Fault Lake is a 12.4 mile out and back trail located near Sandpoint, Idaho and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,831 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

lake

hiking
7 days ago

Gunsight Creek flowing high and fast right now, crossing could be sketchy. May need to wait a few weeks for safer minded hikers. Some of the road up had puddles with larger rocks in them. Definitely suggest high clearance vehicles on the way up.

hiking
8 months ago

Such a fun hike. Spring, the rivers are high and make for adventurous crossing! Fall, the huckleberries are fresh, if you can beat the bears! We’ve gone a few times a year the last two years and it’s always gorgeous and a fun day hike - hang out for lunch, hit the ridge, and back before evening!

hiking
8 months ago

This was a great trail, well maintained. I only saw 7 people and half those where campers at the top. The lake is beautiful, views are great. This hike is dog friendly and not to difficult, I did it out and back same day. The road is really rough getting to the trail head; I would definitely recommend an SUV with higher clearance.

hiking
off trail
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Wonderful day quiet only saw 4 people in 8 hours just what I needed. The fish were biting just about anything you tossed at them

hiking
9 months ago

We noticed 4 different kinds of mushrooms, 2 different species of ant colonies, and some fragrant, beautiful pine cones. Silent and undistrubed trail-- we only saw 4 other people on the trail. The huckleberries and thimbleberries along the way were delicious but they were mostly toward the second half of the hike. The lake was marvelously quiet. Notice- the road wasn't fun in the minivan but we made it all the way to the parking lot, taking it slow. For those looking for mushrooms: amanita muscaria

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

Moderate hike to a beautiful lake with great views along the way. I brought my dog and there were several others at the lake, be aware the first water on the trail isn't until about mile 3 which might be a stretch for your dog on a hot day.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

11 months ago

I had read reviews and trail descriptions prior to departing for this hike and did not see any mention of needing a high clearance vehicle for this hike. I wanted to make sure no one else made this mistake! I was in a rental, so a little more cautious, but the Ford Fiesta bottomed out more than once trying to reach this trail! The last mile to the parking area has posted signs stating a high clearance vehicle and 4WD are necessary to access the trail head. So I unfortunately wasn’t able to complete this hike! Bummer!

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

June 21 - 2019. We were planning on staying the weekend, but the forecast was not good, so we decided to do it in one day. Crossing the river at the trailhead was a challenge. We did get out feet/boots wet. There were a couple waterfalls that were gorgeous this time of year. Going up was very foggy but once we were at the top the sun tried to come out. Going down the fog had lifted just enough for us to see the surrounding mountains. There are only 2 areas for a tent, a bear box, and a beautiful small lake. By the time we got back to the trailhead there were vehicles everywhere along with all there car camping gear and loud music. We could barely get to our vehicle. 6.5 miles was easy if you were going to stay overnight. 13 for round trip was definitely an exhausting day but well worth it!

horseback riding
11 months ago

The gnarly water crossing at the trailhead is a good indication of the trail ahead for riders. While most of the trail was an easy climb, I would not recommend taking horses all the way up to the lake. The last section of "trail" before the lake is rock, making it difficult for horses to gain traction as they attempt the steep climb, even leading them as we did. There are also some very narrow passages between large rocks. The views were beautiful and, except for the rock section where we questioned our sanity, we had a great day. The lake itself is small with minimal space for our lunch break, but we had it all to ourselves on a Saturday afternoon. We did have a bear drop out of a tree right in front of us on the trail after the second 'real' water crossing but that's the only real wildlife we saw. We parked about a mile past the road leading to the trailhead on the main road, making our total ride about 18 miles and it took us about 6-7 hours including our lunch break.

backpacking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

The trail was in good shape with no snow. I would rate as hard due to the steepness and rocky terrain. There was some snow at the lake and the main campsite was very muddy. We camped on the cliff overlooking the lake and absolutely breathtaking (see picture). It is a hike worth taking on a yearly basis.

hiking
bugs
snow
Sat May 04 2019

Absolutely beautiful area, but there is a reason it's suggested as a June-October trail. Made it to about a mile from the lake before runoff streams below snow made continuing on inadvisable. The trail was snowy but passable up until that point where it became pure slushineering. Definitely recommend waterproof shoes and potentially snowshoes this time of year. Or just...you know, wait. Extremely active bear area. We saw prints from up to four different bears, including evidence that at least one was a Grizzly. Some of their tracks crossed our tracks from the previous day, so please use caution and DEFINITELY tie up your food. Also, as early in the year as it is, saw four ticks, so please be aware of this. Gorgeous hike, can't wait to come back and see the lake.

hiking
Sat Mar 09 2019

This hike was beautiful! There wasn’t a lot of shade in the middle half of the trail, so bring sunscreen!

hiking
Mon Oct 22 2018

A great destination for an overnight trip.

hiking
Wed Oct 03 2018

Pros: Longer hike for those looking for a challenge, gradual incline, breathtaking rock surrounding the lake Cons: can be tiring, many spots on upper trail and by lake are un protected, not very many potential campsites I did an overnight trip here in early Oct 2018. I carried a full backpacking load up the (7 miles) trail to the lake. I did pretty well pace wise until the last 1.5 miles or so, when the incline increased a bit and the altitude became more of a factor. That being said, I was blown away by the scenery, especially the rock formations, surrounding this lake. Definitely in my top 3 for North Idaho alpine lake scenery. The first half of the trail is goes through lush forest, and in the fall, is awash in yellows and reds. As a backpacker, I recognized the scarcity of potential camp sites by the lake, and while I was alone this time, I would attempt to arrive at the lake early in peak season. The lake shore is rather unprotected, and there aren't that many options for gathering deadfall for firewood. At 14 miles round trip, this trail is not for the endurance challenged, though it is achievable with proper pacing. Some of the creeks that you cross on the way up may be dry in Summer, so bring water. Overall, I highly recommend this trail for fit hikers. At one point the road advises "high clearance vehicles only" , however this is only partially true. A cautious driver could get a van or some similar vehicle to the trailhead, in my opinion ---- Update Aug. 2019. Trail was hot and bringing water, despite creeks available for fill, is recommended. Due to wet Summer, berries were plentiful along trail as were mushrooms.

backpacking
Tue Sep 11 2018

Did this trail as an overnight. Saw a few other hikers and Hunters. Everyone was very polite and had great trail etiquette. The hike itself is a constant incline so if anyone you are going with isn't in decent shape it will be strenuous and potentially slow going. The views are totally worth it a highly recommend. There is a bear box provided which was very appreciated. At the lake there are limited options for pitching a tent so get there first if it's a popular weekend.

running
Fri Aug 31 2018

Steady grade up. Take a dip in the river at the bottom.

Mon Aug 27 2018

Great trail, moderate hike but long

backpacking
Thu Aug 23 2018

great hike and very gradual elevation gain. there are excellent place to camp and the snow is pretty much gone. I would recommend a fly pole because there is plenty of good fishing.

backpacking
Mon Jul 09 2018

The trail is very nice. A little steep in some places but not bad at all. The views are wonderful once you reach the lake. If you're up for a good challenge, try and climb Hunt peak as well!

Mon Jun 25 2018

This was my first backpacking hike of the year. It was a bit of a challenge for me, (the last 2 miles). (I am old and out of shape. :) ). It was beautiful at the lake. There was still snow at the top. That made finding a spot for tents more difficult. Camped down by the waterfall. Falling asleep to the sound of rushing water was amazing . I am glad we went.

backpacking
Sun Jun 24 2018

This hike was a lot of fun. It is a gradual incline the whole way in, but my two ten year olds were able to do it with small packs on. There was still a lot of snow at the lake and the winds made it really chilly. However, we found a place to camp and had a great time. Memories were made!

backpacking
Tue Jun 19 2018

June - Late Spring/Early Summer I’ve hiked to a quite a few places in the Selkirk mountains, and Fault Lake definitely provides some of the best to be offered. The trail itself isn’t too difficult, like others have noted it is a steady incline for the majority of the hike. The last mile to the lake is a little steeper, but not too technical. There are several stream crossings, with the worst being at the trailhead and will require you to get your feet wet, so plan accordingly. It can get a little difficult to follow the trail as you get closer to the lake, but there are a few cairns to assist in the more questionable areas. The lake and surrounding area are beautiful even this time of year, but it was a bit colder and there was a lot of snow. The majority of the lake still had ice floating in it. All the snow made finding a campsite difficult, and even the site we did find was still wet on the ground. We did also encounter a few ticks, but only on our dogs. All and all a good lake, but I’d recommend maybe waiting until July for some of the snow to melt.

hiking
Tue Oct 10 2017

Scenic once you gain some elevation and break out of the forest. Not overgrown now. A couple nice camp sites and a Bear box. We climbed to the saddle and around with the idea of heading to Hunt Peak. There's no trail, of course, and the terrain makes it slow going. Cat II & III on the back side of the left horn of the saddle. Fun but we had a late start from the TH so we turned back before the ridge. Maybe another time. Creek was flowing.

backpacking
Tue Sep 26 2017

By far my fav. The 6.3 mile hike in was difficult for me but so worth it to see the view. You can also take a day hike from fault to hunt lake. It was a little long but very pretty.

hiking
Sat Sep 16 2017

Great hike with a little side hike up to the peak above Hunt Lake for some awesome views. First four miles is a bit blah but after that things get pretty nice. Great trail pretty easy.

hiking
Fri Aug 25 2017

They have cut out the trail. It was a great hike!! One for the memory bank!

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