Fourth of July Groomed XC-Ski Loop

At just over 3000 feet altitude, snow-sufficiency can be hit or miss at the Fourth of July Recreation area. When there’s enough, this is a convenient and popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing area, located just minutes from I-90. The trail system south of the freeway is entirely reserved for non-motorized recreation, and some of the trails are groomed for tracked cross-country skiing.

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.5 out of 5
Difficulty Easy
Distance 5.5 miles
Duration 1:28 hours moving time (cross-country skiing)
Elevation Gain 383 feet
High Point 3,290 feet
Low Point 2,943 feet
Trail Type Lollipop
Trailbed Decommissioned fire road
Water None
Status Unprotected
Administration Coeur d’Alene National Forest
Permits Park n Ski permit required for parking during winter months
Conditions Excellent
Camping There is a warming hut near the trailhead and a shelter at the halfway point. There are pit toilets at the trailhead and at the halfway-point shelter
Maps USGS Lane
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #28 (Fourth of July Recreation Area) and head south for half a mile. Follow the lower road to the ski trailhead. The ski trail starts at the back of the parking lot, to the right.

Google Directions (47.621046, -116.531369)

Season Winter
Squirrel Density Out in droves because Naughty wasn’t there… (dogs are not allowed on the groomed triails)
Features Structure
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 15.5 miles
  • Lewiston 132.3 miles
  • Sandpoint 60.5 miles
  • Seattle 325.9 miles
  • Spokane 48.1 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date December 23, 2016

Warming hut near trailheadThe first part of the trail is called Havin’ Fun and follows an old logging road past a warming hut, meanders uphill, past snowmobile sheds, and levels off among filtered views of the surrounding hillsides. The trail then declines slightly towards the intersection with Loose Moose.

Trees create a tunnel from the snowmobile shed onwardsBear right, staying on Havin’ Fun, as the trail drops further, skirting a large clearing (which it will cross again higher up later). The trail bottoms out around the 2-mile mark, then rises and curves around in a large sweeping bend called The Swoop and comes to a T-intersection with Elderberry and High Road. Here you will find the Peaceful View shelter and pit toilets, at roughly the same altitude as the trailhead.

Treetop View outlook. Worth a stop even if you dont go up Elderberry.Take a right and follow Elderberry for a quarter-mile, then take the short spur to the right that leads to an outlook over the surrounding hills. The trail isn’t exactly blessed with views, so this is a worthwhile detour!

The best views are from the upper end of the clearing.Return to Peaceful View and take the High Road, which contours uphill towards the clearing. It emerges onto the clearing at the upper edge and offers what are likely the best views. Moose also favor this spot, so watch out. The trail continues up at a manageable incline to an intersection with Loose Moose (around the 4-mile mark). Take a left onto Loose Moose and follow it back to Havin’ Fun. From there it’s about a mile back to the trailhead.

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

Trailhead
Trailhead
Warming hut near trailhead
Warming hut near trailhead
For the most part, the trail follows old logging roads
For the most part, the trail follows old logging roads
There isnt enough snow for skiing every year. This year looks great!
There isn’t enough snow for skiing every year. This year looks great!
Trees create a tunnel from the snowmobile shed onwards
Trees create a tunnel from the snowmobile shed onwards
Junction of Havin Fun and Loose Moose
Junction of Havin’ Fun and Loose Moose
The trail hugs the lower end of a clearing. The return loop will follow the upper edge.
The trail hugs the lower end of a clearing. The return loop will follow the upper edge.
Trail ascending towards the Swoop
Trail ascending towards the Swoop
Halfway Point: Peaceful View shelter
Halfway Point: Peaceful View shelter
Treetop View outlook. Worth a stop even if you dont go up Elderberry.
Treetop View outlook. Worth a stop even if you don’t go up Elderberry.
The clearing revisited, this time along the upper edge. This is a likely spot for a moose encounter.
The clearing revisited, this time along the upper edge. This is a likely spot for a moose encounter.
The best views are from the upper end of the clearing.
The best views are from the upper end of the clearing.
Junction of High Road and Loose Moose
Junction of High Road and Loose Moose
Trailmap
Alternate Routes

  • Continue on Elderberry and return via Eagle Run and Skywalker


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

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