Upper Priest River Trail

MODERATE 6 reviews
#3 of 19 trails in

Upper Priest River Trail is a 18.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bonners Ferry, Idaho that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
18.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,395 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

backpacking
3 days ago

Beautiful lush shady forest. The old growth cedars and hemlocks with gigantic ferns were amazing. The trail had a few down trees on the way there, but all the stream crossings except for 1 had very nice bridge/walkways on them. The trail crew came by the morning we were heading out and did a fantastic job clearing the trail of the down trees we encountered the day before. From the junction of trails #28 and #308 to the falls the trail crew said was pretty rough (which we thought was perfectly fine) but they said they had plans to work on it later this season in September. The waterfall was nice, but the trail itself was the highlight for my family. Enjoyed this hike VERY much!
Oh, and THANK YOU to the previous reviewer who told where the campsites were on the trail. It helped so much knowing mile points and where we could stop. 0.6 miles, 1.9 miles, 3.6 miles, 2 spots at 7 miles and 2 spots at the base of the falls. (The mile 7 campsites were much better than the base of the falls in our opinion)

hiking
24 days ago

Great trail and the ranking is accurate - moderate. The falls are BEAUTIFUL and I jumped in for a great photo op!

25 days ago

Love this hike, this is my first backpacking trip every year for the last 4 years. Very pretty and easy. Usually at least several downed trees to work around, but nothing too bad. Very well used and established trail. Be sure to make plenty of noise while you’re out. I usually run into black bears every year, and have seen a grizzly out here once.

backpacking
1 month ago

For those in Spokane who think you have to drive all the way to the Olympics or the North Cascades for giant trees and ferns fear not! Just 2.5 hrs from Spokane is Upper Priest River trail 308 to American Falls. It is 8 miles in through the US portion of the only snow-fed inland rainforest in the world!

The trail gains a little over 700 feet over its 8 miles, with most of that being in the last mile before the falls. There are established campground sites at 0.6, 1.9, 3.6, 2 at 7.0 miles and a few just at the base of the falls (though these are flooded at the moment due to high snow melt).

The trail has recently been updated with lots of new bridges over creeks and muddy sites (maybe end of last season) and there are bundles of wood all along the trail indicating more updates are to follow. There are well over a dozen downed trees across the trail, telling me FS has not yet been through, but the trees are easy enough to get around.

Overall, the trail is mostly flat with some ups and downs here and there. The scenery changes a fair amount, walking through ferns and next to 10ft trees, even a couple of swamps and about 6 creek/river crossings. There are definitely signs of wildlife (We saw bear, wolf, deer, elk and Caribou tracks).

Stay safe and enjoy! Also, if anyone does this trail and finds a size 8 steel men’s wedding band around mile 3.3/3.4...you know where to find me...

10 months ago

Great trail, has had a lot of quality work done recently to bridge some of the mud and there are big trees all the way to the falls. This one is enjoyable the whole way not just a destination hike. Not sure if they will remove it but the cover photo for this hike is not the American falls, it's granite falls by Roosevelt grove

hiking
1 month ago