Hiking

Casual walk or multi-day hike, there's a trail for everyone

Surrounded by state and national forestlands in the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitterroot mountain ranges, the Sandpoint area has 200-plus amazing trails within an hour of town. Below are some fine hikes near town, from easy to strenuous.

Schweitzer Village

Our nationally recognized mountain resort is only 11 miles from downtown Sandpoint, with 2900 acres for skiing, hiking, biking and magnificent alpine views and a resort village featuring premium lodging, dining, bars, fine outdoor clothing and gear, shopping, artists studio, and seasonal activities.

City Parks

Sandpoint has over 20 parks, public gathering spaces, or designated community locations. With a variety of amenities and activities available, City Parks have something to offer people of all ages year-round.

Sandpoint Ranger District

The Village of Sandpoint was incorporated on February 7, 1901.

On January 15, 1907 the Village of Sandpoint became the City of Sandpoint. The April, 1907 election moved the City onto a mayor/council form of government – the same form of government we have today.

Bonner County was originally part of Kootenai County, but separated from this larger unit on March 18, 1907. Eight years later, on January 23, 1915, the county was reduced to its present size when the northern half separated to form Boundary County. Sandpoint has been the county seat of Bonner County since 1907.

The Kalispel, Kutenai and other native peoples were the first inhabitants of this area. They lived along the waterways and utilized the area’s abundant natural resources for survival.

Sandpoint is famous for having recreational activities for every season. Some of our Forest opportunities range from, camping, fishing, hunting, berry picking, trail hikes, nature walks, horseback riding, bike riding, ATV/OHV trails, skiing.

Visually the Sandpoint area is hard to beat. Framed by the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, Sandpoint is located on the north shore of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho’s largest lake. Travelers driving Highway 95 across the Long Bridge into Sandpoint have often reported a feeling of “coming home.”

SOLE

Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education (SOLE), Inc. is a licensed and credentialed 501(c)(3) non-profit led by professionals with noteworthy experience designing and facilitating intentional experiential education programming for youth and adult stakeholders in urban, as well as remote settings. In addition, our personnel possesses professional certifications in outdoor emergency response and outdoor technical skill proficiencies, as well as advanced degrees in the fields of experiential education, outdoor education, traditional education, and special education. This level of professionalism ensures that our stakeholders are well taken care of when out on course and the content delivered exceeds beyond the norm!

Priest Lake State Park

Priest Lake State Park lies just 30 miles from the Canadian border, nestled deep below the crest of the Selkirk Mountains. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Northern Idaho and mile-high mountains, Priest Lake State Park sits along the eastern shores of Priest Lake, a 19-mile long, 300-foot-deep waterbody.

Visitors to the park will enjoy the dense forests of cedar, fir and tamarack and will be able to observe the park’s year round inhabitants such as the whitetail deer, black bear, moose and bald eagles. Noted for its extremely clear water, fed by streams cascading from the high Selkirk peaks, the main body of Priest Lake extends north-south for 19 miles. A two-mile thoroughfare connects the main lake to the remote Upper Priest Lake that is accessible only by foot, mountain bike, or boat.

Priest Lake Ranger District

Priest Lake, which is often referred to by the natives as “God’s Country”, was originally called Roothaan Lake by Father Desmet in 1846 in honor of his Jesuit Superior in Rome. One of the prominent peaks in the Selkirk Range still bears the name Roothaan.

In 1865, Captain John Mullan designated this same lake as Kaniksu Lake on one of his maps. It is believed that “Kaniksu” was the Indian name of Black Robe, although this has never been authenticated. The name was gradually changed in the early 1900’s from Kaniksu Lake to its present name of Priest Lake, which refers to the early-day Jesuit missionary priests who had established a base camp at Kalispell Bay in the 1840’s.

The lake is one of three largest and most beautiful lakes in the Idaho Panhandle, and a very popular recreation attraction. The world’s largest Makinaw trout was caught here in 1963. Dolly Varden, Cutthroat, and Kokanee are also caught in the lake. It is now illegal to fish for Dolly Varden and they are to be returned to the lake when caught.

Upper Priest Lake is part of the Upper Priest Lake Scenic Area. There were five small parcels of private land totaling about 420 acres on Upper Priest Lake. The Forest Service purchased these tracts in 1967 with the assistance of Nature Conservancy. The entire shoreline of Upper Priest Lake is now in either the State of Idaho or Federal ownership, and is administered as a scenic area.

Upper Priest River, which flows into Upper Priest Lake, is one of the rivers to be studied for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Rivers system along with the lower Priest River which was famous in the early days as a log-drive stream. The first recorded drive was in 1901 and the last in 1949. The greatest drive took place in 1931 when 50,000 cedar poles and 125,000,000 board feet or logs were herded down the river by the “river pigs”.

Priest Lake Chamber

Priest Lake is an ideal year-round family and adventure vacation destination.  Nature’s spectacular backdrop coupled with the myriad of recreational activities make Priest Lake an unforgettable experience. Discover Idaho’s crown jewel while enjoying bikinggolfingfishingrock climbing or snowmobiling and choose to stay in any of our hospitable resorts, cabins or vacation homes for an upcoming group activity, wedding, conference or seminar location for a vacation that will only tempt you to stay longer.

Pine Street Woods

Pine Street Woods is a unique place where people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to be outside. The wide trails welcome strollers, wheelchairs, or friends walking side by side, and nordic skiers in the winter. Almost a dozen trails make for miles of hiking and biking or cross-country skiing and fat-biking in the winter.

Trails are for non-motorized use. Electric bikes are welcome. Horses are not encouraged at Pine Street Woods because of the numerous off leash dogs and mountain bikes that frequent the property. Also, our access road and parking lot do not accommodate horse trailers.

There are no usage or parking fees. Pine Street Woods is open to all and is supported through generous trail donations and gifts from users just like you.

Pine Street Woods sits adjacent to two other public access properties. Collectively, the three properties comprise the Syringa Trail System. As is the case for Pine Street Woods, the Sherwood Forest and VTT properties are also privately owned, but are not owned or managed by KLT. The owners graciously allow the public to enjoy these special places, only requesting that everyone respect the land, wildlife, and other visitors.

Pine Street Woods Trails »

Printable Trail Map »

Schweitzer

Looking for a fun and adventurous way to take in the fresh mountain air and beautiful views? Whether you’re a hiker or biker, Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers more than 20 miles of trails with amazing alpine scenery and see-forever views. Start in the village and warm your legs up as you head out to Picnic Point – with only minor climbing – to take in the sweeping views of the mountains and Lake Pend Oreille. From there, your options are wide open. For those looking for a pure downhill biking thrills, Schweitzer has many intermediate to expert options with a chairlift assist to the top; all downhill trails begin at the top of the Great Escape Quad and descend 1700 feet to the Schweitzer Village. Pick up detailed trail maps in the village.

Mickinnick Trail

One of the closest and nicest hikes adjacent to Sandpoint, the Mickinnick is a challenging trail that rises more than 2,000 feet in its 3.5-mile length (meaning, a round-trip hike is 7 miles). But the workout is certainly worth it, affording  splendid views as you climb up through big granite features amid open forests and spring-summer wildflowers. On warm summer days, the east-facing aspect of the trail makes it more user-friendly in the afternoon. The trail ends on a rocky knob commanding a view of Sandpoint, the Long Bridge, the Cabinet Mountains and Lake Pend Oreille. Use the Google map to navigate to the trailhead parking, at roughly 400 Woodland Drive, or click to the Forest Service map and elevation profile.

This challenging trail rises more than 2,000 feet in its length (the hike is 7 miles round trip) – that’s a workout, especially on a warm summer day. The east-facing aspect of the trail makes it more user-friendly in the afternoon. The trail leads through open forest on a rocky hillside, and ends on a rocky knob commanding a view of Sandpoint, the Long Bridge, the Cabinet Mountains and Lake Pend Oreille.

Trail particulars: To get to the trailhead from Sandpoint, take Highway 95 north 1.3 miles to Schweitzer Cutoff Road; turn left and go a half mile; turn right and go less than a mile to turn left on Schweitzer Mountain Road (at Schweitzer Sign); go one-half mile to Woodland Drive; turn left and go 0.7 miles. The trailhead parking, with pit toilet, water and map, is on the right.

Mineral Point Interpretive Trail

Here’s an easy ride or walk that provides a starting and ending spot in Garfield Bay along Lake Pend Oreille, with a swimming beach, marina and dining opportunities at the Captain’s Table, or a stop during the ride at the fine, undeveloped Green Bay cobblestone beach. This route as suggested below is about 9 miles, mostly on back roads but including about 2.1 miles of single track on Mineral Point trail itself — challenging but rideable by beginners, with outstanding views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Green Monarchs. The trail is popular with hikers so ride carefully.

Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay, with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarchs. This lower-elevation, 2.1-mile hike or single-track bike ride is accessible starting from mid- to late spring. Get map and details for Forest Service Mineral Point Trail No. 82.

Trail description: From Sandpoint, drive six miles south on Highway 95 to Sagle, and turn east onto Sagle Road. Continue a bit more than six miles to the junction where Garfield Bay Road forks to the right and continue another roughly two miles to the waterfront village of Garfield Bay. There’s a small park in Garfield Bay; to make this ride longer, we suggest parking there in Garfield Bay and starting your ride on the backroads there. From Garfield Bay Road, find Green Bay Cutoff Road, which proceeds north. The cutoff will quickly become a gravel road; go about .4 mile and turn right onto the Mineral Point Road No. 532 (next to the red firehouse) and ride 2.2 miles on Road 532, and turn right for 0.3 miles the Mineral Point trailhead. The trail will then take you on 2.1 miles of singletrack high along the lakeshore, dropping down to the Green Bay campground and beach, a great place to stop for a swim or to hang along the lake. To complete the loop, ride back up the steep access road from the campground back to Mineral Point Road, then back to Garfield Bay.

Trail particulars: There is only about 400 feet of elevation gain and loss but you’ll ride it up and down several times. Water is available at Green Bay. At the trailhead for Mineral Point Trail there is a connector trail to a 2.1-mile singletrack loop on Lost Lake Trail 81 that makes for a good and easy side trip to incorporate into this ride.

Trail map: Click to see the map.

Gold Hill Trail

The Gold Hill Trail is one of the most popular for local hikers and mountain bikers, a 3.7-mile track that can be moderate or strenuous – depending on whether you hike or ride it up or down, or as most do, both ways.

If you are ready to enjoy all the adventure and scenic outdoor recreation that the Sandpoint, Idaho area offers, this is one trail that you don’t want to miss for a terrific hike or bike ride.

The trail leads uphill through a forested setting to panoramic northwest-facing views of Sandpoint across Lake Pend Oreille with the Selkirk Mountains behind.

Most start at the trailhead on Bottle Bay Road, about 8 miles south of Sandpoint; navigate to the trailhead parking by the Google map. It is possible to circle around by forest roads and access the trail up near the viewpoints.

Many mountain bikers do this as an out-and-back, starting at the trailhead for the uphill singletrack. However, some ride an extended route at the top of Trail 3, to include Gold Mountain and forest roads. Or, to make a full day that includes miles on paved and gravel backroads you can include the trail as part of an approximately 28-mile loop right from Sandpoint itself riding to the trailhead via the Long Bridge bike and pedestrian route.

This is mountain hiking and biking at its best in the Pacific Northwest!

Click for USFS trail map and details: Forest Service Gold Hill Trail No. 3.
Click for extended route details: MTB Project Gold Hill Trail No. 3.

Schweitzer biking and hiking

Looking for a fun and adventurous way to take in the fresh mountain air and beautiful views? Whether you’re a hiker or biker, Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers more than 20 miles of trails with amazing alpine scenery and see-forever views. Start in the village and warm your legs up as you head out to Picnic Point – with only minor climbing – to take in the sweeping views of the mountains and Lake Pend Oreille. From there, your options are wide open. For those looking for a pure downhill biking thrills, Schweitzer has many intermediate to expert options with a chairlift assist to the top; all downhill trails begin at the top of the Great Escape Quad and descend 1700 feet to the Schweitzer Village. Pick up detailed trail maps in the village.

Round Lake State Park

This intimate park, 10 miles south of Sandpoint on Highway 95 and two miles west on Dufort Road, offers seven miles of marked and groomed cross-country trails. Depending on conditions, there may also be opportunities for ice skating, sledding, fishing or a picnic, often served up with a roaring bonfire. $2 per vehicle fee; annual Idaho State Park passes are available for $15. For a map or more information, call 208-263-3489; or click parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/round-lake/.

Farragut State park

With more than 9 miles of groomed trails, Farragut offers easy terrain and great views of the lake. Located on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, about 40 minutes driving time from Sandpoint via U.S. Highway 95, Farragut is a crown jewel of Idaho’s state parks.

Evans Landing Trail

Evans Landing Trail leads 2 miles down to a beach at the landing on the west side of Lake Pend Oreille. A multitude of switchbacks make for a gentle grade, beginning at the top of Kreiger Creek on Trail No. 64. The slope becomes extremely steep closer to the lake, however. The remains of an old cabin are tucked away behind some ponderosa pine trees, and nearby is a picnic table on the edge of the stony beach, plus a vault toilet. Access is 17 miles south of Sandpoint on U.S. Highway 95 via the southern end of Blacktail Road. Follow it east 2.6 miles to Little Blacktail Road, turn east again and go another 2.6 miles past one trail sign to East Ridge Road where a second trail sign indicates the way to the trailhead. Take a right on East Ridge Road, go a half mile and turn left onto a short spur road and the parking area.

Maiden Rock Trail

Maiden Creek Trail is a steep 2-mile trail that leads down Maiden Rock, a prominent geologic feature, and a Forest Service recreation site on Lake Pend Oreille. The trail to this magical spot on the lake’s western shore is fairly short, though quite steep as you get closer to the lake. It cuts through a dense forest in a deep notch between two mountains to where the waters of Maiden Creek first gurgle to the surface. It follows the creek steeply downhill to the lake. Access is 11 miles south of Sandpoint on U.S. Highway 95 via the north end of Blacktail Road. Go 1.5 miles to Butler Creek Road No. 230. Turn left and travel three miles to the trailhead.

Hiking Supplies

(877) 487-4643
10000 Schweitzer Mtn Rd, Sandpoint
(208) 263-5493
204 S. Fourth St. Dover, ID
(208) 443-2551
4777 W. Lakeshore Rd., Priest Lake

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