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Staying Active Outdoors

Hiking

While the recommendations to minimize spread of the coronavirus are to avoid close contact with people, we can revel in the luxury of living in a place with so much public land and water access. The hiking trails, mountains, rivers, and lakes are still open and an excellent way to stay healthy over these next inevitably challenging weeks or months.  

Where should you go?  The CDA area has miles of close-to-home hiking trails. Here are five low elevation (no snow) hikes to get you started.

Blue Creek Bay - A personal favorite, this area has a few loops with views of the lake and forests. 

Cougar Bay Preserve - Only a couple minutes from NIC, these hiking trails loop along the wetlands at the head of cougar bay and  the coniferous hillside above the lake. It is a short loop, but in a beautiful location. 

Canfield Mountain - Holy smokes are there a lot of trails here. You can find paper maps of Canfield at the Forest Service Ranger Station at the east end of Sherman Ave, but my favorite tool to navigate this trail network is trailforks.com.  

Tubbs Hill - Our trails list would be incomplete without mentioning Tubbs Hill. Challenge yourself with a jog around the 1.5 mile shoreline trail and up and over the top. Brave souls will take a self-guided polar plunge in the lake on Sanders Beach at the end. It's refreshing and you'll never regret it. 

Mineral Ridge - Another Kootenai County classic. This one can get crowded (mainly the small parking lot) but is worth the drive. There is some elevation gain so plan to get a good walk.  

Mount Coeur d'Alene Drive, 50 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 11 miles 

Stevens Lake Drive, 1 hr ~ Difficulty, Hard ~ Distance, 5 miles 

Lone Lake Drive, 1 hr ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 4.6 miles 

Blossom Lake Drive, 1 hr 20 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 5.5 miles

Revett Lake Drive, 1 hr 20 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 3.3 miles 

Harrison Lake Drive, 2 hr ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 4.6 miles 

Scotchman Peak Drive, 2hr ~ Difficulty, Hard ~ Distance, 7.6 miles 

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Drive, 3 hr 30 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 2.6 miles

Weir Creek Hot Springs Drive, 3 hr 40 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 0.7 miles

Goldbug Hot Springs Drive, 6 hr ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 3.5 miles

Rock Canyon Hot Springs Drive, 6 hr 40 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 0.5 miles  

Stack Rock Drive, 7 hr ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 8.2 miles 

Kirham Hot Springs Drive, 7 hr ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 0.2 miles 

Sawtooth Lake Drive, 7hr 40 min ~ Difficulty, Hard ~ Distance, 10 miles 

Once you've had your fill of the local spots, challenge yourself to find new hikes. Google can be a great starting point, but sometimes the information is overwhelming. Outdoor Pursuits staff are eager to chat about other options, or you can check out our favorite tools:

100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest - Some of these hikes don't open until the snow melts, but there are plenty of low elevation options here. 

Trailforks.com - While not entirely comprehensive, there is a lot of information here. Trail distances, elevation gain, and other tidbits to help plan your outing. You can download for offline use too. 

Alltrails.com - Another free resource for hiking trails. Alltrails adds filters that can help you find a hike to match your goals.  

Onxmaps.com - This one costs money, but it turns your smartphone into a GPS resource with trail elevation, distances, and land ownership. We use this app for all our personal as well as Outdoor Pursuits trip planning. There are many other free or cheaper options with similar functions.  

Hillmap.com and Caltopo.com - For all you map nerds out there (I love maps!) these are two great web tools for scouting new trips and locations. Tinker with the overlays to see some fascinating information: archived maps from the 1800s, fire history, slope angle shading, and all kinds of fun map-nerd delights.

Biking

It is more important than ever for us to have safe and healthy ways to get outside for some exercise and stress relief. One of the best ways to do this is on a bicycle! It is totally possible to get out and enjoy this activity while adhering to social distancing protocols as long as you keep just a few things in mind:

  • Consider riding with people you are in contact with at home
  • If you do meet up with folks from other households, keep your group small, drive to trailheads separately, and maintain at least six feet of distance between you
  • Carry your own snacks and water (don’t fill water bottles at public fountains)
  • Consider routes that allow you to ride from your home
  • If you do drive to a trailhead, try to choose locations within 30 miles of your home
  • If a trailhead is busy or crowded, keep looking until you find one that is not (more on this below)
  • Observe traffic laws, ride with traffic on open roads, and err on the side of caution
  • Stay well within your skill level and keep speeds lower than you would on a normal day

If it’s been a while since you had your bike in service, and you need a few tips to get it on the road, here is an excellent link from REI on the basic checks and service anyone can do to recommission an old steed:

ABCs of Bike Maintenance

If this doesn’t address your issue, please e-mail us and we will be overjoyed to help you sort it out.

City of Cda designated routes - This is a map of bike paths (some separated, some not) put out by the city with signage. Some excellent short in-town rides. Easy to maintain distance from other folks on pleasant roads with low traffic.

Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes - This is a 70 mile long rail to trail (old train route). It is paved, nearly flat, and quite scenic. There are a multitude of trailheads with parking along its length, making for an excellent way to avoid crowds.

The Centennial Trail - This popular paved bike path runs from Higgin’s Point on the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene all the way along the river to Spokane. The lakefront stretch can be crowded at times, so consider this route for off-peak times.

If you have exhausted these options and are looking for more, please send us an email and we will set you up with additional routes. We would also like to encourage everyone to log your rides using the Endomondo app so that you can help inspire your co-workers to do the same.

Snow

Silver Mountain Resort Drive, 45 min ~ Acres, 1600+

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area Drive, 1 hr ~ Acres, 540

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park Drive, 1 hr 10 min ~ Acres, 1704 

Schweitzer Mountain Resort Drive, 1 hr 20 min ~ Acres, 2900

49 Degrees North Mountain Resort Drive, 1 hr 40 min ~ Acres, 2325

Upper Falls Community Forest Drive, 20 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 3.3 miles 

Blue Creek Trail Drive, 20 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 2.6 miles 

Gold Hill North Trail Drive, 1 hr ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 5.6 miles 

Mount Kit Carson Drive, 1 hr 10 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 5.4 miles

Fourth of July Pass Drive, 20 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 6.4 miles 

English Point Yellow Loop Drive, 24 min ~ Difficulty, Easy ~ Distance, 3.2 miles 

Farragut Outer Loop Drive, 40 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 12.4 miles 

Mica Peak Drive, 45 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 4 miles 

Pulaski Tunnel Trail Drive, 55 min ~ Difficulty, Moderate ~ Distance, 4 miles 

Mt. Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park Drive, 1 hr 10 min ~ Difficulty, Easy- Difficult

Silver Mountain Resort Drive, 42 min 

Mt. Spokane Drive, 1 hr 10 min

Hermits Hollow Drive, 1 hr 20 min

Trailforks.com - While not entirely comprehensive, there is a lot of information here. Trail distances, elevation gain, and other tidbits to help plan your outing. You can download for offline use too.  

Alltrails.com - Another free resource for snow trails. Alltrails adds filters that can help you find a trail to match your goals.  

Consultation - Jacob and Terry absolutely love sharing new places with folks. We may not be able to offer NIC trips right now, but we can certainly talk with you over the phone or email to answer questions about getting outside. Please email or call us and we'll gladly offer our two cents. 

Lastly, in an effort to give the ER's and urgent care facilities enough space to care for folks ill with the COVID-19 and other aliments, please exercise caution in your recreation pursuits. Biking, running, skiing, ect. within your limits is important, particularly right now. 

Safety

Snow - As mentioned above, a tricky thing about getting into popular mountain lakes and other mountain destinations in the spring is the low snow level. If you choose to attempt a snow hike, plan ahead and know that there are considerably higher risks associated with winter travel. Your Outdoor Pursuits staff are glad to talk you through those considerations if you are interested.  

Water Temperature - Remember that the water temperatures are still chilly out on the lake and rivers, so if you're tempted to kayak or paddleboard, please wear a personal flotation device (life jacket) and be aware of these cold water safety tips.

Consultation - Jacob and Terry absolutely love sharing new places with folks. We may not be able to offer NIC trips right now, but we can certainly talk with you over the phone or email to answer questions about getting outside. Please email or call us and we'll gladly offer our two cents.

Lastly, in an effort to give the ER's and urgent care facilities enough space to care for folks ill with the COVID-19 and other ailments, please exercise caution in your recreation pursuits. Biking, running, skiing, etc. within your limits is important, particularly right now.