Nice trail, it has varying details depending on where you look. If you start at the parking lot, and go to the intersection with Kettle Crest Trail, you've covered 5.4 miles out and back. The trail quickly moves to a moderately steep and steady incline, then concludes with breaking out of the woods to more moderate switchbacks, which makes for a very nice trail (most strenuous first, then easier). The views begin to open up as you reach the large switchbacks, and you can see for a long ways (see panoramic shot).
This trail is a well maintained trail. Expect some scree on the last section actually summiting Columbia Mountain. On top you will find the ruins of the old fire lookout and a salvaged structure that the local backcountry horseman rebuilt a few years ago. This would be a great place to camp for the night.
Trail was easy enough my 2 and 1 yr old could do it just fine. But we only made it up 3 miles before we stumbled upon a bear and had to turn around. Around 2 miles up the trail had a few down trees blocking the path. There is a sign that has fallen down showing a different path, do not follow that sign, but continue straight. Loved what we seen. Will be going back later.
Hiked the Wapaloosie Mountain to Jungle Hill loop for a total of 13 miles (includes three miles of gravel road between trail heads. The entire loop was in great condition, no blowdowns. The views from the Kettle Crest Trail are wonderful and expansive, definitely worth the trip. Total solitude in this under-appreciated part of the country. There is no signage on the Kettle Crest Trail marking the Jungle Hill Trail, so beware. More like 3 1/2 stars, you won't be disappointed.
Hall Mountain is a great view hike with great views and wildflowers after a long, bumpy road to get there. If you are not fond of bikers, go on a weekday. This has become a very popular trail with Canadian bicyclists and the trail has become somewhat rutted and rocky as a result. Not actually a very difficult trail and is quite family friendly except for the possibility of being run over by a biker because the trail is narrow and on a somewhat steep side slope.
Definitely do this trail from the south end, although there is still a lot of climbing to get back out from the lake on your way home. Mostly an early season trail to warm up, not spectacular but nice wildflowers and views. Only person we saw was the trail crew on a Wednesday before Memorial Day. Be ready to remove lots of tics. Trail is well maintained and just brushed. It is steep into the lake but not difficult. Quite a few cool birds.
If your goal is to get a lot of exercise, this is the trail for you. Lots of steep uphill, however not many views. The only view is about a mile up the trail. There is really cool fen partway up the trail if you like rare plants. You can loop this trail with two other ones and come out on the Red Bluff trail for about an 11 mile one way trip. You just need two cars at Red Bluff and Halliday. Nothing at all spectacular but lots of up and down. Might be good for experienced mountain bikers in the shoulder season.
The attraction here is it can be hiked early when you are desperate. We hiked the north route, longer and "more interesting", but it was merely ok with no views to speak of until the lake, and the lake was just ok. Granted it was somewhat flooded at the time. Again, good for warming up as the assent was steep enough to get the heart pumping, but not an amazing hike, just a hike through the woods with a small lake at the end.
Erick R. on Copper Butte Trail
Nice climb that gains around 1500 feet in elevation to get to the top of Copper Butte (highest peak in Ferry County). Started from the Old Stage Trailhead on Albion Hill Road, then joined Kettle Crest Trail #13 and went south to the summit. It starts out double-track and quite gradual, then at Trail #13 you start to go up single track with a couple of switchbacks that are a bit steeper. Beautiful views of the Kettle mountains and other mountains in the distance in all directions (once you reach the summit). The trail has burned-out trees that often fall over the trail, but they are usually removed. The burned out area is teeming with new tree life, and lots of blue lupine flowers when we were there.
The trail switchbacks through heavily forested slopes until you reach an area that burned in 1988. Over 20,000 acres were burned when a lightning caused fire engulfed White Mountain and Sherman Peak. From Sherman Peak you will have anexcellent view of the entire Kettle Range.
The trail begins in a thick forest of lodgepole pine and after a mile or so you will leave the woods and switchback your way up the mountain. When you reach the top of the ridge the trail intersects the Kettle Crest Trail. The summit of Walaloosie will be on your right.