Hiking Idaho

9:27 a.m. on February 12, 2013 (EST)
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This topic was started on another post titled Sellway-Bitterroot Wilderness but thought I'd open up the area (the whole state).  Looking for a hike that would give me glorious scenery, not too afraid of elevation gains, love water, fear falling off the side of a mountain so the hike needs to be relatively "safe."  Thanks so much!   --Donna

1:01 p.m. on February 12, 2013 (EST)
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One of my favorite hikes in Northern Idaho is the Long Canyon Loop.

Excerpt from - 100 hikes in the inland Northwest by Rich Landers, Ida Rowe Dolphin and the Spokane Mountaineers.

Round trip 35 miles 
Hiking time 4-5 days
High point 7,200 feet
Elevation gain 5,360 feet
Moderately difficult
Hikable July through September
USGS Smith peak, Pyramid Peak, Shorty Peak, Smith Falls
Information: Kaniksu National Forest, Bonners Ferry Ranger district

This is a classic backpacking trip, leading up beneath ancient cedars and hemlocks through one of the last unlogged drainages of the American Selkirks. Then it climbs to a lake studded ridge and plunges back to the Kootenai river valley. Long Canyon is flanked by two of the three highest mountains in northern Idaho, Smiths Peak at 7,653 feet and Parker peak at 7,653 feet. Within the canyon are four lakes, reached only by difficult bushwhacking from the main trail through dungeons of devils club. Long Canyon Creek holds some small rainbow and brook trout. The main Long Canyon trail, called Canyon Creek trail No. 16, has been rebuilt and maintained since the early 80s by several Bonners Ferry based volunteer groups, including hikers and backpackers. However, increased recreational use in this area could force the Forest service to impose restrictions to protect grizzlies.

This is the last time my wife and I did the loop -


Just don't do it early in the season like we did last time! Way to much snow and high water, but later in the season, or in drier years it is a pretty easy walk and very, very beautiful. We also did it in 2001 and "in reverse" in 2003, every time in early July because we like to avoid very hot weather. The river crossings are always hard in July though, so may be best to wait till August for this loop.

On the first two trips we met not another soul. On the third trip we breifly ran into two guys who hiked up from the other side of the ridge and had followed our tracks along the ridge all day long, and finally passed us with hardly a word. They were young bucks and intended to push clear to the end and out that night, but my wife and I spent another night on the trail. 


Anyway, if my wife and I may do this loop again this August, if interested maybe you can join us.


I simply love the Selkirks - There are so many great hikes up in that area. And if you don't already own a copy of "100 hikes in the inland northwest", I highly recomend that book as well!

- Bob     


May 24, 2018
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