Toponce Roadless Area, Portneuf Range-

The northernmost part of the Portneuf Range is mostly composed of the Toponce Roadless Area. This is 18,000 acres of land on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest -- basically all of the national forest north of the Inman Creek/South Toponce Creek road, plus another 6000 acres of land north of the national forest on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The Putnam Peaks -- north end of the Portneuf Range

North and South Putnam Peaks dominate the view of the area to the north, but these nearly 9000 foot peaks are mostly on the Reservation, and held to be sacred by the Shoshone- Bannock tribes. Access to non-tribal members is closed.


The Putnam Peaks from the Fort Hall Indian Reservation
© Ralph Maughan

There are many trails, but use is light and most of them are not well maintained. Nevertheless, cross country travel is not especially difficult, given a number open ridges.

More than any other roadless area on the Westside Ranger District of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, this roadless area seems to have been selected for primitive management. All of the trails are closed to motor vehicles in the proposed new Caribou NF travel plan.

Livestock grazing use of the area not heavy and is well managed. The result is clear water, flowery meadows, numerous beaver ponds, and a lot of wildlife including moose, deer, elk, and black bear. The moose population seems to be building up considerably as the result of better livestock grazing management.

Ridgetop Portneuf Range. Toponce roadless area

Typical ridgetop deep in the Toponce roadless area
Copyright Ralph Maughan

The west side of the area is a bold mountain front, but the east slope is more gentle, and complicated. It is also moister with many beaver ponds, meadows, and topographic recesses that give you the feeling you are many miles from the nearest road.

Mt. Putnam (North Putnam Peak) March 17, 2005.
The peak is on the Ft. Hall Reservation (closed to the general public).
I took this telephoto from just north of the Reservation.


North Fork of Inman Creek. Portneuf Range. Toponce roadless area.
Lush July vegetation along the North Fork of Inman Creek Trail
Copyright © Ralph Maughan. July 15, 2005.

More photos of the area.

Toponce Roadless Area, Portneuf Range, Idaho/ October 22, 2005

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