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Idaho Backpacking Trails

Boise, ID: Walk the Moon (Craters of the Moon National Monument)

Explore the moonscape—lava tubes, cinder cones, caves, and tunnels—of Craters of the Moon National Monument on this weekend trip. BY PAUL CHISHOLM

Spokane, WA: Fairview Ski Loop

Ski through a peaceful pine forest on this 3.1-mile loop east of Spokane, Washington.

Weekends: Rapid River Loop, Idaho

Low elevation and an arid climate guarantee year-round access to this secluded riverine gem in the Nez Perce.

Boise, ID: Lower Hulls Gulch Loop

Just on the outskirts of town, this 7-mile foothills loop climbs to 3,570 feet with big views of Boise before returning alongside a trickling stream.

Spokane: Mica Peak and Shasta Butte

Bag two peaks on this 12-mile out-and-back, with breathtaking views of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and the surrounding mountains, lakes, and prairies.

Spokane: Chilco Mountain

A roller-coaster 9.2-mile hike hits two peaks with views of Lake Pend Oreille, Rathdrum prairie, and the Selkirk and Coeur d’Alene Mountains.

Boise: Sleeping Deer to Mid-Salmon River Loop

Set aside a long weekend for great fishing on this 32.4-mile loop in the remote Salmon River Mountains, where crystal waters attract elk, moose, and bears.

Spokane: Lookout Mountain to Fish Lake

Hike into the Bitterroots’ untamed backcountry, with its plentiful moose and berries, on this 11-mile out-and-back to an exquisite lakeside campsite.

Spokane: Southside Trail

This hearty 9.4-miler in the Palouse Range is guaranteed to satisfy your lust for wildlife sightings and mountain valley views.

Coeur d’Alene, ID: Beehive Lake

This 6.6-mile technical out-and-back follows the steep runoff of Beehive Creek 2,000 feet to the rocky shores of two alpine lakes in the proposed Selkirk Mountains Wilderness.

Ketchum: Pioneer Cabin Loop

Hike along gorgeous ridges and rumbling creeks to an old cabin on this 8.5-mile loop in the Pioneer Mountains.

Boise: Tripod Peak

Travel 12 miles through dense evergreen groves and wildflower-dotted meadows to a lonesome fire outpost overlooking Boise National Forest.

McCall, ID: Rapid River

This year-round route runs 6.9 miles along the astonishingly clear Rapid River through evergreen forests to campsites in the Hells Canyon region.

Boise, ID: Kepros Mountain

This 9.1-miler follows a windswept ridge in the Danskin Mountains and ends with views of Boise, the Arrowrock Reservoir, and surrounding peaks.

Ketchum: Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake

With its forested route and views of a stunning lake ringed by peaks, this 8.6-miler is a first-rate snapshot of the gorgeous Sawtooth Wilderness.

Boise: Birds of Prey

This 11.6-miler crosses the Snake River, then heads downstream through a magnificent desert canyon known for its raptors and hidden rock art.

Ketchum: Little City of Rocks

Dip into a remote high desert canyon punctuated by cliff walls and volcanic rock pillars to a scenicplateau with 360-degree views of southeast Idaho.

Ketchum, ID: Murdock Creek

This 6.2-mile out-and-back charges up a mountain creek and into a canyon tucked below the snow-crested Boulder Mountains.

Boise, ID: Willow Creek

Payoffs are big on this remote 7.8-miler in the Smoky Mountains: No crowds, beautiful mountain views, and steamy hot springs.

Mountain Home, ID: Owyhee Meanders

Crane your neck at an ultra-secluded, towering Idaho canyon.

Coeur d’Alene, ID: Elk Creek Falls

Visit a four-star waterfall on this easy 3-mile hike in Clearwater National Forest.

Boise, ID: Lookingglass Lake

Climb to a pristine alpine lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness on this 14-mile out-and-back.

Idaho City, ID: Crooked River Trail

Trace the banks of the Crooked River on this 6.6-mile out-and-back in Boise National Forest that links picturesque fishing holes and a sandy strip of beach.

Idaho Falls, ID: Hell’s Half Acre

Take an otherworldly trek to the source of an ancient lava flow.

Sandpoint, ID: Mount Pend Oreille

Rent a forest fire lookout and drink in spectacular views.

Challis, ID: North Fork Big Creek

Visit meadow-rimmed lakes in Salmon National Forest.

Boise, ID: Watchman Trail Loop

Just minutes from downtown, this 9.4-mile loop in the Boise foothills offers a quick escape from the city on one of the newest sections of the Ridge to Rivers trail system.

Boise, ID: Upper Hulls Gulch

This 6.3-mile, out-and-back dayhike with an upper loop section explores a quiet desert creek valley and leads to hillsides covered in wildflowers in late spring and views of the Boise skyline and Foothills and the Owyhee Mountains across the Boise River Valley.

Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness: Loon Creek to Horseshoe Lake

Explore a supersized wilderness that’s home to Idaho’s densest population of gray wolves.

Sawtooth National Forest, ID: Thompson Peak

Climb the high point of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Sawtooth National Forest: Imogene Pass Loop

Swim, climb, nap, repeat. This Sawtooths trek has it all.

Sawtooth National Forest: Alpine Lake

One of Idaho’s premier backcountry destinations, this 11.7-mile out-and-back begins with a boat ride across Redfish Lake and ends at the crystalline waters of Alpine Lake.

Ketchum, ID: Hunter Creek

Share the trail with resident elk, deer and mountain goats on this 5.6-mile out-and-back in Idaho’s Boulder Mountains.

Ketchum, ID: West Pass

This rigorous, 9-mile out-and-back near Ketchum travels to a scenic mountain pass in the heart of the Boulder Mountains.

Ketchum, ID: Fox Creek

Popular with dayhikers and mountain bikers alike, this 4.42-mile loop through forest and meadows rich with wildlife offers surprising solitude for a hike so close to a world-class resort town.

Idaho Centennial Trail: Stanley Lake to Redfish Lake

Take this 22.5-mile scenic detour near the 900-mile Idaho Centennial Trail to access multiple scrambles up Sawtooth spires.

Boise, ID: Hulls Gulch Loop

This Foothills favorite circles a gulch with a cascading spring and bird’s-eye views of downtown Boise.

Boise, ID: Reynolds Creek Loop

Less than an hour from Boise, this 7.4-miler in the Owyhee foothills weaves through rock formations, traces Reynolds Creek, and tracks through a towering red rock canyon.

Sandpoint, ID: Schafer Peak

Bring your route-finding skills on this 4.3-mile out-and-back that features a rough trail and expansive views of Lake Pend Oreille.

Sandpoint, ID: Moose Mountain Loop

Climb to picture-perfect panoramas of Moose Lake and the Lightning Creek Drainage from Moose Mountain on this 7-mile loop in Kaniksu National Forest.

Sandpoint, ID: Pend Oreille Divide Trail

Traverse the ridge connecting Lunch Peak and Mount Pend Oreille to gain prime panoramas of Northeastern Idaho’s rugged Kaniksu National Forest.

Bonners Ferry, ID: Roman Nose Lakes

Climb to a pair of pristine mountain lakes on this 3.8-miler featuring two loops, prime camping, cliff-top vistas and access to a waterfall.

Bonners Ferry, ID: Two Mouth Lakes

Trek to a pair of pristine alpine lakes hidden deep in the spectacular Selkirk Mountains.

White Cloud Loop

This overlooked locals-only jewel across the Salmon River Valley from the more-famous Sawtooth Mountains delivers solitude and adventure on a 32-mile partly off-trail loop.

Bonners Ferry, ID: Gem Lake

Tackle a steep climb to the immaculately clear Gem Lake on this 3.6-mile out-and-back deep in the Cabinet Mountains.

Idaho Falls, ID: Divide Creek Lake

Explore a seldom-visited stretch of the Continental Divide with hidden lakes, world-class trout fishing, and abundant wildlife.

Palouse Falls
Boise Idaho Spokane Washington

Valentine’s Day Hikes in the Inland Northwest

By: Paul Chisholm

Ooo, la la! Couples are swooning in each other’s eyes, cheap chocolates are selling like hotcakes, and single people are writing ironic posts on Facebook. Whether it’s your first date or your 50th anniversary, these hikes will make the fire burn brighter.

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