Graham Mountain Loop

A seventeen-mile loop hike through lush canyon bottoms and alpine meadows to the top of Graham Mountain

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 3.8 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (some steep uphill sections)
Distance 16.9 miles
Duration 6:18 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 4,034 feet
High Point 5,728 feet (Graham Mountain)
Low Point 2,226 feet (Trailhead)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt
Water Along Coal Creek and Graham Creek; none along ridge
Status Unprotected
Administration Coeur d’Alene National Forest
Permits None required
Conditions Trail was recently maintained
Camping At Coal Creek trailhead and on Graham Ridge
Maps USGS Kellogg
Trailhead From I-90 take the Kingston exit (#43) and head north on FH9 past the 13-mile marker. The branch-off is on the right-hand side, marked with a large sign, but it is nonetheless difficult to see. Drive up the dirt road a couple hundred yards for more parking.

Google Directions (47.64836, -116.120931)

Season May – November
Squirrel Density Fabulous
Features Mountaintop, Structure, Grove, Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 42.5 miles
  • Lewiston 159.3 miles
  • Sandpoint 87.5 miles
  • Seattle 353.0 miles
  • Spokane 75.1 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
    Date August 7, 2016

    An old mineshaft near the beginning of the trailFor the first third of the hike, FST #41 parallels Coal Creek, smothered in ferns and mosses. The hike is pleasant along the cascading and bubbling brook, with the dense tree canopy shielding the hiker even on hot summer days.Ferns along Coal Creek A short way in, a barred mine is visible to the right. The path climbs steadily, crossing the creek to the left side, and then veering away from the brook. The climb continues steadily, but shortly after the two-mile mark the trail once again approaches the creek. This is the time to fill up water bottles–unless hiking in spring, there won’t be another water source until Graham Creek shortly after the eleven-mile mark! The trail climbs the side of the hill at a steep angle, gaining 1000 feet easily within a mile. Up on the ridge, there is a path leading to the left; don’t take it. After the steep ascent the trail is rather flat, crossing the ridge to the turnoff to the Graham Connector. If you don’t want to do the entire loop, or are short on water, take a left and the Connector will guide you down to Graham Creek. Otherwise, take a right and up the ridge again, the lush forest of Coal Creek replaced with larch, pine and fir allowing for filtered views of the surrounding mountains. The trail ascends steadily, though not quite as steeply as coming out of Coal Creek, and emerges out onto a vast meadow.

    View of Graham MountainThere are plenty of campsites here, both out on the meadow and in the shaded woods. The trail to the mountaintop leads right and switchbacks across a talus slope to the top of Graham Mountain. Graham Mountain, at 5,727 feet, presents outstanding and unobstructed views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the Coeur d’Alene River valley.

    More views from Graham MountainThere are opportunities to camp here as well, among the ruins of an old lookout tower, though it can be windy. Retrace your steps to the meadow and continue on, past the Coal Creek trail, onto trail #17, Graham Ridge. This is a very pleasant ridge hike, at first a double-track and later a single-track. The meadow is absolutely breathtaking, even though the wildflowers and beargrass are past their prime in August. The ridge extends for about another six or seven miles and leads to a fork to Graham Creek trail #33. Take a left for a steady descent to Graham Creek, similarly lush as Coal Creek, although featuring far fewer red cedars. Judging by the stomps, there were plenty a long time ago. Take a right when you meet up with the Graham Connector trail, and over a thick carpet of mosses the path leads more or less flattish to FH9.

    Unfortunately, the return to Coal Creek, about two miles, is along the road, a very busy one, with a choice of fighting for a piece of roadway or hiking atop a buried petroleum pipeline….

    Enjoy this hike? Let us know in the comments below!

    A pretty campsite at the trailhead
    A pretty campsite at the trailhead
    Lush greenery along Coal Creek
    Lush greenery along Coal Creek
    An old mineshaft near the beginning of the trail
    An old mineshaft near the beginning of the trail
    Coal Creek
    Coal Creek
    Ferns covering Coal Creek
    Ferns covering Coal Creek
    Trail climbing the hillside along Coal Creek
    Trail climbing the hillside along Coal Creek
    Hiking the wooded ridge towards Graham Mountain
    Hiking the wooded ridge towards Graham Mountain
    Emerging onto the alpine meadow beneath Graham Mountain
    Emerging onto the alpine meadow beneath Graham Mountain
    View of Graham Mountain
    View of Graham Mountain
    Views from Graham Mountain are fairly spectacular
    Views from Graham Mountain are fairly spectacular
    More views from Graham Mountain
    More views from Graham Mountain
    Signed trail junction
    Signed trail junction
    Much of Graham Ridge Trail #17 is double-track
    Much of Graham Ridge Trail #17 is double-track
    Easy ATV access makes this a mecca for hunters
    Easy ATV access makes this a mecca for hunters
    Thimbleberries and huckleberries are plentiful, among others
    Thimbleberries and huckleberries are plentiful, among others
    Naughty looking for water along Graham Ridge trail
    Naughty looking for water along Graham Ridge trail
    Graham Creek trail
    Graham Creek trail
    Rotting cedar stumps in the vicinity of Graham Creek
    Rotting cedar stumps in the vicinity of Graham Creek
    Naughty wont miss an opportunity for a mud bath!
    Naughty won’t miss an opportunity for a mud bath!
    Trailmap

    © 2016 – 2017 NaughtyHiker. All rights reserved. No duplication without permission.

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