Divide Creek Lake, Webber Lakes & Deadman Creek Basin

Explore trails to remote alpine lakes among the towering 11,000 foot Italian Peaks in the Southern Beaverhead Mountains and on the Continental Divide with forays into Idaho and Montana. This is an excellent 3-4 day, 30-mile backpack including a base camp at Divide Creek Lake with day hikes into scenic Deadman Creek Basin and the spectacular Webber Lakes. There are very good opportunities to view large wildlife like moose, elk, mountain goats, and bears.

getting there

divide creek trailhead

Take Exit 167 off of I-15 and drive west on ID-22 for 5 miles west on ID-22 for 6 miles, then turn north at the junction near Milepost 62.8 following signs for Medicine Lodge. Stay on the paved county road past the town of Small as the road heads up the Medicine Lodge Creek canyon toward the mountains. In 8.8 miles, turn left onto Medicine Lodge Road and  drive 12.6 miles to the end of the pavement. Drive about 1.5 miles to the junction with the road to Webber Creek campground and continue straight for 3.3 miles to the junction with Irving Creek Road, continue straight again to stay on Medicine Lodge Creek Road. The road gets narrower and a bit rougher, but is a good gravel surface and driveable in a passenger car. In 1.9 miles bear left at junction with Warm Creek Road and cross the bridge over Medicine Lodge Creek. Just past the bridge, bear right at junction with Fitz Creek Road and drive 1.9 miles to the national forest boundary, where road becomes Forest Road  280 and deteriorates, driveable for a passenger car. In 3.5 miles reach bear left onto Forest Road 300 and drive 0.3 mile to  Cow Camp, rancher's facility with small cabin. Cars without high ground clearance should park here. High-clearance vehicles can continue on Forest Road 300 (four-wheel drive is unnecessary unless the road is wet). Drive 1.1 miles to the road's end and the Divide Creek Trailhead (7,400 ft).

webber Creek trailhead

Take Exit 167 off of I-15 and drive west on ID-22 for 5 miles west on ID-22 for 6 miles, then turn north at the junction near Milepost 62.8 following signs for Medicine Lodge. Stay on the paved county road past the town of Small as the road heads up the Medicine Lodge Creek canyon toward the mountains. In 8.8 miles, turn left onto Medicine Lodge Road and  drive 12.6 miles to the end of the pavement. Drive about 1.5 miles to the junction with the road to Webber Creek campground, bear left onto Forest Road 196 and continue 5 miles to the campground (6,872 ft). The campground and trailhead  are accessible by medium to high clearance passenger cars. The campground has four sites, and trailhead parking for five vehicles.

Assume any unpaved, non-gravel road is clay-based in the national forest. Do not drive the wet clay-based roads or if rain is forecast, because these roads are slippery and difficult to hazardous driving with potential traction loss and deep rutting in the road. Be prepared to stay at least two more days with extra food and water  in case you get stuck at trailhead waiting for the roads to dry and firm up.
Check with the Land Manage for current road conditions.

on the trail

Hike to Divide Creek Lake at 8,800 ft from the Divide Creek Trailhead or the Webber Creek Trailhead. Explore trails to high remote alpine lakes among the towering 11,000 foot Italian Peaks along the Continental Divide in Idaho and Montana.  Two of the best hikes are to scenic Deadman Creek Basin on the Montana side and the spectacular Webber Lakes on the Idaho side.

There are good camps at forest-rimmed Divide Creek Lake on either side of its outlet, the first Webber  Lake in the trees near outlet and upper end, and at the second Webber Lake (good camp is on small knoll near its west end), but no camps at the rocky-shored third Webber Lake.

divide creek trailhead

30.0 miles round trip with 5,800 feet of elevation gain

The rocky Divide Creek Lake Trail begins at 7,400 feet and follows Divide Creek through a mix of open slopes and forest with colorful wildflower blooms in July and August in the lower valleys.  Early morning starts may reveal elk, moose and bird songs in the lower elevation forest, meadows, and willows.  Webber Lakes highlights include three amazingly scenic lakes with views of towering Italian Peaks. Deadman Creek Basin highlights include a scenic basin at the head of Deadman Creek ringed by 11,000 ft peaks, "jaw-dropping" views of Italian Peaks and their towering cliffs, wildlife—bighorn sheep and mountain goats on the steep slopes—quiet, and solitude.

webber lakes trailhead

35.8 miles round trip with 6,536 feet of elevation gain

The Webber Creek Trail begins at 6,872 ft and follows Webber Creek for 3.4 mi to junction (7,447 ft) with Meyers Creek Trail and just before South Fork Webber Creek on the left. Continue west on right fork of trail junction along North Fork Webber Creek for 2,7 miles to  junction (8,622 ft). Follow right fork north for .9 mile over a 9,400 ft knoll to junction (9,321 ft) with North Fork Fritz Creek. Take left fork north for 1.8 mi via a 9,461 ft high point before descending to Divide Creek Lake (8,800 ft). 

Suggested itinerary with a base camp at Divide Lake

  • Day 1: Trailhead to Divide Creek Lake:  6 miles one-way with 1,700 feet of elevation gain (add 1.1 mi if walking after parking at Cow Camp). Or Webber Creek Trailhead to Divide Creek Lake:  8.9 miles one-way with 2,669 feet of elevation gain and 741 feet of elevation loss.
  • Day 2: Divide Creek Lake to Webber Lakes: 9 miles round trip with 2,400 feet of elevation gain
  • Day 3:  Divide Creek Lake to Deadman Creek Basin, 9 miles round trip with 1,600 feet of elevation gain
  • Day 4: Divide Creek to the trailhead: 6 miles one-way with 1,700 feet of elevation loss. Or Divide Creek Lake to Webber Creek Trailhead. 8.9 miles one-way with 741 feet of elevation gain and 2,669 feet of elevation loss.

guidebooks

  • Backpacking Idaho, 2nd ed. by Douglas Lorain (Wilderness Press 2015).
  • Hiker’s Guide to Idaho by Jackie and Ralph Maugham (Falcon Press, 1991).
  • Hiking Idaho by Luke Kratz, and Jackie and Ralph Maugham (Falcon Press, 2014).

notes

  • Water can be very limited in this area with the meager flow of Divide Creek, smaller creeks drying by early summer, and  Webber Lakes water levels dropping as summer progresses. In Deadman Creek Basin, the creek bed is dry but lingering snow patches may be available until early July.
  • Expect very good opportunities to view large wildlife such as moose, elk, mountain goats, and bears. Weekday visits are recommended to maximize wildlife viewing, quieter trails, and to minimize motorcycle activity.
  • Deadman Creek Trail is closed to motorcycles, but there is some motorcycle-erosion on the trail.
  • The best time to start hiking or backpacking in this area is late June to mid-July. High trails may be snowbound earlier than that and become snowbound by mid-October. 
  • There are good day hiking options by car camping the in area or driving from nearby Dubois or Idaho Falls.  Divide Creek Lake is a reasonable day hike from the trailhead near Cow Camp.  Hike to Webber Creek Lakes from the trailhead near Webber Creek Camp. Deadman Lake on the Montana side is the nearest car camp to Divide Creek Lake.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 30.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,800 ft
  • 9,700 ft
  • Land Manager: Caribou-Targhee National Forest
    Dubois Ranger District (CTNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • USGS Deadman Lake, ID-MT
  • USGS Scott Peak, ID-MT
Activities

Upcoming Activities

Backpack - Divide Creek Lake, Webber Lakes & Deadman Creek Basin

Backpacking Trip
SUBMIT LEADER PERMISSION REQUESTS BEGINNING 8/10
Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
Wed, Sep 1, 2021 - Sat, Sep 4, 2021
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
5 participants
Registration opens Aug 10
Seattle Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Divide Creek Lake
  • Webber Creek Lakes
  • Deadman Lake
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