Upper Priest Lake Navigation Trail

EASY 27 reviews
#11 of 23 trails in

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.

9.8 miles
1,010 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly




mountain biking

paddle sports

trail running




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.

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

my wife and I did the hike during the week, and nobody else up there. easy hike for beginners. we saw lots of deer, heard elk, signs of bears.also it's more like 6 miles there from the Bear Creek trail head.

2 months ago

Backpacked in to Navigation campsite. Didn’t see anyone on the way except two dudes at the campsite. Saw lots of bear, elk, wolf sign but didn’t see anything. I would consider this trail a heavily traveled trail and difficulty level easy. We probably saw a few dozen people on our way out in Saturday. Granted it was memorial weekend. Beautiful area though.

2 months ago

Took a group of 7 on this trail before Memorial Day. Awesome hike, tons to see. The water level was really high at Plowboy so we kept going on to navigation trail. One other group was camping there. Nice outhouses and fire pits to use.
There was plenty of bear markings along the trail: fur patches, footprints, scat and a dead moose, but NO bears seen.

Monday, July 31, 2017

On this hot summer day, the breeze coming off of the lake was refreshing. The views are nice. The trail is easy to follow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beautiful forest trail and very easy hike! We backpacked in this past weekend and spent one night at Plowboy Campground on the south end of Upper Priest Lake. Nice little campground right on the lake with a very small beach area. Some of the sites have fire-pits and picnic tables too. Our site did not, but it was very roomy and set back in the trees with still a view of the lake. You can also go farther up the trail to Navigation Campground at the north end of the lake. Good for young families!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Walked to Upper Priest today. Great hike and very easy. We got to the lake and stepped down to the first beach we saw. A boat came down the shore and told us a bear was coming down the trail. Sure enough not 20ft. away a large black bear went by. made for a fast walk out. Was a beautiful hike.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pretty easy trail. The lake is beautiful when you get to it. We backpacked and camped 2.7 miles in at Navigation campground.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The hike was easy except for the Forrest fires in the area making breathing difficult. The lake was beautiful. I'm sure itnwouldnhave been gorgeous if it weren't tainted by smoke. The tra signs say 3 and 6 miles to the two different camp sites. We had a GPS with us and Ploughboh was 2.7
And Navigation was 5. Would like to go back in a clear day.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Good hike, easy trail.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

nice trail, i did it a few years ago

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretty and easy trail to Upper Priest. Nothing spectacular but a nice trail all the same.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Another scenic trail by Priest lake,Id. 2mi to the upper lake and 7 mi to the end. Great camping

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

An easy little trail. Fun for a family with younger kids. Nice view for the shore of the lake. There were some historical things to see along the way which made the trail more entertaining.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

My son and I did the first part of this trail as an overnight hike in June. It was pretty rainy and the trail was VERY muddy. We still had a great time, though. We camped 3 miles in at Plowboy Campground and had the whole place to ourselves. The campground was clean and had several amenities that made it attractive for families. The bear lockers and picnic table were much appreciated.

18 days ago

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday, August 22, 2013