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Favorite Fall Hikes

Priest Lake Activities

As the leaves burst into color, it’s time to get out and explore the wonderful Priest Lake hiking trails nearby! Though we’re sad to see summer go, we love the stunning fall foliage that surrounds Elkins Resort, the cooler temperatures, and the chance to break out the s’mores supplies.

Although some of the changing colors are viewable around our property, the amazing trails in the surrounding Selkirks and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests provide a more intimate experience.

Some of our favorite fall hikes near Priest Lake include:

  • Chipmunk Rapids – Clocking in at 10.4 miles, this intermediate trail uses an older road system which makes it a wider trail than others in the Panhandle National Forests. Many hikers will see deer, moose, and waterfowl along their trek near the marsh.
  • Lakeshore Trail #294 – This 7-mile trail is a summer favorite but as it meanders through old-growth timber and cedar trees, it’s easy to see why it’s a perfect trail for fall. The trail offers excellent views of the Selkirks, beach and lake access, and the chance to see some moose or black bears. The grade on this trail is pretty gentle and level with the shoreline and crosses five streams. This trail does have picnic tables along it if you wish to pack a picnic for your hike.
Reflections of trees in autumn.
  • Lakeview Mountain Trail #269 – This 5.3-mile hike provides the perfect mix of open hillside and wandering through forests of alder, pine, and young cedar trees. This trail is difficult with sections that are narrow and steep but includes panoramic views of Selkirk Crest and Priest Lake.
  • Plowboy Mountain Trail #295 – This 6-mile trail is very steep but worth it for the amazing views of Upper Priest Lake.
  • Beach Trail #48 – This 6-mile trail is an easy lakeshore hike with views of Priest Lake and the Selkirk Crest. This trail does make connections with Lakeshore Road but markers will guide you back into the forest to continue along the trail.
  • Reeder Bay Trail #365 – An intermediate 4.2-mile hike that offers excellent views of Priest Lake as you cross an old ski hill. The trail ends at a secluded beach, just south of Elkins Resort! This trail does have steep sections, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
  • Upper Priest Lake Trail #302 – This easy 5-mile hike is well shaded by the timbers alongside the trail until it opens out to the lake and begins to follow the shoreline. This trail is neat as you’ll pass an old mine shaft, Coolin’s cabin, and old hunting stands, as well as have the opportunity to spot some bears or moose.
Moose Smooch
  • Upper Priest River Trail #308 – This 8-mile trail is very popular as it’s an easy trail with great views of old-growth cedar and Upper Priest River. You can continue to follow the trail to the Upper Priest River Falls along Continental Creek Trail #28.
  • Continental Creek Trail #28 – Don’t be fooled by the 2.3-mile stretch as this strenuous trail requires some work along its switchbacks and the steep climb near the Upper Priest Creek Falls, or American Falls, at the end. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with wonderful scenic views and a fun trek through old-growth cedar, huckleberries, and ferns.

Another option is to visit Hughes Ridge Lookout or even visiting Hughes Meadow to take in the panoramic views of the changing season. So, whether you prefer to venture out to see the colors or let them come to you as you relax around the lake it’s a certainty that you need to see the fall colors at Elkins Resort. We’ll even remind you that our rates are lower in the fall making it even easier to plan a fall getaway!