King Mountain Area Information

King Mountain is located near Moore, Idaho. King is at the south end of the Lost River Range in The Lost River Valley which runs 70 miles from Arco through Moore and Mackay to Willow Creek Summit south of Challis, Idaho. The valley is 10 to 15 miles wide, bounded on both sides by mountains rising 5,000 – 6,000 feet above the valley floor (mountains tower over 12,000 feet), providing a beautiful corridor for X-C flying.

They call it the Lost River for a specific reason: It does not flow into a larger stream but down into the ground. Of the twenty-five highest mountains in Idaho, twenty-four of them are located here, including Idaho’s highest peak, Mount Borah, at 12,662 feet.

Moore, ID & King Mt. Area (click to enlarge)

King Mountain Glider Park

All Birds Welcome!

Be sure to visit KingMountainGliderPark.com website for more information about the King Mountain area.  They have a lot of information.  I “borrowed” several images from John Kangas’ site for this site.  (Hope you don’t mind John.)

Other Local Flying Sites
Other launches include Coyote, across Beverland Pass from King Mountain, and Big Southern Butte, a 2,400 ft. cinder cone in the desert of Arco.
•Big Southern Butte – a 2,400 foot cinder cone, is in the Snake River Plan about ten miles west of Atomic City. It is a good alternative when the ranges overdevelop, but launch can blow out early on strong days.
•Coyote – a northwest site across from King Mountain is good in catabatic valley flow.
•Jump off – above the town of Howe on the back side of the Lost River Range, is an east site that is occasionally flown. Many tow roads are available both in the mountains and out in the desert flats.

Best Cross Country Soaring

King Mountain provides some of the best foot launch soaring and cross country flying opportunities anywhere. This area compares quite favorably with the Owens Valley (Southern California). This is a world class Hang Gliding and Paragliding site guaranteed to test your flying skills! There are booming thermals, outrageous turbulence, and the promise of long XC flights. It is lots of fun and superb flying in some of the most scenic mountains in the world.

Organization/Ratings

King Mountain launch is on land managed by National Forest and the landing zone is on land managed by Bureau of Land Management.

The site is managed by the Idaho Hang Gliding Association and insured by the USHPA. Membership to USHPA is REQUIRED while flying here. King Mountain Hang Gliding and Paragliding events, notably the King Mountain Hang Gliding Championships, are permitted to operate under a special use permit by the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

King Mountain is a very dynamic Hang-4 site in thermal or high wind conditions. Hang 3’s can fly if assisted by experienced teammate H-4/5 pilots, preferably people who have multiple years flying here.   It has a gentler side and Hang 2-3 can fly during milder times, if assisted by experienced by H-4 pilots, preferably local people. Extensive mountain/desert flying experience and good judgment are necessary to safely fly here.

Location/Access

King Mountain is the first big mountain at the south end of the Lost River Range, just east of Moore, Idaho. A new road to the launch has been built with the help of the local communities and the Forest Service. The road is still a single lane 4-wheel drive road, but much improved with less grade and better protection from erosion. Please drive cautiously and avoid spinning out.

Launches

There are one lower and two upper launches. The lower launch is at 7,400 feet (1800 AGL) and is a wide open flat slope launch. This launch is used more by paraglider pilots and by hang glider pilots in strong winds. The upper launch spine is at 8,100 ft (2400 AGL) has a more restricted setup with a north and south launch. The north launch is a steep slope with ramp through a tree notch. The south launch is a wide open flat slope launch overlooking the lower launch. All launches require strong, aggressive technique and experience judging strong, variable thermal cycles. Pilots need to keep in mind the high density altitude. Dust devils frequently track up the upper launch spine.

Flying King Mountain

King Mountain is a premier cross country site. The flying is similar to high desert mountain flying anywhere (again, think Owens Valley) with strong lift, rapidly developing weather and changing winds. The terrain is unique, with three parallel valleys separated by single spine mountain ranges. Cloudbase is often high enough (15,000 – 18,000 feet) to cross the ranges, opening up many different, unique and beautiful X-C routes. The main milk run goes up the Lost River Range to Challis (for 70 miles) and on to Salmon (for 100 miles). The range is fairly continuous, with a few passes and other terrain challenges to make it more interesting. Proper equipment includes oxygen, water, radios and a map. Read more information about the King Mountain area, visit www.KingMountainGliderPark.com

Airspace

The Idaho National Engineering/Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) covers a large area south and southeast of King Mountain. This is federally restricted airspace .  Study the maps and don’t land there – most routes off King Mountain do not cross the INEEL.

Low Flying Aircraft

Be aware of the airports in the area – especially Challis and Salmon are active with back country flying. Hang gliding and paragliding pilots have been asked to avoid landing at the grass strip at the mouth of Pass Creek.

Local Support

The Lost River Valley communities have been very supportive of hang gliding and paragliding at King Mountain, including donating time and money to improve the road and keep the site open. Please support the local community by respecting private property and patronizing the local stores, restaurants, and hotels.
See Local Area Page

Please Return The Favor

  • Let the locals know you are here flying and (hopefully) having a good time.
  • Don’t land in crops or close to livestock.
  • Leave gates as you found them.
  • Watch speeds on gravel roads.
  • Ask permission to go on private land for retrieval, etc.