Upper Priest Lake Navigation Trail is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bonners Ferry, Idaho that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length9.8 miElevation gain1,010 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyCampingFishingHikingMountain bikingWalkingRunningDog friendlyForestLake
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Free parking is available at Beaver Creek Campground. There are also vault toilets there.

Idaho Department of Lands at Cavanaugh Bay and Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Priest Lake District.

From Nordman, ID turn right toward Reeder Bay and continue north to Beaver Creek Campground. Turn into campground entrance and follow signs to trailhead parking.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (80)
Photos (83)
Activities (51)
Completed (142)
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Kaila Savage
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Hiking
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Zachary Johnson
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Hiking
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Kevin Lewis
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Hiking

I liked this trail. The best part was in the woods between the trailhead and the Plowboy campsite, in part, I think, because of the boardwalk thing that it had going on. In between the Plowboy and Navigation campsites, the trail follows the shore and gets a little rocky, but it was still enjoyable, overall. One thing to note is that it's requested that you fill out a pass at the trailhead, so make sure to bring something to write with to do so (I didn't, unfortunately). Near the Navigation campsite, there's a trail veering off to Plowboy Mountain. I'm looking forward to hiking that next season.

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Jeremy Endlish
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Backpacking

Very well marked trail that is also easy to drive to. The trail doesn’t afford many views but the forest itself is beautiful. Effectively no major elevation changes so you can move with a quickness. Very few boats on the water which added to a remoteness feeling.

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Vashti Oechsner Souza
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Hiking
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Ben Bb
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Backpacking

Beautiful place, almost completely empty, lots of trees blown down on the trail!

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Susannah Brister
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CampingBlowdownGreat!

Lovely, mostly flat trail - gets steeper after Plowboy campground as others have noted. A few blowdowns across the trail. Great experience camping at Navigation - only one other site occupied, and I found the best little tucked-away pebble beach for my spot. Lots of boats on the lake so doesn’t feel like “the wilderness, but a fun spot for a weekend outing.

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Beverly La Mar
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Mountain biking

This would be a nice trail for hiking but a challenging mountain bike ride. Started out great but then got really challenging about half way. Rocks, roots, side cliff.

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Sarina Hartsell
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HikingGreat!

Loved it. We did the Navigation Trail, that's the almost 5 mile hike one way.

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Tiffany McElroy
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Hiking

Beautiful, mostly flat, nicely marked

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Bruce Waddell
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Hiking
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JILL STEPHENSON
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HikingGreat!

I Just hiked this trail. Blow-downs mentioned in previous reviews have been cleared. The trail is in great shape. Both Plowboy and Navigation campgrounds had plenty of sites available. No potable water so bring your own. Bugs were mild. Beautiful, kid/pet friendly hike.

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Brian Rouse
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Hiking

06/07. A bit of blow-down. Otherwise well marked and nice trail. Not a lot of scenery save for a couple breaks in the trees where you can see the lake and mountains on the other side. Navigation campground was pretty nice. A few bear boxes, picnic tables, rock fire pits, and two out-houses. Mix of an acre of open land and wooded sites. A small stream on the north end of the campground in the woods.

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MJ Mousseau
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Hiking

Beautiful hike!

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rich hanson
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BackpackingBlowdownBugsMuddy

Hiked in on Friday intending to go to Navigation Campground. We got to Plowboy Campground and found a beautiful site and decided to use it as base. Bear boxes were at each campsite, but are big enough to be shared with other campers. One outhouse in good condition (no TP, carry your own). Bugs were mild on the trail and in camp. Fire rings and picnic tables at most campsites. Campsites here were mostly on the lake (beach) with a few in the woods just up hill. Beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Water was cold, but it is suppose to be this time of year. The trail in had about 10 downed trees, some to go over and a couple to scramble under. Also some soft (muddy) spots on the trail. The hike to Navigation Campground was really pretty along the lake. The hike to Plowboy mountain was more strenuous but worth it for some great views and light workout. At Navigation there were plenty of flat sites for tents but only a few fire rings. There were 2 outhouses, and about 4 bear boxes. Campsites here were in the woods and in clearing spots but none on the lake. It is easy to get to the lake (just about 50 feet away) and there is nice shade on the shore. From Navigation Trail head 3 miles to Plowboy Camp - relatively flat From Plowboy to Navigation 2.5 miles - flat at first with a short steep up and down to the camp From Navigation to Plowboy Mountain 3 miles of harder up trail (but worth it) We took our dog on the leash, there were plenty of other dogs on the trail and in camp as well. Be advised that the alternative way to access these camps is by boat, so the trailhead is not the only indication of how busy the camp may be.

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Wayne Peterson
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HikingBlowdown

Hiked to Plowboy for a lunch break, then the rest of the way to Navigation camp to overnight. Trail in great condition except for a dozen or so blowdowns. Few areas of mud, very little snow. A blowdown at the trailhead blocks the final 200 yards to the parking area. Forest Service obviously doing limited work due to the pandemic restrictions. Signage for six miles (12 round trip). Navigation camp was great, shared it with only one other person. Picnic tables, fire rings, outhouses in good shape. At least two bear boxes too. Great, beginning of season overnight as a shakedown cruise for ourselves and some new gear.

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Carla Rose
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Hiking

Hiked up to Plowboy, trail was very well maintained, hike was pretty easy and flat. Rumors of bear sighting recently although we never saw any. Great trail for the dogs too! Returned to our truck to find someone had opened the canopy but there was nothing but a dog bed to take.

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Todd Prizeman
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HikingMuddy
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Matt Mahan
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Hiking

A great easy trail for the whole family.

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Stewart Sacharuk
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Hiking

Beautiful well kept trail would recommend for a day hike or an over night stay, nice little camp grounds.

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MINDY HAYES
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Backpacking

Took the trail to Plowboy as my first solo overnight (+ dog). We were amongst several day hikers and a few campers. Plowboy was the perfect distance for a quick solo attempt. We shared the space with one other family who was very kind to share some of the fire wood they chopped up (thank you!!). Thankfully I did not encounter any wildlife but I did see bear sign on my way out. Most likely spooking them with my boring book on tape I had playing for noise assistance. Enjoyed the trail and all the people we encountered. Nice to see that everyone keeps clean camps and all those who hiked with pups were very respectful to keep them on leash.

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Shaun Tidball
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Hiking

Was a nice overnighter at Navigation campground. There was hardly any snow on trail and the mushrooms are just starting to emerge. I was surprised by how many people we ran into.

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Cathy Ramm
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Hiking

Nice easy trail thru the woods. It is muddy early spring, but great later in the season. Plenty of wildlife signs. Watch out for bear and moose in this area.

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Kristin Day
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We tackled the trail on mountain bikes with the family and it was great! The way in was challenging and rocky at times, (especially for the 9 year old) it was a great workout for sure. The enchanting woods and well kept trail transformed our Sunday afternoon into lasting family memories

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STALYON XOXO
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Hiking

A walk in the woods. Not a big elevation change so there is no excuse to not go. Bring water and a light snack to enjoy when you get to the upper lake. Be alert for moose & bear, make sure to give a few claps to make yourself known from time to time. This is one of our favs in the area and a must if you’re here.

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Randy Palmer
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Backpacking

Trail is an easy 6 miles to Navigation through heavy timber. Lots of game sign along the way. Mid week there were several other campers at both Plowboy and Navigation, but there are a lot of tent sites and a few picnic tables at both camping areas. Bring 100% deet because the mosquitoes are voracious the whole way. I should also mention the lake and views are gorgeous and easily worth the trip. Due to the ease of access both by trail and by canoe/kayak don't expect seclusion. If you are feeling adventurous, there is a trail that goes from Navigation up to the old lookout site. It's 3 miles up up up a fairly difficult trail. On a clear day the views from the old lookout site are spectacular. It's possible to camp there but bring water, or collect some back at the small tributary to Deadman creek (in June it was running swiftly with a small falls, at about 1.5 miles up). There was a fair amount of blow down in the trail and more on the less traveled 3 miles back down through the timber on the other side (also moderately difficult) which leads you to FS RD 1341 where you will find a decent camping area with plenty of water available, or continue on and hike the easy 3 road miles back to Beaver creek campground. I recommend shuttling a vehicle to that end of the trail instead of walking the road.

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Ingrid Maddox
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We hiked this heavily treed trail today and considered it to be an easy trial for the entire family, if you don’t go all the way to the Navigation camp-sites at the end of the trail. Differing mileage count among some of the hikers we met along the way. Weather was perfect for a casual day hike. We saw evidence of wildlife and laid eyes on a female pheasant with chicks. With recent rainstorms and a fair amount of muddy patches along the trail, the mosquitoes were voraciously attacking us throughout the entire hike (come prepared). Some nice views of upper Priest lake through the trees and at the Plowman camp-sites, although I’d have preferred a sub-alpine/alpine lake hike to this.

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