Explore the most popular camping trails in Kaniksu National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Love this area! Great place to camp and beautiful to hike around!

6 months ago

Hiked to the lake with the Boy Scout Troop for a quick 1 day/1 night trip. We had anticipated having some spotty snow on the ground at the lakes, and hoped to do some rock climbing practice in the area. However, we hit the snow line less than 1/2 mile into the hike and were looking at 8-10 inches by the time we reached the lakes. The biggest surprise was that the lake was quite solidly frozen over already.
We had to break trail through the snow on the way up, but we found it pretty easy to follow the route. Plenty of bridges over the marshy areas and orange ribbons showed the way. The temperature ranged from the upper 20s to the upper 50s while we were out, so the snow was soft and wet during the daylight hours, and frozen over during the night. Majestic views of the mountains and beautiful landscape made this a worthwhile outing.

7 months ago

Hiked on 10/7/17. Snow on all trails, but still easy to ID trails. Great views at both lower and upper lakes. Camped overnight at lower lake. Five established campsites, all with nice pads for tents. Four have only one pad -- one has three. This group site is located with lots of parking and vault toilet.
VERY well maintained trails -- obviously lots of work to prevent water erosion. Wood boardwalks at both upper and lower lakes -- nice touches.
Long drive -- figure at least an hour from Naples cutoff.

Great overnight backpacking trip! Took the wrong turn finding the trailhead but that was our falt. Awesome lakes surrounded by high granite peaks of the Selkirk Mountain Range.

If you're interested in this hike, I made a video of the trip and you can find it at: https://youtu.be/GjWZR1K1Fr4

Or just search for the lakes on YouTube and you should find it. Leave a thumbs up and subscribe if interested. Lots more to come!

Incredible colors, fantastic atmosphere, dog friendly, and fun for all levels! Can't wait to go back :)

8 months ago

wonderful hike. 3 lakes for the price of 1. Slightly advanced to the upper lakes but still family friendly

8 months ago

Went this morning, we hit snow about a mile from the trailhead. Absolutely gorgeous, just weren't prepared for the cold this early. The trail was still easy to find even with the snow

This time of year, very dry and plenty of smoke in the air. Made for a very different setting. The trail to Bottleneck lake is well marked and in very good shape. Some horse riding activity up to Snow lake, however we had the Bottlneck trail to our selves. Beautiful lake, brought home a half dozen pan size brook trout. And had a great day! Certainly will be more enjoyable once the smoke clears out.

8 months ago

We took our five year old on his first backpacking trip. Trail signs are non- existent, so bring a map with you. Great places to camp right along upper lake. We camped right where the trail meets the lake on the first night. After a short hike along the lake, we found a better spot, and moved there for the second night. I accidentally left my running shoes at our first site. When we went back the next morning, someone had taken them. Keep your gear in a secure place. This is a great place to hike in with little ones.

What a spectacular hike and view!

50 min from paved road to the trailhead. Well maintained gravel road (402, 1007). Definitely don't attempt 632 in a road vehicle. Lots of folks enjoying the trail on a Friday, parking was full and had to be creative to find a place to park. Trail map needed more descriptive distances and the trail needed better signage. It's easy to miss the trail that heads to the upper lakes. The lakes are stunning!! Trail is easy. Huckleberries plentiful.

Hiked to Bottleneck Lake on Sunday, 8/20/17. It was a wonderful hike! About 1-1.5miles in you come across a fork in the road reading 1.75 miles to Bottleneck Lake or 3 miles to Snow Lake. Due to time constraints we opted to just do Bottleneck for the day. The hike wasn't too steep, and it was fairly well maintained. The lake was gorgeous and there were a couple campsites near it; I hope to camp overnight here one year. I also want to return and do Snow Lake! The huckleberries were abundant too; I filled up an empty water bottle easily and made lemon huckleberry bread that night! If you do go up there searching for huckleberries, please respect the bushes and only pick the berries, leaving the bushes alone, so that they continue to grow back each year:)

In, 3:15; out 3 hrs.

From the trail head you ascend moderately for approximately 2 miles before you reach some flats along the ridge before the steep descent to Trout Lake. Pushing on to Fisher requires more climbing, sometimes fairly steep, before you reach the bluff overlooking that lake. The trail down to Fisher Lake is quite steep but nothing treacherous.

I pitched camp at Fisher for the night. The weather was tame but I recommend you take some long pants and a sweatshirt because the breeze is rather chilly at that altitude in the evening and night time hours.

on Roman Nose Lakes

9 months ago

Awesome place! The trail is very easy to follow despite missing signage, and I can imagine people getting a little turned-around if they choose to get off the trail to get better views of the scenery. There's a good posted map at the trailhead to snap a picture of for navigation. Trail scenery was beautiful. Its an easy/gentile climb to the upper lake on a well-traveled path.

Saw a couple of whitetail bucks, several marmots, a very curious weasel, and plenty of squirrels.

My magnetic compass did NOT like the area and gave me bad indications. I am new to Northern Idaho, so this may be common local knowledge, I don't know. I actually had cell service on the upper lake but not during the drive west of Naples or for most of the trail.

The fishing was not great. Lots of really small brook trout. By 'small' I mean most are 3 inches. I fished the upper lake and the lake next to the trailhead. It was best in the morning and tapered off during the day.

Huckleberries were abundant and delicious! Some campers and swimmers on the upper lake. Few bugs but some biting flies if you stand still long enough. I've heard there are a lot of cougar sitings at Roman Nose so, as a cautious newb to Northern Idaho I carried bear spray and an airhorn. On a Friday there was just enough people traffic that I wasn't worried about lions and bears. Other hikers had canine hiking companions with them. I think the distance estimates I've read are too long: I hiked casually from the trailhead to the upper lake in 30 minutes.

I came for the fishing but will go back for the hiking, scenery, and wildlife viewing.

9 months ago

Hiked and fished all three lakes 8/1/17. Pretty good trail but missing some directional signage so pay attention. Not much traffic midweek but I hear they've got heavy traffic on weekends. Good fishing. Beautiful lakes. Great place to be.

On this hot summer day, the breeze coming off of the lake was refreshing. The views are nice. The trail is easy to follow.

Do NOT take Ruby Creek Road. I read the other review saying that and thought maybe he was being dramatic, and it couldn't possibly be that bad....Famous last words. That road is horrendous!

Nice hike though!

10 months ago

I did this on 7/15 as a day hike. The first 1,5 miles is on a dusty logging road. Once on the trail, it's mile after mile dense huckleberry bushes and forest. It finally starts to open up near the top of the ridge. The cirque holding both lakes is large and much nicer than the trail getting there. The way out went fast except for the last 1.5 miles on the sun baked dusty logging road.

Also, the GPS directions to the trailhead took me on a lengthy route on terrible roads. If you do this hike use the driving route as in Rich Landers' book 100 hikes in the inland NW I took that way out. Much nicer.

This is one I won't repeat.

Oh. The GPS trail tracking feature on the downloaded map worked great! I used it all day. I never would have found the trail without it. And it used almost no battery life. It was great. Thanks for that feature !!

This is no longer a trail. They decided to log the area and ruin it. I drove out on 7/12/17. And the start of the trail is now a gated rough dirt road marked for logging and says trail closed.

10 months ago

July 8, 2017. Hiked to all three lakes. Only a few small patches of snow left on the trail. Jumped into the upper and lower lakes and water was refreshing but not quite ready for swimming. The middle lake's trail was overgrown and had several trees down. Lakeside access was limited so was not impressed with the middle lake. Flowers are in full bloom especially the bear grass. Hike is moderate and scenic throughout.

10 months ago

Lots of snow as of June 23, 2017. Do not take Ruby Creek Rd to get to the trailhead. Your vehicle will hate you. It is rough, washed out and not maintained. The hike is beautiful and I would do it again.

Nice short hike. Beautiful lakes out there. Went in late June, still snow in the higher areas.

Beautiful forest trail and very easy hike! We backpacked in this past weekend and spent one night at Plowboy Campground on the south end of Upper Priest Lake. Nice little campground right on the lake with a very small beach area. Some of the sites have fire-pits and picnic tables too. Our site did not, but it was very roomy and set back in the trees with still a view of the lake. You can also go farther up the trail to Navigation Campground at the north end of the lake. Good for young families!

Monday, April 03, 2017

This hike is phenomenal. We took our 3 kids (9,8 & 7) to both the lower and middle lakes 3 times this last year. It's a regular hike for us now, and it's been a great place to pass time. My husband and I both love to shoot changing leaves, moss and fungi with our camera- as well as great panoramic views. We've uploaded some photos of our kids on the hike a couple of the times we've been there. It isn't extremely difficult if you're used to hiking with a wee bit of a climb. Just keep an eye on your kiddos- again- some may be just fine on a hike of this length- but others may have a hard time. Keep them close and have fun. Lots of great photo opportunities on this hike! We've uploaded some photos of our hike with our kids from the last 2 visits this past year.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

As of 11 October 2016, Roman Nose Lakes has snow on the ground. Road conditions most of the way were acceptable. The hike beyond the lower lake was through the snow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

little overpopulated for me, but great views and a hike that's not too difficult.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

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.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

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.

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