Canfield Mountain South Flank

If you’re looking for grand views, a serious workout, a well-shaded trail, lots of wildlife, and a trailhead right in the city, then look no further than Canfield Mountain. Accessible from Mountain Vista Drive, the trail covers the 1,900-foot climb in just 1.8 miles and rewards you with views of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, and the Rathdrum Prairie all the way out to Spokane.

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.8 out of 5
Difficulty More Difficult (straight up)
Distance 3.5 miles
Duration 1:22 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 1,826 feet
High Point 4,099 feet (W Canfield Butte)
Low Point 2,229 feet (Trailhead)
Trail Type Out-and-back
Trailbed Packed dirt
Water None, puddles aside…
Status Unprotected
Administration CdA National Forest, Canfield Mtn Natural Area
Permits None required
Conditions Excellent
Camping Not really, most of the trail is too steep
Maps USGS Coeur d’Alene, Fernan Lake
Trailhead From I-90 take 15th Street north, turn right on Shadduck Lane, left on Copper, and another immediate left on Mountain Vista Drive. The trailhead is about 350 feet up on the right, across from the cul-de-sac, where the fire hydrant is.

Google Directions (47.716033, -116.752949)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Not sure what happened; didn’t find a single one!
Features Mountaintop
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 4.1 miles
  • Lewiston 119.7 miles
  • Sandpoint 44.6 miles
  • Seattle 313.4 miles
  • Spokane 35.5 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date September 22, 2016

TrailheadThere are three ways to climb Canfield Mountain, via the North side (from Tottens Pond), the East flank (from Nettleton Gulch), or the South flank. The route via the South flank is the shortest and steepest, climbing about 1,000 feet per mile. There’s no need to leave the city, since the trailhead is conveniently located on Mountain Vista Drive. The trail leads through the Canfield Mountain Natural Area, which additionally offers an upper and lower loop. Theoretically, trail selection could be difficult, due to those loops and the logging and motorcycle trails crisscrossing the upper sections of the mountain, but all you need to do is just stay on the ridge for the entire hike.

View from halfw...From the trailhead, the trail almost immediately kicks into high gear, grabbing the mountain head on and climbing steeply uphill over rocky terrain. Only a few minutes into the hike, glimpses of the surrounding cities (Coeur d’Alene, Dalton Gardens, Hayden Lake) filter through the trees. The trail continues higher, alternating between hard granite, cushioning beds of pine needles, and open meadows. There’s even an occasional puddle, if a mud bath is to your liking!

The trail stays...Straddling the ridge, the trail keeps climbing, up and up and up, to a giant overturned tree, indicating that three-quarters of the hike up is done, but the steepest part is still ahead. That steep part can be a bear, especially during the winter, in 2 feet of fresh snow…

Dying sun from ...The television and cell towers on the mountaintop soon come into view, announcing the turn-around point. The views here are generous, including Lake Coeur d’Alene to the south, the Rathdrum Prairie and Spokane to the west, the Selkirk Mountains to the northwest, and the Coeur d’Alene Mountains to the east.

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

Trailhead
Trailhead
Most of the trail is a bit steeper than this
Most of the trail is a bit steeper than this
Premium spa treatment
Premium spa treatment
View from halfway up the mountain
View from halfway up the mountain
Parts of the trail are shared with dirtbike riders
Parts of the trail are shared with dirtbike riders
The trail stays on the ridge for the entire journey
The trail stays on the ridge for the entire journey
Lake Coeur d’Alene
Dying sun from West Canfield Butte
Dying sun from West Canfield Butte
Spectacular sunset
Spectacular sunset
View northwest across the Rathdrum prairie towards the Selkirks
View northwest across the Rathdrum prairie towards the Selkirks
Whitetailed deer
Whitetailed deer
Trailmap

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