As we are in the midst of spring with summer just around the corner, the ample opportunity to enjoy each season outdoors is undoubtedly a top perk of living in the Inland Northwest. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply craving some fresh air, North Idaho and Eastern Washington have a lot to offer for those who want to get outdoors and explore. The areas surrounding the Inland Northwest offer shorter, more accessible hikes, sites perfect for a day trip to a nearby peak, and plenty in between.
Snow Creek Falls
Located in the Selkirk Mountains, this out-and-back day hike takes hikers on a short journey through the Kaniksu National Forest. With just a 132-foot elevation gain, and a distance of 1.7 miles, this is a wonderful option when bringing along family members of all ages. This hike features not one but two waterfalls along your journey. The lower falls are at 2,243 feet elevation, while the upper falls are at 2,475 feet. Be sure to bring a camera!
Just across the road from the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarter is where you will find the trailhead to Myrtle Creek Falls. This trail switchbacks less than half a mile uphill to a viewpoint looking straight into the gorge and the flowing waterfalls, which many refer to as “breathtaking.” The trail is easy and accessible, with a bridge overlooking the stream.
Clifty Trail is a phenomenal hike, taking foot travelers to the top of Clifty Mountain. If you're looking for a lightly trafficked outand- back trail, Clifty Peak is a great choice! Located near Bonners Ferry, this is an ideal hike for nature lovers, featuring beautiful wildflowers. The 4.4-mile trek is considered to be on the more moderate level, and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family or friends.
Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail
On an eastern bank of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the well-maintained trail offers views over Beauty and Wolf Lodge bays, and educational signage throughout the 3.3-mile loop. Learn more about the wildlife and foliage in 22 marked stations along the trail as you make your way to the breathtaking view. With easy trailhead access and low-to-moderate difficulty, this venture is not one to skip.
This iconic Coeur d’Alene hike is a must for locals and visitors alike. At 2.2 miles, the trail isn’t a long one but can easily be made into a day of enjoying all that the spectacular scenery and gorgeous lake have to offer. Next to McEuen Park and the Coeur d’Alene Resort, the trail around Tubbs Hill offers incredible overlooks of the water and plenty of beach spots for lakeside activity. Runners can easily take their routine to the trail and cool off near the lake.
Canfield Mountain Loop
A popular site for hikes, mountain bikers and four wheelers alike, Canfield Mountain offers something for everyone, and peaks with an overlook of the town of Coeur d’Alene. Hikers are sure to get their daily exercise in between bouts of steeper elevation, and the sights along the way are surely worth the effort.
Scotchman Peak Trail
In the Kaniksu National Forest near Clark Fork, Idaho, the Scotchman Peak trail boasts incredible views of Lake Pend Oreille and the chance to get up close and personal with wildlife. Best known for hikers’ frequent encounters of mountain goats on the hike, the peak is often described as Goat Mountain. The trail is just over 4 miles one way, and hikers should come prepared for a steep climb to the highest point in Bonner County, with an elevation gain of 3,700 feet, and the potential for lingering snow.
Harrison Lake Trail
Located about 13 miles north of Sandpoint in the Selkirk Mountains, the Harrison Lake trail offers stunning views the entire way, culminating in a breathtaking look at Mt. Harrison and the lake. Moderate and suitable for hikers of all levels, the trail is a total of 4.6 miles and offers nearby campsites for those looking to plan a longer stay.
Riverside State Park Loop and Bowl & Pitcher
One of Spokane’s best-known trails, the Riverside State Park loop, is an easy 3.7-mile trek through the woods. The park itself is just 9 miles from Spokane and has over 55 miles of trails to choose from, with a variety to please every category of hiker, from casual to hardcore.
Also within Riverside State Park is the hike to Bowl & Pitcher, a famed 2.1-mile loop that begins with a suspension bridge. Along the bridge and trail, hikers can admire views of the valley and rock features along the banks of the Spokane River. Choose from two trails (upstream or downstream) to complete the loop, guided by views of the river along the way.
Liberty Lake Loop
Near the Washington/Idaho state line, the 8-mile Liberty Lake Loop can be a challenging one, with its noticeable elevation change and dense landscape. It does provide route options ranging from the shorter, flatter Split Creek Loop, to the full route taking hikers through a forest to view the Liberty Creek Falls. The falls are best seen in the spring, and most locals will agree that the full loop is worth the experience.
Inland Northwest locals are blessed with endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors each spring. When it’s safe to do so, an endeavor to these top hiking destinations are sure to rejuvenate you, and your love for the region.