Apache Pine loves hiking and backpacking, and we also loves our land, Idaho. We believe our backyard is truly amazing and it taught us the love for nature, adventure and exploration. All Apache Pine’s products are inspired to our times in the outdoors and most of them happened in Idaho. Beautiful northern State, it offers beautiful landscapes and amazing adventures.
And since happiness is real only when shared and because we think that sharing what’s beautiful and good is the first step towards a better, kinder and more conscious world, we thought it was time to share our shortlist of the best hikes in Idaho. These are all not-to-miss trails that should most definitely be on your shortlist when it comes to Idaho excursions. Are you ready to explore?
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Also known as Craters of the Moon National Wilderness Area, this is one of the most beautiful places where to hike in Idaho. There are many trails to choose from, and each of them will lead you to a beautiful, unique destination.
The Wilderness Trail is probably the best way to truly appreciate this incredible, space-looking environment. It is four miles long and it leads from the Tree Molds parking lot to the Sentinel. The Echo Crater and the Lava Trees are both wonderful destinations for day hikes.
For those who love camping in Idaho, most backpackers and trekkers choose to spend the night at Echo Crater, and there are some camping options at the Sentinel too. Of course, you’ll have to obtain a backcountry permit at the Visitor Centre.
Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail
This trail is part of the first recreation site developed by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho in 1963. The view over Lake Coeur d’Alene is simply amazing and in general it’s a truly outstanding hike.
The Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail is a 3.3 mile loop, characterized by a very clear signage and professional Trail Guides situated along the path to help visitors get around and know more about the flora and fauna of the place. Indeed, bald eagles migrate here every year, between November and February, allowing some amazing birdwatching in Idaho.
Tubbs Hill Trails
We are still in Coeur D’Alene, one of the most beautiful natural locations in Idaho.
Tubbs Hill is a 120 acres hill on the lake, which has several hiking trails, all characterized by amazing views. These hiking excursions are perfect for all family members. We suggest the 2.2 miles trail that runs along the perimeter of the hill, which is particularly popular, but also particularly beautiful.
Trail of the Coeur D’Alene
Okay, last one in the area, we promise, but this truly is one of the most amazing trails in the western United States and it’s actually in the shortlist of 25 best hikes in the US. The Trail of the Coeur d'Alene leads from Mullan to Plummer, starting in Silver Valley, going through Lake Coeur d’Alene, Wallace, Kellogg and then getting to Plummer.
It’s 72 miles long and, because it’s a paved trail, it’s perfect for bikers, skateboarders and strollers (these are not athletes, we know, but still!). There are many access points to it, so you can choose to go through shorter sections, or the whole trail.
Camping is not allowed on the trail, however there are several camping areas nearby, both public and private.
Toxaway to Alice Lake Loop
This is an amazing experience and it surely is one of the most beautiful backpacking trails in Idaho. It lasts 2-3 days according to your pace and skills, and it offers a combination of breathtaking landscapes and views.
The Toxaway loop is 19 miles long and it’s part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Granite peaks, pine woods and meadows make this place a truly enchanting one. It’s not very crowded, which makes this hike even more pleasant. The reason why there aren’t so many people is because this area is not a National Park, even though it’s been up for consideration several times. This makes it less attractive to many tourists, who prefer to head to more popular destinations, missing out on its incredible beauty.
There are many places to set up camp, you just have to pick your favorite spot and enjoy the view. We suggest the Twin Lakes: such a major view!
City of Rocks National Reserve Trails
In City of Rocks National Reserve there are more than 22 miles of hiking trails that you can choose from. The scenery is impressive (any doubts about that?), and the great thing is that you can combine shorter trails to make a longer hike, so it could even turn out to be a multiple days hiking experience to join the many amazing ones that Idaho has to offer.
Trails vary from difficult to easy, making it possible for all ages and all levels to enjoy these spectacular views.
City of Rocks is also popular for climbing, with over 600 routes, both traditional and sport. A permit is requested if you want to play this activity. If you've never done it before and you want to try, there’s a chance to do so thanks to the Climbing Experience Program.
Camping is highly popular in this area, and free camping is allowed with a signed permit from the ranger station.
Lower Gospel Lake
If you like fishing and beautiful landscapes, then that’s the place for you! Lower Gospel Lake departs from Forest Road 444 and leads to one of Idaho’s natural jewels. This area is very popular for little, yet splendid alpine lakes hidden between granite canyons, allowing lots of exploration and adventure.
Indeed, Lower Gospel Lake is part of Gospel Hump Wilderness, a protected wilderness area that is very famous for its many ups and downs. Some trails drop and rise incredibly in less than a mile, considering that elevations here vary from 1,970 ft to 8,950. Very impressive!
So the landscape is very different too according to where you go and the altitude. Regardless, it can be very wild, so gear yourself up properly and be ready for adventure.
Lakes lakes lakes...but all so gorgeous and so full of exploration and hikes all around them. Sawtooth Lake is no different and so beautiful too, together with the view of Mount Reagan.
The trail that leads here is 10 mile long and it’s part of Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It normally takes half a day to hike it and it climbs up high, allowing amazing scenery and a very nice view of a few waterfalls.
Darby Canyon Wind Cave and Ice Cave
This trail will allow hikers to explore two incredible natural caves in Idaho, connected between them through a 1 mile long technical underground passage.
In this case, technical caving gear and expertise is needed to go from one cave to the other and it can be very dangerous if you don’t really know what you are doing. But if you do have experience in this activity, then the beauty is incredible and excitement is guaranteed.
In general, this is a trail for experts, that could require quick turn backs in case of sudden bad weather, very frequent in this area.
Lemhi Range and North Fork Big Creek
Last but not least, this beautiful trail through Salmon National Forest is the cherry on top of Idaho best trails.
The trail is 8.5 miles long, starting from Big Creek Campground, however it can be extended. This is a challenging one: 29 miles long, this semi-loop crosses all of the highlights of the area.
Of course the Lemhi Range is also home to some amazing climbing spots, packed with challenging summits and amazing experiences.
The strange thing about this beautiful area is that many places, attractions and peaks are actually unnamed, making it a pretty remote place, full of adventures and incredible views.
Backcountry Camping in Idaho
Sometimes it will require a permit, sometimes it won’t. However, it is absolutely important that you do all the best to leave no trace. Indeed, the wilderness of Idaho is precious and it is what makes these places so beautiful and unforgettable.
Preservation is vital if we all want to keep Idaho safe and if we want to protect its vegetation and furred inhabitants. Indeed, this State can be an incredible playground for all sorts of sports and passions, but we really must protect it.
also, make sure to use sustainable gear and make a difference even while adventuring.