Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail

HARD 43 reviews

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.

9.6 miles
2,404 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



trail running





wild flowers


The trail is a 9.2 miles round trip out-and-back with great views of the Beauty Creek Campground & Lake Coeur d'Alene. Huckleberries bushes are along the trail. 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.

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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.

7 months ago

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

Wednesday, August 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).

Wednesday, July 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.

trail running
Tuesday, July 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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Great hike.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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

Monday, 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.

Sunday, 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.

Thursday, 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."

Monday, January 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!

Wednesday, August 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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Comfortable medium length hike

This is a very comfortable trail to hike. The trail is well maintained and clear, it is mostly shady, its grade is consistently pleasant, it doesn't have any unusually steep parts, and its quick to get to from the highway.

What would make it better are some views. There are a couple places you can see a view, but they are partially obscured by trees and not that great. The trail also has no water (it is currently mid July).

I started on the trail right by the beauty creek campground. There is a small parking lot just before you enter the campground with a sign that says trail. I parked there and took that trail.

There are a couple junctions that are unsigned or the sign has fallen down. Just use common sense. If you are going up, continue on the trail that climbs, don't take the one that leads back down a different way.

My GPS measured there and back at 11 miles.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A couple beautiful views on the first mile, then takes a while to get to the top where there wasn't much of a view. Still a good peaceful hike.

mountain biking
Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fun fun fun

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Great trail, but really steep and dangerous cliffs on the last two miles of the trail but its super fun

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great hike thats very close to mineral ridge. It's an uphill climb for the most part to the top. Went 3 miles before turning around and really enjoyed the views. Very enjoyable trail in nice shape. Lots of steep drop offs but nothing unsafe. Looks like trail goes on for a long ways and would love to make it further.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A nice out-and-back trail from Beauty Creek Campground. The trail is in great shape, a few places with minor exposure, but overall very few obstacles. Great views of Lake Couer d' Alene for the first few miles. You reach FR 438 in 4.6 miles, which makes a good turn-around spot, or continue Trail 79 to summit Mount Couer d' Alene. Good view points at mile 2 if you don't want to complete the entire length.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

If you can get across the creek at the start this is a great hike up a ridge with wildflowers and great views. Best time is probably July-September.

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