Canfield Cave Loop

Reports of the Canfield Mountain trail system would be incomplete without mentioning its cave. Located perhaps a mere 50 yards from the trailhead, it’s up a one-way trail (the wrong way) and thus we hiked this 3.5 mile loop to get there the long way!

Location Coeur d’Alene Mountains
Rating 2.1 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (some uphill hiking)
Distance 3.5 miles
Duration 1:04 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 640 feet
High Point 3,167 feet (Trail A)
Low Point 2,521 feet (trailhead)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt, old logging road
Water Nettleton Gulch Creek
Status Unprotected
Administration Coeur d’Alene National Forest
Conditions Excellent
Permits None required
Camping None
Maps USGS Coeur d’Alene, Fernan Lake
Trailhead From I-90 take exit #14 and head north on 15th Street. After 1.1 miles turn right onto Nettleton Gulch Road. Arrive at the trailhead after 1.7 miles (lower parking lot). During the summer you can drive about a half mile further to the upper parking lot.

Google Directions (47.717101, -116.727231)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density They tried to sleep, but I woke them up!
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 4.8 miles
  • Lewiston 120.4 miles
  • Sandpoint 47.0 miles
  • Seattle 314.1 miles
  • Spokane 36.2 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date December 3, 2017

Trail #3 near trailheadThere are a number of trails converging at the trailhead, so be sure to pick #3 (all trails are signed). It leads uphill into the forest, almost immediately turns westwards and parallels the ATV road for a quarter mile, all the while gaining elevation. Then it shifts northwards, riding the spine of a flank to West Canfield Butte, climbing quite steeply until it spills out onto an old logging road just shy of the one-mile mark. 

The views are best from trail ATurn right onto the logging road, which is trail A and #6. Continue along the road until it forks just a short distance later, then take the lower trail, signed “A”. Continue on this old logging road, offering good views towards Lake Coeur d’Alene, until it peters out at the end of Nettleton Gulch. Along the way you’ll come upon another fork, where you’ll take the upper (left) branch (the right one is signed “deadend”) and ignore any single-tracks that may dissect the road (#5). Eventually the logging road morphs into a singletrack heading downhill towards the creek. There it switchbacks and shifts westwards to a creek crossing.

The cave. It is barred.This is also the intersection with trail #4, paralleling the creek and going westwards, while trail A crosses the creek and moves uphill. Trail #4 is rather pleasant, with the gurgle of the creek to your left and a fern-covered embankment to your right. Towards the end of trail #4 it veers away from the creek and pushes up into the hillside only to switchback and drop back down to the cave near the creek. The cave, incidentally, is an old mining exploration, barred and kind of small, located just ahead of the second switchback (to your left).

Altogether this is a pleasant little hike, but nothing to write home about. Watch out for dirt bikes and mountain bikes; perhaps this is a hike best reserved for winter months (bring your snowshoes)!

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

Upper trailhead parking lot
Upper trailhead parking lot
Trail #3 near trailhead
Trail #3 near trailhead
View of steep forested hillsides from trail #3
View of steep forested hillsides from trail #3
Filtered views of Dalton Gardens
Filtered views of Dalton Gardens
Parts of the trail are badly ripped up by dirtbike use
Parts of the trail are badly ripped up by dirtbike use
Getting foggy on trail A
Getting foggy on trail A
Trail A is an old logging road for most of the way
Trail A is an old logging road for most of the way
Fog getting very thick on trail A
Fog getting very thick on trail A
A crack in the fog and sudden views of Lake Coeur dAlene
A crack in the fog and sudden views of Lake Coeur d’Alene
The views are best from trail A
The views are best from trail A
Trail A contours relatively levelly along the mountain
Trail A contours relatively levelly along the mountain
A frosted pine
A frosted pine
Trail A narrowing and morphing into a singletrack
Trail A narrowing and morphing into a singletrack
Intersecton of trail A (left) and #4 (right)
Intersecton of trail A (left) and #4 (right)
Winter is not quite here yet
Winter is not quite here yet
Trail #4 is a one-way downhill
Trail #4 is a one-way downhill
The cave. It is barred.
The cave. It is barred.
Youll find the cave just ahead of the last switchback by the side of the road
You’ll find the cave just ahead of the last switchback by the side of the road
The cave opening is only a few feet in diameter
The cave opening is only a few feet in diameter
Teal: Canfield Cave Loop; Orange: Canfield East Flank Loop
Teal: Canfield Cave Loop; Orange: Canfield East Flank Loop

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

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s