Pyramid Pass

The Pyramid Pass trail isn’t particularly spectacular on its own, but it’s an important connector to several trails leading to breathtaking alpine lakes in the northern American Selkirks, connecting the Long Canyon and Parker Ridge trails with those in the Trout Creek drainage. 

Location Selkirk Mountains
Rating 2.3 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (some uphill hiking)
Distance 5.0 miles
Duration 2:10 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 1,500 feet
High Point 6,743 feet (pass)
Low Point 5,410 feet (southern trailhead)
Trail Type Out-and-back
Trailbed Packed dirt, loose rocks
Trail# 13
Water A few brooks on the southern side. The last reliable one at the fork with the Big Fisher trail
Status National Scenic Trail
Administration Kaniksu National Forest
Conditions Excellent
Permits None required
Camping At the southern trailhead
Maps USGS Pyramid Peak
Trailhead From U.S. Highway 95 in Bonners Ferry, drive west on Riverside Road (aka Country Road 18A) past the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge to the Refuge’s headquarters. Take West Side Road (blacktopped) north for 10 miles to Trout Creek Road #634. Take #634 uphill for 9 miles to the trailhead (there is only limited parking for about 10 vehicles)

Google Directions (48.80573, -116.59923)

Season July – October
Squirrel Density Excellent
Features Mountaintop
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 100.7 miles
  • Lewiston 214.3 miles
  • Sandpoint 54.9 miles
  • Seattle 404.2 miles
  • Spokane 126.4 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date August 28, 2017

Trail register at junction of #13 and #43 (Pyramid/Ball Lakes)From the Trout Creek trailhead, the path leads uphill for half a mile through an old clearcut, then mature forest, to the trail register at the intersection with the Pyramid Lake trail (#43). Trail #13 (right) continues uphill beneath a light cover of spruce and alpine fir, occasionally sidling up to a small brook, and after another three-quarters of a mile reaches the fork to Big Fisher Lake (#41). Beneath a wooden bridge you’ll probably find a year-around trickle, but this is likely the last reliable source of water. Continue left (uphill) and take in the limited views into the Pyramid Lake basin. It’s to your left, but you can’t actually see the lake. A few switchbacks ease the ascent, then the trail flattens out a bit only to get steeper again as you approach the pass. Once again switchbacks help with the incline.

PassThe pass is rather anticlimactic, located in a heavily forested narrow saddle between Pyramid Peak and the Parker/Fisher range. A large boulder invites you to take a break and ponder a scramble to the top of Pyramid Peak. We planned on that, but the smoke made breathing difficult and views were impossible and thus we nixed the idea. It’s definitely a very worthwhile endeavor, though, up about 600 vertical feet.

A high-mountain basin near the pass on the northern sideThe descent on the northern side is pleasant, leading through a grassy boulder-strewn high-mountain bowl to the junction with trails 7 and 221 in about half a mile.

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

The area around trail #13 is lightly forested, just enough to block most views
The area around trail #13 is lightly forested, just enough to block most views
Trail register at junction of #13 and #43 (Pyramid/Ball Lakes)
Trail register at junction of #13 and #43 (Pyramid/Ball Lakes)
Trail between enormous boulders on the southern side
Trail between enormous boulders on the southern side
Mosses
Mosses
The trail hugs the side of a mountain that eventually becomes the Fisher ridge
The trail hugs the side of a mountain that eventually becomes the Fisher ridge
View into the Pyramid Lake basin
View into the Pyramid Lake basin
Trail on the southern side
Trail on the southern side
Pass
Pass
A high-mountain basin near the pass on the northern side
A high-mountain basin near the pass on the northern side
Trail marker at nothern trailhead
Trail marker at nothern trailhead
Brown: Pyramid Pass #13; Purple: Ball Lakes #43; Orange: Big Fisher Lake #41; Grey: Long Canyon/Parker Ridge #7, 221
Brown: Pyramid Pass #13; Purple: Ball Lakes #43; Orange: Big Fisher Lake #41; Grey: Long Canyon/Parker Ridge #7, 221

Alternate Routes

  • To spice things up a bit, scramble up Pyramid Peak


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