Loon Lake Loop Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Warren, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length11.9 miElevation gain1,295 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (5)
Contact
Tips

Hikers/walkers usually start from Chinook Campground and loop across the campground bridge to Loon Lake and return over the CCC Bridge and up the Secesh River. It is about 10 miles round trip. It is about a mile, either way, to the bomber crash site from the Loon Lake outlet.

Contact the McCall Ranger Station, Payette National Forest, Idaho, telephone #208 634-0400 for maps, fire info, and camp ground availability.

Depending on the seasons' snowfall, the trails are usually clear by July and open through September, sometimes a little longer. It gets cold in October. Clothing depends on the weather, but it usually freezes at night all summer. Thunder storms are possible at any time. Take drinking water with you as none of the ground water in this area is safe to drink without filtering or boiling. Wild animals, including moose, elk, deer, bear, wolves, cougars, river otters, pine marten, and others are in the area. I have seen both moose and river otters in Loon Lake and at the Chinook Campground in the river. Salmon usually arrive in the middle of August. This is also "Bear Country". Be aware that wolves are very territorial and may attack any dogs with you. Moose cows with calves may attack anything. Don't push your luck with moose! Read and abide by the information at the trail heads on how to interact with horses and pack stock you may encounter. There is no cell phone service in the area. Contact the McCall Ranger Station, Payette National Forest, Idaho, telephone #208 634-0400 for maps, fire info, and camp ground availability.

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Reviews (65)
Photos (182)
Recordings (37)
Completed (151)
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Kathy Merida
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
Blowdown

Warning!! There were high winds in the area a couple of days before we hiked. About 2 miles from the trailhead on the river side of the loop there is serious blowdown. Goes on for probably .25 miles. Hopefully, it is cleared out soon but it is difficult to get through in the meantime!

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Nicole Huff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful lake! The hike to the bomber is difficult and hard to navigate. Def recommend hiking sandals and hiking poles to get to the crash site. You will be hiking through mud and swampy areas. Careful where you step as there are also spots that are just deep holes where you could easily fall into if you are not paying close attention. On the way back from the bomber we just decided to hike through the lake along the edge. This was manageable with the hiking sandals and poles and water stayed around knee height. Since we had backpacked in, we had the pleasure of experiencing this lake for two nights. We even got to observe a young moose take an evening swim across!

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Luke Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2020

Great trail take the river for the beautiful scenery or take the high trail across the bridge to get to the lake quick. if hour looking for the downed plane take the trail to duck lake just past the lake there will be a split take ths left trail you will cross several downed trees then come to a campsite. after you take the creek side trail to the left you will cross a creek. (there is two trees that you'll walk across.) continue on the trail and you will find the plane.

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Family of Free
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Backpacking

On August 11th my husband, 11 month old, red heeler and I set off to Seasash, ID to backpack to Dragon Bomber Crash. To get there you must hike to Loon Lake first, where we camped. Which the first hour was a study incline. Very well maintained train, man made bridges over all bodies of water. The views were beautiful heading up to the lake. The trail is clear of logs now, you can tell they were recently cut. This trial was a good one. At the lake there were huge toads everywhere. There were a handful of campsites at the lake that were such beautiful views, but expect visitors. This was one of my favorite alpine lakes we have been to this year. To the Dragon Bomber crash we went right and crossed a little river. The first portion of the trail was beaten down well, boulders stick out of the trail, but easy to walk over. The second portion you practically lose the trail and are ankle deep in marshy water. You must climb over large trees and truck through incredibly over grown under growth. We definitely recommend wearing hiking sandals if you have them, and wear pants. This trail was definitely on the difficult spectrum. Once you get to the crash, it is absolutely beautiful. My husband was a helicopter mechanic in the Army and his father is a plane mechanic in Twin Falls. So planes are special to our family. It’s not scraps of a plane, it’s the entire plane. Definitely worth hiking too. The way back we made the loop and attempted to cross the water that is possibly 5 feet deep. We were lucky, there happens to be two logs that went over the water portion and we never touch the water. The rest of the hike is very maintained and easy. If you decide to go that way from the beginning you do not want to go all the way to loon lake. You want to go towards duck lake when you get to that fork. There are signs at the forks. It started to rain and the wind was intense, so we decided not to stay the second night. We headed back to our truck around the loop. The “last portion” or our first portion was on a cliff edge with little to no shade. If you pass the CCC bridge going up that is your last chance for water and shade before the lake. There are a few inclines going this way, but they were steep. After the CCC bridge you are following the river on a cliff edge “the beginning if you are starting in that direction” this way is much more of a rocky trail than the other side. This way we would have to say was much harder and longer. Over all this was such a fun backing trip. And definitely recommend at least hiking to loon lake. We have a YouTube channel #FamilyofFree or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuqAytrT-U1vlphR3WWujJw #Familyoffree https://youtu.be/p89uc9RyEco

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Farzan F.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingMuddyOver grown

the hike to lake is somewhat easy. it is not too steep and mostly shaded. however hiking from the lake to the bomber is a whole different adventure. there isn't any trail, it is muddy, wet, grassy and pretty hard. it worth it to go there and see the bomber. I say, it is a one and done kinda deal. the best way would be to pack a raft and go across the lake.

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Breanna Boutte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Backpacking

Fun trail :) easy to follow, we went left on the way there and took the same way back, a little steep part but overall not bad. Lots of little flowers :)

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Rachel Smullin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 24, 2020
HikingBugsFlooded
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Brianna Albright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2020
Horseback riding

Forest service says this trail was maintained in March of this year which appears to maybe have jumped the gun. We only took the route with bridge as once we made it to the lake and we’re coming back didn’t want to run into trees down making the trail impassable on the steep and narrow trail on the other side of the loop as we had young horses with us this time. There were some trees down but nothing we couldn’t get over/around until we got to the lake. Was really excited to see the huge trees right at that last bridge crossing were cleared but we were unable to get to the lake because of downed trees. This is one of our favorite “local” rides, it’s a 3 hr drive each way for us but it’s something we try to do once a year.

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Aimee Rollins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020
BackpackingBlowdownBridge outFloodedMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleSnowWashed out

This would be such a great place if the trail around the lake was assessible, but most of it is underwater and the crossing for the outlet is non-existent. We tried to find a route to the bomber around the side of the lake we could access and wound up scrambling across a marsh that was so tough to navigate we had to bushwack up the morrain to another trail just to return to our campsite. The fishing was terrible, we had people choose to camp right next to us when there were other campsites available, and were frustrated with the numerous trails that simply dead ended into down trees. Maybe this is better in the summer if the water in the lake drops, but definetly don't recommend this trail as it stands now.

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Kathy Merida
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2019
Hiking

Great hike in mid September. We went clockwise. I think next time I would go along the river both ways. Not a difficult hike just long. Didn't bother with going to the bomber.

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John Mcgowan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 28, 2019
HikingNo shade
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Patrick Leminous
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2019
Hiking

Another trail best hiked clockwise if you want to enjoy it at its fullest. Along the stream is well shaded and cool, and Loon lake has a few sandy spots to refresh your feet before the hard walk back to Chinook campground. Don’t waste your time wading through high grass and swampy ground to reach the old crashed bomber site which offers not much more than a carcass of twisted metal. Returning to the trailhead is an ugly dusty walk through fallen pine trees ( old fire or beetle infestation?) offering no shade for nearly 2 hours.

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Del Kauf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2019
Hiking

The little loop around the lake is not well maintained. Going counter clockwise, be sure not to miss the turn to your left as the trail continues on straight. From the campsite there are a couple options of getting to the plane. I walked through the marsh to the lake shore. You can see the plane shining from there. There's a sandbar you can walk on and get back to the trail. It was thigh deep though. Another time I was glad to have Chacos! On the way back, I followed the trail and it leads to a log that crosses over the creek and back to the campsite. Unfortunately, the balancing sticks were on the other side and I fell in. Pretty wobbly. I didn't continue the loop from the plane because the trail seemed very nonexistent. Some locals told me it involves lots of bushwhacking. The main loop is in great shape and the hike is very pretty.

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Brian Marshall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2019
Hiking

This is a really gorgeous hike even if you don't end up at the crash site itself, but there are a couple things that surprised us that people should know before venturing out. The hike is listed as between 11-12 miles. Plan on doing about 14-16 miles total, whether you do a full loop or go up and back the same route. A couple people at the Secesh Stage Stop mentioned that getting to the plane itself adds about 2 miles each way to your total distance, so especially if you spend some time on side trails, you could approach 18-20 miles total fairly easily before making it back. The map at the start of the trail is way too basic to use for guidance, especially as there are very poor markings on the trail for most of the way. In particular, there was a completely unmarked T-intersection on Trail 81, and without a physical map we made an educated guess that the way to go was to take a left. This ended up being the right decision but we could have easily gone miles out of our way down the wrong path. My group of 4 preferred Trail 80 overall, which is the one that follows Secesh River. It has an added benefit of being better marked and nearly a straight shot to Loon Lake. Trail 81, on the other hand, takes you uphill right away and then gradually descends to Loon Lake over 5 miles. Taking Trail 80 back down leads to a slightly easier loop as it has more downhill and flat sections. Due to time constraints, we didn't make it to the crash site, but will be back in the future to complete that part. Still a great day, and we could see the tail section from across the lake. There is no obvious route to this part, so just choose a starting spot that looks promising and make your own trail. The most important thing to know when taking this trail is that it will be longer than you think and will take you more time than you probably thought it woud, depending of course on group endurance and number of breaks taken. Do yourself a favor and plan on leaving the trail head no later than 10 AM, so you have time to explore and don't end up arriving back at your camp when darkness is falling (as we did ...) It's a really gorgeous hike, though, and *well* worth the time and effort.

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Rusty Randolph
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2019
Backpacking

Don't do this in June if you want to see the plane! The trails were in great shape but once you go off trail it becomes very difficult. We came in on the west side of the lake (the so called easier route). We vowed we would not return that way. Found a little patch of dry land just south of the plane. Dubbed it "Broken Shovel Camp". Accessing the lake for water was such a chore due to the swamp like conditions and fallen logs. We made our way out on the east side of the lake. Any place that did not have fallen logs to climb over was a swamp. We bushwhacked our way straight to the trail leading to the Secesh and almost could not cross Loon Creek at that point because it was a raging river. Luckily we found a log big enough too cross. We were pretty beat up after nothing but log hopping and zig zagging around a maze of fallen trees and swamps. This would probably be a 5 star trail in August, but if your main objective is to see the plane, June is just too early.

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Felicia Pacheco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 13, 2019

Enjoyed every minute of it!

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Christina Slocum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 2, 2018
Hiking

4th of July weekend. It was Hot! Very little shade do to the Fire and all the burnt trees. We did the loop and and on the way back the trail got narrow a bit and at times the trail had a high cliff going down to the river. We had to keep moving out of the way for Motorbikes. It was tough when the trail was so narrow. We also seen a few Motorbikes that had fallen down the steep cliff and were left next to the river. The lake was so beautiful and crisp cold, so it was refreshing. We didn't make it to the plane due to flooding. Will try and go back when it is cooler and hopefully see the plane.

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Tori Nicole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2018
Backpacking

Backpacked in over Labor Day weekend. We went counter-clockwise, starting with crossing the bridge at the trailhead. Trails were well maintained, but exposed because of the fire, so it was HOT. Once we got to the loop to go to the plane, the trails were a disaster. Continuing counter-clockwise there's a fallen tree that you have to climb over about every 5 feet or so, and then if you go the other way it's a complete marsh with no clear trail and even more deadfall to climb and navigate over. Kind of an ass-kicker on the way back, but that's probably because our morning started with 1.5 hours of navigating through the marsh and deadfall so we were already tired. Fun trip though, plane was cool.

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Rebecca Martin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 25, 2018
Hiking

My husband and I did this trail 25 years ago, all the way to the bomber. We did it again this year and again went all the way to the bomber. Humans have destroyed the bomber and sadly it’s nothing more than a shell. 25 yrs ago we were able to go in the completely intact fuselage, now there is little of it left. Despite the destruction I would highly recommend the trip around the lake to the crash site. It really gives you a perspective of what the crew went through when they crashed. We did the trail clockwise 25 yrs ago and went counter clockwise this time. I would recommend going counter clockwise.

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