Added by Liz Schroeder
This hike is only a 1.5 hour drive from Spokane, WA. The trail takes you through beautiful pine forests and meadows while providing great views of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, the Cabinet Mountains, and the Pend Oreille River.
The trailhead for this hike starts in a city park, so if you have dogs, they'll need to be on leash to start out. You won't have to walk very far before reaching a gate that separates the city park from US Forest Service area. Past this gate, leashes are not required for your four-legged friends (but remember to be a responsible pet owner). Once inside the USFS area, the dirt path leads you through dense forest, coated in lush green moss. The trail starts out at 2150 feet, and in 3.5 miles, you'll reach the top, which is at an elevation of 4300 feet. Along the way, the path gets pretty rocky, and while the beginning may be family friendly, I wouldn't consider the entire trail to be safe for small children. There are quite a few rock outcroppings and cliffs. If rocky paths are challenging for you, you may want to utilize hiking poles. I saw a few people using these on the trail.
The trail does have switchbacks, so the 2150 elevation gain shouldn't be too difficult if you're in shape. If you're not in shape, feel free to use the many scenic vistas as an excuse to catch your breath. Along the trail, you'll catch great views of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, the Cabinet Mountains, and the Pend Oreille River. You'll even find a few benches along the way if sitting on the ground is not your thing. There's a creek that runs through the forest, so you'll encounter a water source a few times in the first mile or so. You won't see water as you get higher in elevation though, so make sure to bring enough for yourself (and your pups). In the spring, you'll see many different types of wildflowers along the trail. Take some time to appreciate their beauty! If you're into mushroom hunting, this is a great area for that too. There are mile markers along the trail, so you should have a good idea when you're getting close to the top. Once you've reached the top, explore! There's a lot of cool rocky areas up there. Find a place to enjoy lunch or a snack before beginning the hike back.
From Sandpoint, take Hwy. 95 north 1.3 miles to Schweitzer Mountain Road; turn left and go 0.5 miles; turn right and go 0.8 miles; turn left (at Schweitzer Sign) and go 0.5 miles to Woodland Drive; turn left and go 0.7 miles. The trailhead parking area is located on the right.
- Hiking shoes
- Rain Coat (just in case)
- Hiking Poles (if you are so inclined)
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