Explore the most popular birding trails in Kootenai 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.

Nice Hike, easy with some
views

hiking
9 days ago

It was short, but a little steep. My mother-in-law had a hard time going up, but the reward of the waterfall at the end was awesome, absolutely beautiful! It would have been nice to have some info about the trail at the trail head. All in all, I give it 3/5 stars.

Great easy hike! Beautiful and thankfully only saw a squirrel. Definitely want to do more hikes in this area.

It was wonderful just a couple tricky parts like when a tree fell down you had to go off trail.There we’re not ver y many camp sights but they were all very nice.There weren’t very many mosquitoes.The lake and the views were beautiful.We took our pug he did amazing.-Lucy (age 8)

hiking
17 days ago

July 2nd 2018, passable roads recommend four wheel drive. Great hike for families lovely views at the top of lake, gradual climb, easy hike, highly recommended but bear spray.

hiking
19 days ago

A group of us went through Clark fork and tried going to Lake Estelle up Lightning Creek about 8 Miles up the road is closed do to a washout. So we didn't make it in not sure if you can get in through the Trestle Creek route we'll have to try again later.

on Lake Estelle Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail, beautiful lake.
Long drive up a gravel and rock road, about 18 miles. The road is clear of snow and completely navigable today, June 17th. You’ll want a vehicle with some clearance. We were fine in a 2wd F150. The trail is at least 3 miles to Lake Estelle,seemed longer. Trail still has stretches of crusted snow, and plenty of water from melting snow on the trail. We were fine with regular hiking shoes but a waterproof shoe with Trax would be ideal for the next couple of weeks. There were several trees down across the trail. Great dog trail, we brought two. Nice spring flowers along the trail, great views the last 1/3 of the way to Estelle.

The only wildlife we saw was a moose on the drive in the Pack River, a weasel (pine martin?) and a few pikas. Recommend carrying a can of bear spray. Tried a few casts for trout on Lake Estelle, but there was absolutely no action. The lake and views were worth the drive and hike.

on Copper Falls Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Short and sweet!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome spring view of falls. Well worth the wading through the crowd of people kids & dogs to get to the “real” hike. No snow in trail today. You must be comfortable in using GPS because several spots you need to go “off trail” to find a log to walk across to get across the creeks.

This is one of the most memorable hikes by far!!! It starts in the parking lot your amazed by the view of the trail head “seriously breathtaking!!” Trail is clear and easy to navigate....until! Haha we ran into snow the trail disappeared luckily my wife noticed one other persons “footprints” going in. The snow was hard packed but at least 3 ft deep in some areas. I am 200 lbs my wife is 105 and got a kick out of me kept falling into holes up to my knees! We went about another mile in total of 2.5 at this time my wife had an encounter with a cow moose she spooked it ran to me and it ran up the hill after coming towards her. Lots of fallen cedars to take cover at this time we jumped on one and waited 10 minutes after we went back on trail at this time roughly 2.7 miles in the trail is washed out from the creeks over run from snow. We got to the final creek crossing and couldn’t cross due to the time we had and how high the water was. We returned back easy to back track with our foot marks in the snow. We got back. Will deff do this hike again. Highly recommend if you want to do all that you wait until at least end of may to middle of June. 5 stars for the views!

nice hike, trail hasn't been worked on this year.

An easy trail with excellent huckleberries. The lake warms up in late August!

hiking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Nice hike well worth the effort with a rewarding view of this beautiful mountain lake.

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

The cedars are enormous and beautiful. We didn't hike very much of the area, maybe 3 or 4 miles total since we started late in the day, but I want to come bike and hike the whole thing! This is an easy walk. And the creek is gorgeous!

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

Forest Service road about halfway to trailhead is washed out due to an avalanche, trailhead is not reachable June 2017.

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Breathtaking. You feel small walking among those trees.

hiking
Thursday, December 01, 2016

This place is unforgettable, when hiking in and around the giant cedars you'll think you stepped back in time. Very easy to hike, sometimes it can become busy but most of the times your alone in the cedars.

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Great moderate hike with a stunning variety of views.

hiking
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This hike goes through an old growth cedar ecosystem. It is a easy 2.8 miles to the first main creek crossing from the Ross Creek Cedars parking lot. After crossing the creek it is a short distance to the junction of trail 321 and 142.. Trail 321 heads up the south fork to the water fall. The last section is pretty steep and the tread reworked this summer. You go through a section that burned in 2015. The crew did a lot of work and a great job. I would rate the waterfall a 6 of 10. It is probably more spectacular earlier in the season. I had 4 miles on my gps to the water fall from the parking lot.

fishing
Monday, August 29, 2016

Lots of fish and the trail was pretty easy except the last mile which was pretty steep. Trail was well maintained

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nice trails. Well maintained and good signage

hiking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

With the traverse of the screw slope this trail should be rated difficult

backpacking
Thursday, August 11, 2016

this is an awesome hike for families with youth! the huckleberry picking was huge:-)
the usual road to get there was washed out and closed. so take Trestle Creek Road until it connects back to Lightning Creek Road. the signage is great! the last two miles are very rough. I would suggest a 4 wheel drive

hiking
Saturday, July 30, 2016

It was great!! The first part is really easy. The last mile pretty is rough. The trail crew was out working on it. The waterfall was nice but I would rate it a 6 out of 10.

camping
Sunday, October 04, 2015

Great spot. We planned on doing the whole loop over three days, but stuck to exploring Bear lakes. The hike into the lakes from the Bear Lake side has some good elevation gains, but nice and varied landscape. Middle Bear Lake provides an amazing overlook from the scree field above the lake. Good scrambles up scree fields and ridge lines. Didn't see a ton of wildlife. Went last weekend of September 2015.

camping
Friday, August 14, 2015

A great hike for families with children. It's almost 20 miles in from the highway to the trailhead, but the road was in good shape and well signed. It is a gentle climb most of the way, with lots of shade but also a few spots with expansive views. We went straight to Estelle and did not go to either Blacktail or Moose lake. There was one other car at the trailhead and we met the couple coming down. They said they'd camped at Moose lake and had a snorting moose close to their campsite overnight.

With children (7 and 9) carrying like packs we stopped probably six times for water/snacks. There were a couple of places with trickling water, but we started out with enough to get us to the lake. It took us about 3 hours to get there, but again we had lots of stops and were chatting the whole way.

After curving around and making a final small elevation gain we reached the beautiful lake. There is room to camp right at the end of the trail next to the lake, but 3-4 other sites to the right, crossing the outlet stream. There are fire rings but restrictions were in place. The lake was crystal clear we spent most of the rest of the day swimming, floating around on driftwood we pulled in, and sunning ourselves on the rocks. We explored a bit along the shore but were pretty happy to hang out.

The fish began to jump in the late afternoon and we lost the sun behind the mountain around 6. A couple on a day hike arrived around 5 and spent about an hour, but we were alone the rest of the time. After hanging our food (bear country), we spent a quiet night and headed back down the next morning. It was an hour faster going down (2 hours) than coming up but we were not moving very fast.

This was a great hike for our family and we would do it again. We saw a moose and black bear on the road a few miles before the trailhead, but made lots of noise on the trail so no large mammals to report.

hiking
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nice Day Hike...Up and back can be done in about 5 hours. It's about 6.5 miles RT from the parking lot. About 2 miles from the South Fork Trail head. There is a pretty steep section about 2/3 of the trail in but the first part of the trail is easy. 2 water crossings: one over a huge tree about 10 ft over the water--added a nice touch of adventure. Moderate rating for the hike overall as it's not an easy stroll --although it's a pretty mellow hike for the first half, the steep portion about 2/3 of the way in was not short! This trail follows Ross Creek the entire way. The trail begins about 2 miles along the Nature Trail through the Scenic Area. Begin this hike by fording Ross Creek. Trail 321 is overgrown and somewhat difficult to find, but once located, the trail is easy to follow to a waterfall and potential campsite. The side slope is eroded in a few places and should be hiked with caution.

hiking
Monday, March 24, 2014

I first went to Troy in 1973 to work for the Forest Service and called it home until I relocated to the Carson City/Lake Tahoe area in 1989. If it's an outdoor activity, you can do it here.

hiking
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Very nice trail with access to several mountain lakes. Mostly shaded trail, but relatively few muddy spots. There can be bears in this area so make noise. Beautiful country.

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