Blue Creek Bay Loop

The Blue Creek Bay trail combines an extensive network of former logging roads into a roughly six-mile lollipop loop. The trail is well-maintained, easy to hike, and mostly double-track. The forest is more open and interspersed with meadows than most in the inland northwest, making this more suitable for cooler weather than the very shaded Mineral Ridge trail across Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.0 out of 5
Difficulty Easy
Distance 6.1 miles
Duration 1:49 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 972 feet
High Point 2,810 feet (Ridge)
Low Point 2,105 feet (Trailhead)
Trail Type Lollipop
Trailbed Packed dirt; decommissioned logging roads
Water None
Status County Park
Administration Wallace Forest Conservation Area (managed by BLM)
Permits None required
Conditions Excellent
Camping Not allowed
Maps USGS Fernan Lake
Trailhead From I-90 take the Wolf Lodge Bay exit (#22) and turn north. Follow the Yellowstone Trail Road (left, gravel road) for about two miles for the upper trailhead or continue and turn south onto the Landing Road which leads to the boat launch. There is plenty of parking at either trailhead.

Google Directions (47.630982, -116.668128)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Alas, dogs have to be leashed… 😦
Features Lake, Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 8.7 miles
  • Lewiston 125.5 miles
  • Sandpoint 53.8 miles
  • Seattle 319.2 miles
  • Spokane 41.3 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date September 18, 2016

Blue Creek BayThe Blue Creek Bay area is conveniently located at the east end of Lake Coeur d’Alene, only a few miles from the city, and most of those are on I-90. The lower trailhead (non-motorized boat launch) offers picnic areas and several docks. The trail commences on the left-hand side of the road (as you approach) and immediately ascends the hill, covered by a dense and lush forest canopy. The trail is well marked with blue blazes. Bear left (straight) when you get to the first marker that seems puzzling. As you continue, the trail meanders through open meadows, crosses Yellowstone Trail Road and leads to the upper trailhead. The trail continues to the right of the trailhead and gets steeper as you go on, with a few switchbacks making the steepest parts easier.

A pretty stump ...As soon as you emerge on the ridge, the forest recedes and gives way to open meadows. The trail widens to a double-track as it dissects the meadow. To the left are remnants of an old corral, attesting to the area’s former agricultural and logging uses. The trail continues to ascend, veering off to the left, and then moving into the forest once again, taking the shape of a single track. The shade is welcome on a hot day, but doesn’t last long, as the trail soon crosses the next meadow, morphs into yet another old logging road, and climbs the ridge once again. At the ridgeline, the trail turns almost 180 degrees, and continues slightly uphill, promising the hiker incredible views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Soon the highest point of the hillock is attained and all hopes for a great vantage point are dashed. It is pretty nonetheless, a park-like setting with trees interspersed with glens and meadows. At the end of this plateau, the main path (old logging road) swerves north and downhill; instead, follow the single-track straight into the woods. The path is unmarked, aside from an arrow pointing south with the label “Ruby Ridge”. It is well-trodden, though, and easy to follow. It also offers the best views of Lake Coeur d’Alene, especially Wolf Lodge Bay and Mineral Ridge. The path drops, following the contour of the ridge. Near the bottom it swerves to the right, picking up another old logging road, which leads to another marked as the “red” trail. Continue upwards on this road and take a left on the “orange” trail after a few hundred yards. The orange trail (also an old logging road) offers occasional filtered views of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Blue Creek Bay. It makes its way uphill steadily, where it joins up with the “blue” trail. Follow this downhill and back to the trailhead.

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

Parking lot and docks (lower trailhead)
Parking lot and docks (lower trailhead)
Blue Creek Bay
Blue Creek Bay
Lower trailhead
Lower trailhead
An inviting bench overlooking a meadow in the lower section
An inviting bench overlooking a meadow in the lower section
Path leading slightly uphill through meadows
Path leading slightly uphill through meadows
Crossing the road to the upper trailhead
Crossing the road to the upper trailhead
A rotting corral
A rotting corral
A pretty stump up on the ridge
A pretty stump up on the ridge
Most of the trail is double track
Most of the trail is double track
Rosehips
Rosehips
Filtered views of Mineral Ridge and Wolf Lodge Bay
Filtered views of Mineral Ridge and Wolf Lodge Bay
An overturned tree
An overturned tree
Filtered views of Blue Creek bay
Filtered views of Blue Creek bay
Trailmap

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