We woke up to beautiful blue skies with a forecast calling for 70 degree temps, and it just so happens to be Earth Day. What to do? Go hiking! We loaded up the kids and provisions and hit Interstate 90 East. I have hiked Mineral Ridge a few times myself but had yet to take the family and what a perfect day for it. We picked up the Wolfe Lodge Bay exit then drove south along Lake Coeur d’Alene a short way to the already full trailhead parking lot for the Mineral Ridge Trail, never seen the parking lot before. We continued past the trailhead to a pullout on the left side of the road just before the turn off for Beauty Bay Campground. We kept the kids close to the shoulder of the highway as we walked the somewhat exposed road back to the actual trailhead where the ladies used the restroom before starting our hike.
The trail began on a wide path that switchbacked through trees ascending alongside wooden handrails to our first junction. The temps were a bit chilly at the start of the hike especially in pockets where the wind blowing off of Lake Coeur d’Alene punched it’s way through the trees. The trail is in good shape and climbs at a steady but comfortable pace, lots of people were using the trail that day and the kids especially enjoyed the many four legged critters on leashes that we encountered along the way. Robin is training for a spartan race that’s a couple weeks away so she took advantage of the terrain to run uphill ahead of us. The kids and I lagged behind taking in all the sights and sounds the forest had to offer. Eventually we reached a signed turn off for the prospectors trail where we went left.
The trail traversed the hillside below the spine of Mineral Ridge eventually ending at a giant hole blasted through rock into the side of the mountain. The kids rejoiced at there find and found it a pretty awesome place to explore, they were just the right size to enter the cave and look around. I opted to stay outside and enjoy the experience of just watching them. The protectors cave was much bigger that I remember and well worth the side trip especially if you have little hikers along for the adventure. Eventually we said farewell to the failed mine shaft before returning back to the junction with the main trail where we went left, continuing counter clockwise along the loop. We climbed through a welcoming stand of trees before eventually topping out along the ridge where we found Robin. We went right at the junction traveling east along the spine of Mineral Ridge to another junction where we went left on the Wilson Trail.
This is my favorite section of trail because you leave the crowds behind and the wide path narrows to a tried and true hiker trail. We traveled through a dark mossy section of trail passing a soil chart displaying the many layers of earth below our feet and eventually reached a stellar view at Blue Bird Bird Overlook near a bench overlooking Lake Coeur d’ Alene to the west and the Coeur d’ Alene Mountains toward Fourth of July Pass to the east. We lingered for a bit while the kids enjoyed a snack, it felt good to feel the sun’s heat again, it turned out to be an amazing day. After snacks we picked up the Lost Man Trail continuing uphill as we climbed a couple switchbacks to a more commanding views toward Fourth of July Pass at Silver Wave Overlook before we eventually reached Forest Service Road 1575.
After reaching the forest road we turned right walking along the right the right side of the road until we found a faint path heading off downhill through the trees. Eventually, the faint path met another one creating a more obvious trail heading downhill west through an open forest. The views from the trail were awesome, we were treated to a panoramic view of Coeur d Alene Lake from Beauty Bay to Blue Creek Bay and beyond past Higgins Point all the way to the Spokane River. After taking in the view we made the slow steep descent back to the junction with the main trail completing the small loop side trail. A short ways back down the trail we met back up with the hordes of people at the Caribou Cabin. We opted out of stopping with everyone else and continued on downhill through a set of switchbacks to a commanding view of the lake at Silver Tip Overlook.
After taking in the views and a few pictures we got out of there making quick work of the trail back to the trailhead finishing the loop. The ladies had to use the restroom which was out of toilet paper so I donated a roll from my backpack to the outhouse. Jameson and I left to get the car then returned to pick up Robin and Kylie before making our way to Capone’s in Post Falls for burgers and brews before heading back to town just in time for Kylie’s baseball practice. Mineral Ridge is a great hike, the side trail to Blue Bird Overlook and the Lost Man Trail is a must, we covered 4.5 miles with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Mineral Ridge makes for a great spring hike for folks looking for a place to walk when the low elevation snow is gone but still blankets the high country. For more pictures click the link. Mineral Ridge Hiking Pictures