bushing, and digging or swinging tools to widen switchbacks. Bending or kneeling for saw work or brushing. Carrying tools and packs.

Volunteer Spots Available: 6 of 8
If there are no volunteer spots available, click “Sign Up” to get on our waitlist for this project!

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