dogs on leash
The Kaniksu National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located in northeastern Washington, the Idaho panhandle, and northwestern Montana.
I decided to make this my last hike of 2016. I did it in a snowstorm, with snowshoes. I managed about 8 miles before my legs had enough. This is a hardcore trail in the snow. What a wonderful trail to end out my hiking year!
Before you make this hike, do a bit of research. Study the map before driving to the trail head. There are rivers, streams, alpine lakes, mountains, and abundant wildlife to see on this hike. This would be a fantastic camping / hiking trail in fairer weather.
I plan to come back in the spring, and will be prepared to make this a two-day hike.
On this particular hike I'm torn; the hike itself was good, but the trail was not very impressive. Towards the top viewpoint the mountain was covered in dense fog and there was light snow. This made the surrounding forest eerie yet beautiful. Because of the fog I was not able to see the lake or Sandpoint from the lookouts. But aside from the fog towards the top of the mountain, the trail was relatively tame with not much to look at (Granted, this is in part due to the time of year). The trail also has a very unceremonious end off the side of a forest road.
Overall while I very much enjoyed the hike, it would be hard to recommend this one. I will need to try it again at different points in the year.
On this 5th day of November, the road to the trail head was frosty, but manageable. The trail to Pyramid lake had about 6 inches of snow on it, and also had flowing streams of water in other places. It was a bit of a slippery walk, but the hike to Pyramid Lake was not too difficult to complete. The trail from Pyramid Lake to Ball Lakes was an entirely different story. The snow was about 1 foot deep at the beginning, averaged about 2 feet most of the way, and in some places got waist deep. I thrust my 3-1/2 foot hiking pole into it, and didn't hit bottom. The views were stunningly beautiful. However, I would say the trail is probably snowed in for the the rest of the year. Don't try it without snow gear!
This is a quality hike with a decent amount of uphill. Once you get to the lake there are several trails that go around. This is a great place to go and explore. The huckleberry picking is not bad just have to go off the beaten trail. The fishing is the lake is poor, small trout if anything.
I was hesitant to not camp at a lake. I have done all the other hikes off pack river road multiple times each and I love the area. This was my first time hiking to chimney rock. The views were amazing in early october, and the rock is exalted, a beautiful and stunning scene. Water via spring is available just down from the ridge line. There was not a great tent site on the ridge but we spent about an hour and leveled an area big enough for a two man tent. Sunrise was beautiful, but it was a cold morning on the ridge, 25°. Our water was partially frozen and the rocks were all very slippery with frozen rain water from the day before. Beautiful hike, though challenging at times with the rocks. The dog (golden retriever) even made it only having to be carried once across the boulders. She was very tired. All in all a good, challenging, and inspiring hike.
Good two day hike if you go all the way. Some very steep spots followed by ridge line flats. Hiking in and out of the lake is where the most extreme elevation climbs are. Some really beautiful valley views overlooking several mountain peaks, as shown in picture. Fishing is not the best there are a few small trout but still fun experience.
The trail head for this hike is a considerable drive over forest service roads. Unless there is snow on the ground, it should be accessible by most vehicles. The trail head is a bit complicated to find. I would advise studying and printing out maps. (You are not likely to have any internet connection where you are going!)
This area is going right to the top of my favorite places to hike. I spent an entire day here at the end of September 2016. The colors and scents of autumn are magnificent. The Roman Nose Lakes area has hiking for all levels of hikers. The walk to the lower lake is very easy. It could be accomplished by small children, the elderly or infirm, or even someone in a wheelchair. There is a good parking area and rest room facilities at the trail head.
The hike to the middle and upper lakes is a bit more challenging. It has some moderate inclines, and is quite rocky in some places. The trails between the lakes are a bit of a labyrinth. The signs have all fallen down, so it is advisable to study a map of the area or carry a map with you, so as to avoid any confusion.
There are two routes to take to the upper and middle lakes, one is a shorter and direct route. There is also a more scenic route which climbs along the ridge above the lower lake. Both routes are very beautiful and worth the time to hike. I visited all three lakes, explored numerous diversionary routes, and took both main trails in the same day. My total hiking distance was just over 9 miles. One could easily spend several days hiking and exploring the area.