Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail

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Idaho Panhandle National Forest

Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail is a 9.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,404 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

A creek (with heavy flow in the spring) must me crossed to get to the trail (seasonal). The construction of this trail was completed 1982. The trail is in good condition. The forest service classifies this trail as a Moderate Use trail. At points, the trail is narrow with steep drop offs to the side. The trail is steep in some places and wet weather can make the trail slick. This is a hiking only trail and is closed to motorcycle and horse use.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

Easy to follow trail and well maintained/ Beautiful views for the first couple of miles, tad bit muddy, definitely recommend boots!

hiking
blowdown
snow
7 months ago

Great hike this sunny afternoon. It is a solid 4 hrs to the top and back down. How ever the over look is only an hour ish from the camp ground.

hiking
7 months ago

LOVED IT! We only had time today to trek about 30 minutes up, but my boyfriend and I both enthusiastically agreed that we need a rematch with this hike! At least speaking for the first portion of it that we covered today, there were some rocks, tree roots, etc... but enough variety that it was just FUN hiking! The weather was a little damp and cool this morning, so we did come across a few spots where it was important to pay attention to our footing (mainly on the bigger rocks) but all in all, that was a FUN start to the trail that we’re excited to come back very soon and explore more fully!! Our dog loved it too, although we didn’t run into anyone else (hikers or wildlife) for her to make friends with on this trip. Maybe next time!

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

This is a very good and challenging trail. Very nice views in the first few miles. We went when it was raining so it was cold but still very pretty.

hiking
8 months ago

Great, secluded hike through the forest. Begins at the Beauty Creek Campground.

hiking
9 months ago

Okay views the first couple miles. No real views beyond that. Trail was in great condition. Nothing technical at all. I’d recommend if you just need to put some training miles in.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked this yesterday. Beautiful hike, the views are amazing within the first two miles. The top was anticlimactic as there was no view. Trees were abundant and tall. Beginning of the hike was strange as the signs only said “trail”. No indication what trail it was. The only two signs designating the trail number were both near the top. Nevertheless, the trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Never saw any other other people on the trail.

11 months ago

Did this on June 26. Stream by TH bone dry. I hiked 4.8 mi to the forest rd and primitive campground just below Mt Coeur d Alene. Trail was in good shape with a few overgrown sections. Grade was mostly gentle with some short steeper areas. Not another soul on the trail. Views from a few switchback corners in the first 2 miles. After that the hike is mostly forested. Moderate due to rt distance.

mountain biking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
snow
Sat Apr 20 2019

biked the upper caribou loop as outlined on the MTB Project app. Should have taken a hint from the snow on the road...

hiking
muddy
Sun Apr 07 2019

Knee deep stream to cross before the trail starts (early spring) very beautiful area, little traffic.

Sun Aug 19 2018

It was a good hike, however I would rate it as easy to moderate. The camp ground where I parked was perfect for me, the trail wasn’t marked very well so I ended up exploring a bit more, nice switchbacks, very well maintained trails, and very popular....... many people were hiking it when I was there. Another great thing, the road into the camp ground is paved!

Tue Aug 14 2018

As everyone has said, the first two miles are hiked along a fairly narrow ridge with some challenging terrain. Afterwards the trail becomes well groomed for easy cruising. The dense

Wed Aug 08 2018

This was actually longer than stated (about 12 at least). Some nice ridge walking in the early part of walk. We were disappointed that there was no noticeable summit. Early August walk included lots of wasps/yellow jackets. Trail was quiet and easy to navigate. We would consider it a moderately difficult trail.

Fri Jun 22 2018

We are from Florida and have never hiked in Idaho before. If you’re not used to hiking on steep trails, I recommend some conditioning hikes before hitting this one. The reviews that mentioned the first two miles and the last mile being the most steep are very accurate. The trail is narrow for the first two miles, and there are some soft slide spots that could send you rolling downhill if you’re not careful. Overall, I would say the difficulty level of this trail is “moderate”, even for us flat-hiking Florida folks. The trail is very visible and well kept, making it difficult for those of us with no sense of direction to wander off. We saw many signs of elk including tracks and antler rubs on the trees. We also saw some bear scratch marks on a few trees. The forest is abundant with Swainsons Thrush, which create beautiful echoing songs through the trees. There are also ravens in the forest, and we saw and heard several. There are people who wrote reviews stating there is nothing to see on this hike, no grand view. That is simply false. As you climb higher, there is a breathtaking view of lake CDA off the northwest side of trail. I have posted a photo of it in this App. The trail is longer than what is listed in the description. We hit 5 miles on the GPS and still had not reached the turn around point towards the top. If you park inside the gate of Beauty Bay Campground, there is an $8 fee payable by cash or check. If it’s not a busy day, you can park outside the gate at the three parking spots in front of the trail head, or on the side of the road, and avoid the fee. Overall, this is a beautiful hike and a great workout. Enjoy.

Sun Mar 11 2018

Pulled in the Beauty Creek campground area and crossed a shallow creek to start the trail. Highly recommend wearing yaktracks or stabilicers right now. Nice hike in the trees but was expecting more views. Would rate this hike as moderate, not hard.

Sat Feb 17 2018

It’s a good ol’ hike in the trees, not much for views along the way though.

Wed Aug 09 2017

Please note that the trailhead is at a campground--very clean, picnic tables and a pit toilet--that has an $8 fee per vehicle for parking. The trail is mostly shaded so even on a hot afternoon, hiking up was not uncomfortable. Well-maintained, great views, but as has been mentioned, the trail forks near the top, which can be confusing (take the right fork).

hiking
Wed Jul 12 2017

Great trail. The switchbacks take the steepness out of the initial climb. If you are a person that doesn't like heights, then you may not like the first 1 to 2 miles because it is very steep on the downhill side of the trail. I would say it is a more moderate rated than difficult trail.

running
Tue Jul 04 2017

My favorite hike in CDA nat'l forest so far! Very beautiful incline up... perfect for avid trail runners. I thought the lake views were pretty decent for such a hike. Lush green forest and anti-climactic peak. Definitely more than 9.6 round trip, if you go up to Mt CDA. Roughly 12.3mi or more if you roam around the top for lookouts. Not for people that don't like a steep ascent/descent at the beginning and end of your trail. I would personally rate this moderate.

hiking
Thu Jun 22 2017

Great hike.

hiking
Wed Jun 21 2017

This was a challenging but fun hike. There are not any spectacular views and you are sharing the trail with mountain bikers.

hiking
Mon May 22 2017

Grueling, yet really fun hike. The total mileage is closer to 12 miles though, and there is no vista point at the top of the mountain to see the Lake.

hiking
Sun May 21 2017

Had a great time on a rainy Saturday morning just me and my dog on the turn around the sun came out I really liked this hike some pretty beautiful forest this time of year and great views of the lake.

hiking
Thu May 18 2017

I'm awestruck every time I experience this beautiful trail, and the wonders it has to offer. The beginning felt as if it was an adventure in its own right, crossing over a downed tree semi-submerged over a wild and frigid creek. During the winter months, the wild oasis nearly engulfs the entire tree-yet in the spring the water level is lowly enough to cross by foot. Though a narrow climb, you can take in the glamor of geological sights, as rocks protrude from the ground like ancient guardians looking to escape their earthly tombs. Moss seems to cloak their gnarled features like hair, ever so softly draping across the curvatures of long since distorted minerals veiling age old scars. During the spring, the soft sprout of wildflower awaken across these boulders with lively purple and yellow coloring. A promise of warmer temperatures, while the deluge of rain continues to pummel the region and sodden anything in it's wake. Upon the end of the steepest climb, your met with the thick forestry. Tree after tree surrounds the trail, and if in the rain thankfully acts as an umbrella throughout the journey. Here I was met with one such magnanimous ancient Woodland relic, one whom carried the etchings of initials from hikers past. Though the scarring of names seems juvenile in a sense, it was also a blessing to make note of whom came and went. Much less the same sentiment of astronauts or explorers planting a flag of their own nations on places unexplored. Here people took claim, to pronounce sternly, "I was here, and indulged in God's alluring creation.." I am reminded of walden, "a taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors."

snowshoeing
Mon Jan 09 2017

Beautiful snowshoe hike with amazing views of Beauty Bay and the Selkirk Mountains. Trail is very narrow. Great snowpack, and no one else on the Trail. We'll be back for sure!

hiking
Wed Aug 10 2016

Great trail that is pretty well maintained. The hike up itself is beautiful if you like paths through miss and pine trees. The top didn't have a clear view as expected though so that's a fairly big let down. good workout though. not a super hard hike. mostly walking after the initial climb. would recommend.

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