Eagle Hut Loop

The Eagle Hut Loop is part of Fourth of July Pass’s winter recreation area. The 8.5-mile loop leads along both groomed and ungroomed trails and culminates at a back-country warming hut. The A-frame, built by Ian Truscott in 2007 as an Eagle Scout project, comes complete with benches and a small wood-fired stove.

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.5 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (uphill; tough quarter mile after the hut)
Distance 8.5 miles
Duration 2:57 hours moving time (cross-country skiing)
Elevation Gain 819 feet
High Point 3,599 feet (Skywalker)
Low Point 3,004 feet
Trail Type Lollipop
Trailbed Decommissioned fire roads
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 three-quarters into the hike (Ian’s Eagle Hut)
Maps USGS Lane
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #28 (Fourth of July Recreation Area) and head south for half a mile. You can either park on Lakes Divide Road or follow the lower road to the ski trailhead (which comes with restrooms).

Google Directions (47.62181, -116.52804)

Season Winter
Squirrel Density I know they’re out there somewhere…
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 15.2 miles
  • Lewiston 132.0 miles
  • Sandpoint 60.3 miles
  • Seattle 325.7 miles
  • Spokane 47.9 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date December 26, 2016

View from Skywa...The loop starts out on Lakes Divide Road #614 (aka Skywalker), which meanders along the side of the mountain at a very manageable incline and offers occasional filtered views of the surrounding hillsides. Roughly a mile into the loop, take a right onto Skateaway (#614C), which is a delightful downhill stretch when groomed (it wasn’t groomed when we were there, but still fun).

Peaceful View s...The trail becomes High Road at the point where Loose Moose branches off to the right. Bear left and stay on High Road, skiing past a clearing with nice views and drop down to the Peaceful View shelter along a well-groomed section of trail. At the shelter take a left and head up Elderberry, an old fire road (this is still #614C) that winds steadily up the mountainside, firmly anchored by thick forest on both sides. About 4.5 miles into the loop you will get to the “benches” (there used to be two, now just one remains). If they were actually covered, this would make for a decent resting place. Since they’re not, and the hut less than a mile away, it’s best to move on.

The hut up clos...The approach to the hut is usually not groomed and leads through a tunnel of thickly-growing fir trees. Inside the hut you will find a small wood-burning stove, a pile of firewood (bring matches!), and a couple of benches. The small building makes an excellent resting place and will heat up fast.

The ski trail r...After the hut, things get hairy as the next quarter mile leads through forest and is fairly steep and icy. Given the tree cover, there may not even be enough snow for skiing (this was not a problem this year). There also appears to be a disproportional amount of windfall along this section (also not an issue this year). Sometimes it’s just best to take the skis off. Eventually, the trail emerges on another old forest road (#1575) called Eagle Run, which leads steadily uphill and merges with Skywalker.

Views are best ...The high ridge of Skywalker presents perhaps the best views along this loop, though only of surrounding hillsides. The trail remains flat for less than a mile, before the descent starts. Skywalker gets a fair amount of snowshoe and ski traffic, and thus the snow is typically quite packed down and makes for a fun downhill ride.

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

A popular sledding hill near the trailhead
A popular sledding hill near the trailhead
View from Skywalker
View from Skywalker
Skiing up Skywalker
Skiing up Skywalker
Fir, pine, and an occasional red cedar
Fir, pine, and an occasional red cedar
More skiing on Skywalker
More skiing on Skywalker
View of clearing we’ll cross later
Peaceful View shelter
Peaceful View shelter
Elderberry trail
Elderberry trail
It dumped almost a foot of fresh snow over Christmas and the trails weren’t groomed yet.
Naughty loves snow!
Naughty loves snow!
The Benches. Down to one…
The Benches. Down to one…
We ran out of track shortly after the benches. The going got tough.
We ran out of track shortly after the benches. The going got tough.
Ian’s Eagle Hut
The hut up close
The hut up close
The hut has a wood-fired stove that heats up the small space quickly
The hut has a wood-fired stove that heats up the small space quickly
Naughty found a comfy spot
Naughty found a comfy spot
The quarter mile immediately following the hut is treacherous and steep
The quarter mile immediately following the hut is treacherous and steep
The ski trail resumes on an old logging road
The ski trail resumes on an old logging road
Making track on the Eagle Run trail
Making track on the Eagle Run trail
It’s about 1.5 miles from the hut to Skywalker
Skywalker is just around the corner now
Skywalker is just around the corner now
Views are best from Skywalker
Views are best from Skywalker
We found someone else’s tracks on Skywalker
The weather cooperated, but dark clouds mingled with blue sky
The weather cooperated, but dark clouds mingled with blue sky
Skywalker is a very wide road with enough room for both skiers and snowshoers
Skywalker is a very wide road with enough room for both skiers and snowshoers
Downhill on Skywalker
Downhill on Skywalker
View north from Skywalker
View north from Skywalker
Getting close to trailhead
Getting close to trailhead
Trailmap
Alternate Routes

  • Add Spenser’s S’s to the loop
  • Extend the loop by going south on Skywalker/Moonrunner to the Rose Creek Saddle (end of groomed trail)
  • Descend via Twisted Klister instead of Skywalker
  • Start the loop on Havin’ Fun


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

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