Bernard Peak

A fairly steep hike on a well-groomed trail, shaded by the coniferous tree canopy so typical for the Coeur d’Alene Mountains.

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.9 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (a bit of a climb)
Distance 17.7 miles
Duration 6:01 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 3,156 feet
High Point 5,135 feet (Bernard Peak)
Low Point 2,322 feet (Farragut)
Trail Type Out-and-back
Trailbed Packed dirt
Water Some of the tributaries carried water, but by mid-summer they are likely dry.
Status Unprotected
Administration Coeur d’Alene National Forest
Permits Entrance fee required
Conditions Trail was in great condition. Watch out for mountain bikers.
Camping Farragut State Park and atop Bernard Peak. Some parts of the trail lead through private property where camping is not permitted.
Maps USGS Bayview
Trailhead From Athol, head east on Highway 54 for 4 miles. There is parking at the visitor center.

Directions (47.951709, -116.603449)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Fabulous
Features Mountaintop
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 24.7miles
  • Lewiston 138.5miles
  • Sandpoint 26.5miles
  • Seattle 328.9miles
  • Spokane 51.2miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date May 28, 2016

Lynx trailTo practice for longer backpacking trips, the Scribe wanted to test his skills on a 20-ish mile peak with a reasonable ascent. Having already checked off Mount Coeur d’Alene, he set his sights on Bernard Peak. I set my sights on a looooong hike and lots of squirrels. We found both on Bernard Peak.

We started out on a sunny Memorial Day weekend, leaving the car at the Farragut State Park visitor center. We took the Lynx trail towards trail junction 42, only we didn’t know that because the Scribe didn’t bother to pick up the Farragut Summer Trail map at the visitor center. Hence we ended up wandering around for a while, trying to figure out what the numbers on the sign posts meant (they are numbered trail junctions). To avoid that predicament, you could either take the South Road and park at junction 42, or head towards junctions 42 on the Lynx trail. From junction 42 move south to junction 45 and then junction 46, where the trail exits the park.

Pond on Bernard Peak routeAt this point, the Scribe was stubbornly convinced that the trail had to go right, so we circled around for a while until I led him back to the trail junction and we took the left fork. Much better. The trail meandered for a bit and soon rose steadily and leads to a pretty little pond, which I immediately investigated. The water was tasty!

Filtered views of Lake Pend OreilleThe trail eventually circles back, so we took the branch off called Scout Trail to Bernard Peak, which continues to climb steadily to a ridge and at at its apex offered filtered views of Lake Pend Oreille. It then descended gradually, ultimately flattening out and expanding into a double track. Around the three-mile mark a side spur led to a viewpoint with a magnificent sweep over Lake Pend Oreille. This is a must, because the remainder of the trail provides just filtered views at best, even at the peak!

The ascent now got steeper as the trail climbed the flank of the mountain in five giant switchbacks. Conifers provided welcome shade, and the forest floor alternated between curious fungi and pretty yellow wildflowers.

Near the top, the path crosses a forest road and terminated at Bernard Peak. Having hiked almost ten miles to the peak, it was somewhat disheartening to see a fifth-wheel camper parked at the very top where a lookout tower once stood (FR2708 provides easy access from the other side). There were two large dogs lazying in the sun and I nonchalantly sidled up to them and inspected their food bowls. To my dismay they were water bowls. I gave the dogs a butt-sniffing–all seemed okay–and heeded the Scribe’s impatient call.

View from Bernard PeakThe view was nothing to write home about–mostly scarred mountainsides that had been clear-cut. The Scribe unpacked all the unnecessary gear he brought along and made tea. I got nothing, so I sent the local squirrel population into the pines. then it was time for a nap, before we headed back the way we came.

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

Fungi
Fungi
Wildflowers abound
Wildflowers abound
Outside state park
Outside state park
Rock formation in the lower part
Rock formation in the lower part
There are frequent meadows
There are frequent meadows
Mountain views are more frequent than lake views
Mountain views are more frequent than lake views
There are many switchbacks
There are many switchbacks
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille
Lots of treees
Lots of treees
Lakeviews are mostly filtered
Lakeviews are mostly filtered
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille
Naughty…
Naughty…
There aren’t too many flat trail sections
Setting up camp on Bernard Peak
Setting up camp on Bernard Peak
Trailmap

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