Pend Oreille Pathfinder Loop

EASY 19 reviews

Pend Oreille Pathfinder Loop is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Newport, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
875 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

skiing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

over grown

Pend Oreille County Park has over 7 miles of dirt trails in an old growth forest setting. This hike outlines the largest loop possible in the park. The route follows three of the named trail sections: Pathfinder, Big Sky Loop and Orion's Path. There are a number of shorter loops as well as out-and-back hike options. The park map has an intuitive route system where each intersection is numbered. If you lose your way, hike until you encounter a trail intersection with a numbered marker to find your location on the park trail map. There is a pdf version of the map available on the Pend Oreille County website, and a photo of the map is also included here. Approximate locations of the numbered intersections have been added as waypoints for convenience. Each trail section has a creative name that adds charm to the park. Names include Big Sky Loop, Pathfinder, Veronica's Prom, Pentstemon Point, Arrowleaf Ridge, Ginger's End, Powerline, Ladyslipper, Firetrail and Orion's Path. This full loop takes in most of the best views in the park. Most of the trail is heavily forested, so there are not many open, panoramic views. This is a good place to come on a hot day because there is very little sun exposure. Many trails are very overgrown, which can lead to mild frustration. Trust the map and push through the short sections of head-to-toe thickets to continue. There are a few true dead ends in the trail system, so be aware of where those occur. In addition to trails indicated on the park map, there are at least two other significant sections not mapped. You will know the unofficial trails by their lack of numeric markers at the intersections. The best place to park is at the day use area. It is located at the first right turn after the park entrance. There is no fee, but donations boxes are on site.

hiking
25 days ago

Quiet peaceful hike with no signs after the first. Recommend late spring or early summer and bring your tent. First 200 yards or so up steeper hill.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked the Big Sky Loop as described in Rich Landers' "Day Hiking Eastern Washington." Don't try to hike any trails here without the park map, as out on the trail, there are no signs with trail names, directions, or distances. Trail junctions simply have a number, which corresponds to a name and path on the park map. Overall, it was a great hike. The single track trails were very lush and thus very overgrown. Orion's Path (trailhead not marked at all, but about 50 yards down the paved road from the entrance parking lot, on the left, with a post with a dirty reflector on it) had seen a lot of heavy equipment work, presumably to clear blowdowns, and it sometimes was difficult to follow. The rest of Big Sky Loop was spectacular. Beware, though, that the part of the Big Sky Loop trail, to which the Penstemon Point half-circle loop attaches, is virtually impossible to find. It appears all the foot traffic just goes to Penstemon Point. Going on Big Sky Trail counterclockwise, you could see the Big Sky Trail by a post with a red and white marker on it, just off the heavily used trail, to your left. Coming clockwise, the junction is pretty invisible. It was marked with a rock cairn, which has been knocked down, and you may miss that if your attention is drawn to another red and white banner/marker on a tree just a few yards farther along. (Following that portion of the trail requires well-developed trail finding skills.) There are only a few of these seemingly new red and white tape/banner/markers wrapped around trees (they weren't there several years ago), and they simply indicate to you in which direction a numbered trail junction lies, nothing else; not the trail you're on, not the name of the trails at the numbered junction, not distances either way. Having the county trail map is a must, and having a reliable compass, and knowing how to use them together, helps a lot, especially as there are a number of unnumbered offshoot trails not on the map. Keep your eyes up. Some number posts are not right at the junctions; e.g., clockwise on Big Sky Loop, post numbered 12 is farther along that trail, just visible, past the junction with Powerline Trail. It appears Veronica's Prom trail, which would have been at numbered post 4, is no longer used. It shows no sign of usage, and a red and white marker on a tree with several junction directions indicated has a cross or "X" thru/over a depiction of marker 4, sort of like an international "NO" symbol. Again, overall, a beautiful, lush hike with easy/moderate elevation changes, and some great views from the northern sections of Big Sky Trail and Penstemon Point. There is water available at the camp/picnic grounds, and at the clockwise beginning of the Big Sky Trail.

hiking
Monday, July 31, 2017

This is a nice trail for an old growth forest experience. There are satisfying elevation changes, but it is not a difficult hike. I explored nearly every trail in the park including those not mapped. My main complaint is that many trails are very overgrown. With regular trail maintenance this could be a far more excellent hiking destination.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nice trail great views. Trail does need some brush trimming. Description needs to include the loop.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

awesome trail. The scenery is remarkable!

mountain biking
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

good nature campground and trails

Sunday, August 07, 2016

We hiked and picniced there. A great Place to relax and enjoy the day.

snowshoeing
Sunday, April 24, 2016

great place to snoshoe

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Love it! Beautiful place!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

hiking
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

recorded Pend Oreille County Park

hiking
Monday, August 05, 2013