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.
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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.

This 4.3-mile hike to Schafer Peak may not be easy—you'll follow an overgrown trail and climb 1,700 feet in 2.3 miles—but it's worth the effort. Spectacular panoramas of Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding mountainscape await at the top. From National Forest Road 278, follow Teepee Gulch Trail 105. The overgrown path, composed of loose scree, swings uphill immediately. You’ll see occasional signs along the way, but be prepared to use your trail-finding skills for much of the hike near the ridge connecting Schafer Peak and Green Monarch Mountain.
At mile 1.2, turn left on Trail 68 at the T-intersection and begin a mile-long ridge run to Schafer. Navigate several confusing trail junctions before reaching a talus field that lies just below the summit. On top of Schafer, you’ll find the remnants of an old fire tower along with huge panoramas of Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint to the north and Green Monarch Ridge and Clark Fork to the east. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Travis Lesicka

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.0

Waypoints

SCH001

Location: 48.103124, -116.343136

From the mid-September to November, the road is closed at this point. Park at the gate and hike 0.5 mile to the trailhead. The rest of the time, you can park at the trailhead 0.5 mile up the road.

SCH002

Location: 48.106226, -116.349321

Head north on Teepee Gulch Trail 105.

SCH003

Location: 48.108628, -116.349163

Look for trail signs marking the route along this rough section of path.

SCH004

Location: 48.109527, -116.347248

Bear left onto heavily-used side trail.

SCH005

Location: 48.110913, -116.351266

Stay on the main trail at the intersection with Trails 68 and 69 ahead.

SCH006

Location: 48.111271, -116.352017

Turn left on Trail 68 to hike along the ridge toward Schafer Peak. You'll likely encounter fallen trees across the trail ahead.

SCH007

Location: 48.112043, -116.35983

Follow the old sign to stay on Trail 68.

SCH008

Location: 48.112555, -116.364003

Follow signs for Trail 68.

SCH009

Location: 48.110243, -116.368775

Scramble through a talus field to reach the summit of Schafer Peak.

SCH010

Location: 48.109939, -116.36991

Schafer Peak (5,210 ft.): Look north for panoramas of Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint. Concrete pillars and metal rings mark the remainder of a lookout tower that once stood here. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Northern Panorama

Location: 48.109924, -116.369872

Sandpoint is shrouded by clouds on the horizon.

Road Closed Sign

Location: 48.103125, -116.343091

The gate is closed year round, but locked only between mid-September and November.

Parking Area

Location: 48.10617, -116.349227

Parking is available along the side of the road if this tiny lot is full.

Trailhead

Location: 48.106224, -116.349281

The trailhead for Teepee Gulch Trail 105 also provides access to Schaefer Peak Trail 68 and Green Monarchs Trail 69.

Trail Sign

Location: 48.108635, -116.349351

Vista

Location: 48.110757, -116.350751

View near the intersection between Trail 105 and Trail 68.

Schafer Peak

Location: 48.112086, -116.361281

Approaching Schafer Peak.

Thistle Flowers

Location: 48.112211, -116.362156

Wildflowers endure into early fall.

Lookout Pillars

Location: 48.109947, -116.369867

Concrete pillars and metal rings mark the remainder of a lookout tower that once stood on Schafer Peak.

Eastern Panorama

Location: 48.109967, -116.369875

Looking east, you'll see Clark Fork to the left and Green Monarch Ridge to the right.