Cabinet Mountains

The Cabinet Mountains stretch from Bonners Ferry in Idaho almost all the way to Missoula in Montana. To the north they are bordered by the Purcell Mountains. Lake Pend Oreille and the Kootenai river separate the Cabinets from the Selkirks to the West, and in the south the dividing line is the Clark Fork river. Eastwards, the Cabinets extend to Flathead Lake and River. The mountains were christened by French explorers, who likened the rock formations to cabinets.

The Cabinets are distinctly higher than the Coeur d’Alene Mountains to the south, with the tallest peak, Snowshoe Peak, at 8,738 feet. That peak harbors the last remaining glacier in the Cabinets, Blackwell Glacier.

The majority of the Cabinet Mountains is in public hands, administered by the Forest Service (Idaho Panhandle, Lolo and Kootenai National Forest). The area in Idaho is largely unprotected, while the Montana side boasts the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, protecting the highest peaks. The wilderness, created in 1964, consists of 94,000 acres, which is only about 5% of the Cabinets’ total expanse (an additional wilderness near Scotchman peak has been proposed).

Photo Trail Rating Difficulty Distance Elevation Gain Duration Type Features
n/a Buck Lake Loop 4.5 More Difficult 37.7 m 5,680 ft 13:46 h Loop Mountaintop, Lake, Grove, Meadow
n/a Char Falls 2.6 Easy 1.2 m 98 ft 0:25 h Out-and-back Waterfall
n/a Gem Lake 4.1 More Difficult 3.2 m 1,149 ft 1:23 h Out-and-back Mountaintop, Lake
n/a Lake Darling – Pend Oreille Divide Loop 3.8 Moderate 8.0 m 1,810 ft 3:18 h Loop Mountaintop, Lake, Meadow
n/a Lake Estelle to Gem Lake Connector 3.9 Strenuous 2.6 m 1,142 ft 2:07 h Out-and-back Mountaintop, Lake
n/a St. Paul Lake 3.2 Moderate 8.7 m 1,720 ft 3:21 h Out-and-back Lake, Grove
n/a Three Lakes Loop (Blacktail Lake, Moose Lake, Lake Estelle) 3.6 Moderate 14.6 m 2,729 ft 5:39 h Lollipop Mountaintop, Lake, Meadow

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