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Hiking in Idaho

In cooperation with: Idaho Division of Tourism
posts: 255
Hiking in Idaho

As a regular hiker and rock/fossil hound, I'm looking into a trip to Idaho probably in Sept. Or October of this year.

I've been doing a Glacier Trip to NW Montana the last few years and have hiked all the "must do" hikes twice or more, so it's time to move on to something new and Idaho has always been an area of high interest.... Also, the crowds in Glacier are starting to take away so much of the experience!

My thoughts are flying into Spokane and doing some looking around in the Moscow/Lewiston area.

Any thoughts on trails in that area? Any ideas of public lands that allow fossil/gem hunting? Thanks

20 replies to this topic
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
1. Re: Hiking in Idaho

You would need to be aware that hunting season begins in Sept and that can be a challenging time to hike. I will find out when hunting season starts as you definitely do NOT want to be in the woods in the first week of the rifle season. Bow season starts in August I believe.

I live in the Moscow area and there are wonderful hikes around here. The best one we did last summer was out of Clarkia (NE of Moscow) at Freezeout Saddle up toward Grandmother Mountain. We did it 4th of July weekend and the beargrass was in it's glory! It was amazing! Here is the general area. (BTW, we saw 2 other hikers in about 5 hours.)

fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/ibt/site.aspx…

Here is a link to the NFS website hiking trails. The ones in the St Joe area can be accessed from Moscow, especially the ones that are Marble Creek and Hobo Cedar Grove areas. There is a NFS office in Clarkia which has maps and they can also give you info about prescribed burns and logging activities.

fs.usda.gov/activity/ipnf/recreation/hiking/…

We also did several other hikes last summer in the Moscow area. I know how to get to them, but am not sure how to tell you! I will ask my brother this evening when he gets home from work about the best hiking guide. My SIL and I just follow him, lol! (He is a forester so knows these woods really well.) They are not listed in the Idaho Panhandle Forest, so they may be private timber company land or another agency. I will find out.

In Sept Lewiston can still be pretty hot. It is down in the valley and heat holds down there. It will be cooler on the Palouse which is at about 2500' and much cooler than Lewiston's 750' elevation.

Here is a link to where you can dig garnets which also is in the Clarkia area, but west of the highway from the hiking areas I have indicated. Looks like they close on Labor Day. It's been years since I've been and the most memorable part was how wet it was! Of course it was the whole family so there were several adults plus 2 small boys and a golden retriever puppy who actually had her first swimming experience when she leapt into a *puddle*.

…usda.gov/recarea/…

Here is the main page for both rockhounding and fossil digging.

…usda.gov/activity/…rocks-minerals

Here is a link to digging fossils at the Fossil Bowl which is also...wait for it...near Clarkia. I am not entirely sure it is accurate. They have a huge motorcross raceway there and I am not sure they still allow people to dig for fossils. There is a FB page on the motorcross, so i guess you could message and ask.

suite101.com/a/clarkia-idaho-fossil-bowl-a58…

I don't want to discourage you from Idaho and I know you are very familiar with Glacier, so this will not be a surprise, but there is always the chance for wildland fire that time of year. This winter is shaping up to being pretty dry. We have had maybe a 12-24 inches of snow so far this year. In some years we would have 75 to 90 inches. I read in the paper over the weekend that the snowpack is 75% of normal thru most of Idaho. I am thinking that is optimistic!

Pam

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
2. Re: Hiking in Idaho

OK, it looks like in general hunting season starts Oct 10 which would make the case that you needed to be here and finished hiking by then. Bow season starts Aug 30. The info I can find is from 2013, but I believe it is the same from year to year. I clearly am not a hunter so this is best guess.

fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/…

I would recommend you get a 4WD rental car. I know you usually can't take them off road, so you will have to use your judgement on that. Almost all the good hiking areas are going to be off dirt roads.

Another area that is beautiful is up the Selway and Lochsa Rivers from Kooskia ID toward Missoula. Some of those trailheads are accessed from US12 so you don't have to go off paved road.

…usda.gov/Internet/…stelprdb5401618.pdf

Pam

posts: 255
3. Re: Hiking in Idaho

Wow, thanks for all the great info.... I hadn't thought about the hunting seasons....

Let me read through what you've put together and I'll have more questions.

Thanks again, that was an excellent reply!

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
4. Re: Hiking in Idaho

You are very welcome. I re-read our previous messages and realized I went on and on about the beargrass before! Sorry for the repeat!

Pam

idaho
Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
posts: 8,809
reviews: 306
5. Re: Hiking in Idaho

Oh, you should come down to the Sun Valley are..some of the best hiking EVER and hot springs too...lots of lakes and tall mountains..

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
6. Re: Hiking in Idaho

Laughing because I was just waiting for Charley to pop in and try to lure you down to her part of Idaho!

We will probably be able to agree on a global statement that the hiking in Idaho is awesome wherever you are!

Pam

idaho
Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
posts: 8,809
reviews: 306
7. Re: Hiking in Idaho

i knew you were waiting....

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
8. Re: Hiking in Idaho

;-)

posts: 255
9. Re: Hiking in Idaho

Just wanted you guys to know I just ordered 3 books on hiking and rockhounding in Idaho..... I think I need to do some reading before I ask too many questions, also my timeframe is very flexible, I only mentioned September thinking it would be the best for weather... I may do some backpacking.... 2-3 days max... Total trip time will probably be 7-8 days... The star garnets seem like something I'm very interested in a combination of hiking, fossil and gem hunting...

Pam, are you the person who traveled through Tennessee last fall? Did the trip go ok?

Thanks Charlie, the southern part of the state is also interesting... What's drive time from Lewiston to Best hikes down there?

Edited: 7:53 pm, January 15, 2014
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 10,228
reviews: 79
10. Re: Hiking in Idaho

It's a good day's drive from Lewiston area to down where Charley is. You might want to consider the last part of August if you want to do the garnet digging etc. It will still be hot as heck in Lewiston, but it should be Ok in the mountains.

Yes, I had a trip planned to TN but it didn't work out. I was selling my parent's home and were first unsure of when the closing would be, then it was changed to the middle of Oct and we had to scramble to get all the rest of the stuff out. Still planning a trip in that direction...not sure when I can work it in! Need to get my Yellowstone fix in...

Pam

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