Lost in the 50s
Schweitzer Outback Boal
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
Pend Oreille Bay Trail
This waterfront trail grants access to the Pend d’Oreille Bay, part of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Site. Along the route, there are opportunities to educate the public about the history of this particular region. Two historic sites, the Humbird Mill site and the Panhandle Smelting and Refining Company site provide visitors with the opportunity to gain a glimpse of the life of mill workers during the early 1900s when Ponderay was considered a “Company Town.” The trail also provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn about native plants and wildlife located in this unique landscape.
To get there: take First Avenue and turn right onto Bridge St., go across Sand Creek, proceed under the Bypass and Railroad and make an immediate left, proceed for approximately 100 yards and turn left behind the condominiums. Take (this) road about a ¼ mile to its end where you will find the Sandpoint Water Treatment Plant and the parking area. Enjoy!
Gold Hill Trail No. 3
The lower trailhead is on Bottle Bay Road, with parking and a vault toilet. The trail ascends steeply up the north face of Gold Hill, switching back and forth through deep timber for the first mile and a half before leveling off and trending south and west through a basin full of birch, aspen, cedar and Douglas fir.
There’s a bench at the one-mile mark that provides a panorama of Kootenai and Oden bays and the Cabinet Mountains, west of Pack River. From there the track continues through forest another three miles to a wide-open vista on a rock point looking down the Pend Oreille River and northwest toward Sandpoint and the Selkirk Mountains. Continue on from there another quarter of a mile to a bench on the hillside, and just past that, to Contest Mountain Road No. 2642 and the upper trailhead.
Gold Hill has a relatively steady grade interspersed with easy-walking sections. A strong hiker can make it to the rocky point in just over an hour. Mountain bikers use this trail extensively and can access it from Road No. 2642, which is not necessarily an easy climb, but it’s easier than pumping up the single-track. The Gold Hill Trail is a good trail for kids who are ready for something a bit more adventurous, and because of its shady north-facing terrain, it’s great on a summer day.
Sherwood Forest Trails
Also known as “Syringa Trails” by the locals, Sherwood Forest offers year-round access to hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing throughout this 143-acre conservation easement. In addition to offering an exceptional outdoor recreation, this area is an important habitat for whitetail deer wintering, and glimpses of moose and elk are not uncommon.
The trails twist and turn, climb up and over, offer forested sections and spectacular views of the Pend Oreille River and beyond. If you look real carefully, you will find art treasures along the trails, donated by a local sculptor.
To access Sherwood Forest, travel west on Pine Street, 1.5 miles from the N. Division Street/Pine Street intersection. The dirt trailhead parking ahead is located directly in front of you, at the sharp right hand corner.
Mickinnick Trail Head
Mickinnick Trail is a 3.5 mile trail (one-way) that “switchbacks” through 160 acres of huge rock outcroppings, grassy meadows, and old growth timber. It is also graced with spectacular vistas of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, the Cabinet Mountains and the Pend Oreille River. The top boasts an elevation of 4300′ for a total elevation gain of 2150′.
Directions: From Sandpoint point your car North on Boyer, turn Left on Baldy Mtn. Rd, turn Right on Great Northern, turn Left on Woodland Drive, cross the tracks, and the trailhead is just up the road on your Left.
The parking lot and vault toilet are a little more than three miles from town on Woodland Drive. From trailhead to trail’s end is four miles, and it is no pushover. A quarter-mile from the parking lot, it begins up and keeps climbing, rising more than 2,000 feet in its length; roughly 500 feet per mile of trail. That’s a workout, especially on a warm summer day. The east-facing aspect of the trail makes it more user-friendly in the afternoon.
The trail leads through open forest on a rocky hillside with big ponderosa pine, larch and Douglas fir trees and shady groves of cedar and white pine interspersed along rock benches where water gathers. There is a viewpoint with benches at the half-mile point, a good goal for folks with small kids or cardiovascular challenges. Beyond this, the trail dips briefly into a dark swale before beginning an unrelenting climb.
Halfway to the top is Cougar Rock, offering a tremendous view of the Purcell Trench, the lake and the Cabinets. From there, the trail trends along a magnificent rock bench full of big timber before beginning up through one shelf after another to the ridge with filtered views of the ridgetops at Schweitzer. Then, it trends southwest through deeper forest and a little swamp before ending on a rocky knob commanding a view of Sandpoint, the Long Bridge, the lake and a long arm of river stretching off toward Washington.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort Trail System
Schotchman's Peak Trail #65
The highest peak in the region at 7009’ considered the “grand daddy” of all hikes. The well worn trail is usually in good shape, it leads over it’s 5 miles, to stunning panoramic views of Lake Pend Oreille. Snow can linger as late into summer. You are almost sure to see mountain goats on this adventure.