This blog is part of our series honoring ITA’s 10-year anniversary!

There is one thing that all of the members of our board and staff have in common- a passion for trails! Here are 10 hikes hand-picked just for you.

  1. Kane Lake Trail (#66) in the Pioneer Mountains east of Ketchum

Kane Lake is a great trail for hikers of all ages and would make an excellent beginner backpacking trip.  Although the trail climbs nearly 2,000 feet from the trailhead to the lake, it is over about 3.5 miles so it is fairly gradual.  For the first few miles, the trail weaves alongside Kane Creek in a well-shaded forest.  There are plenty of lovely spots to stop and take a break.  About a mile from the lake, you start coming out of the forest and into more open terrain, passing through a couple of meadows that are sure to be full of wildflowers early season.  The Pioneers are full of spectacular peaks and the Kane Creek drainage doesn’t disappoint. You’ll get awesome views of Devil’s Bedstead and Devil’s Bedstead West as you get closer to the lake.  Although the lake isn’t large, there are a number of established camp areas and plenty of room for day hikers to sit and enjoy the scenery. Views from the lake also include waterfalls! Recommended by Pam Bond, Board of Directors

2. Scotchman Peak Trail in the Kaniksu National Forest near Clark Fork

Trail #65 leads to one of Idaho’s iconic summits, Scotchman Peak, as it looms over Lake Pend Oreille. Four miles of steep climbing (a 20% grade) leads to stunning views of lakes and mountains that seem to go on forever. From the summit, one can see mountains in three states (Montana, Idaho and Washington) and two countries – the US and Canada. The fortunate hikers will see another icon of the wild – mountain goats! Recommended by Phil Hough, Advisory Board

3. Swan Falls Trail in Morley Nelson Birds of Prey National Conservation Area south of Kuna

I grew up hiking and camping along the Snake River in the Swan Falls area. You can park at the dam and hike a 24-mile loop, crossing the Snake River at the Swan Falls dam and Guffey Trestle at Celebration Park in Melba. On river right you can explore the old homestead of Doc Hisom, a famous Idaho hermit. River left has petroglyphs from the Paiute and Shoshone tribes that inhabited the area for the last 10,000 years. Great hike for the shoulder season. Recommended by Clay Jacobson, Trails Program Director

4. Iron Creek-Stanley Lake Trail in the Sawtooth National Forest outside of Stanley

This trail starts at the Iron Creek campground and trailhead. It winds about 5 miles through pines and open space, ultimately arriving at the scenic Sawtooth Lake. It crosses small streams and passes Alpine Lake on the way. I love it because of its beauty and wildlife.  Recommended by Tobey Jinkins, Board of Directors

5. Big Boulder Creek Trailhead to Island Lake in The Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds Wilderness

From the start all the way until you get to Island Lake, this hike is truly stunning. With trees, valleys, and views of towering peaks there is no shortage of beautiful things to enjoy. The first backpacking trip I went on was in the White Clouds and it was truly a transformative experience that spurred my love of outdoor adventure. The White Clouds have many beautiful alpine lakes, but I am partial to Island Lake. With a little scrambling, you can relatively easily get onto the island in the middle of the lake. Standing on the point of the island that jets out into the lake is so peaceful. It feels like you’re standing on the clear blue lake water. I took my friends to this spot this summer and it was so wonderful to share this beautiful place with my friends. Recommended by Haley Robinson, Advisory Board

6. Beetop Roundtop #120 (aka – The Alpine Way) in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest north of Lake Pend Oreille

This 18-mile trail runs from Trestle Creek Road on the north end to West Spring Creek on the south. Beetop Roundtop, which is part of the Idaho Centennial Trail, climbs to the top of alpine ridges that are 4,000′ above beautiful Lake Pend Oreille. The views are fantastic and the meadows are full of bear grass and huckleberries later in the season. Judy, our dogs, and I love to enjoy sunny days hiking this special trail and lying in the meadows while watching the eagles soaring well below us. Recommended by Tom Dabrowski, President of the Board of Directors

7. South Fork of Chamberlain Creek, Trail #019 in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness

I really appreciate the skill of laying out a trail from point to point, keeping it on a good grade, planning for natural water control and a smooth layout with nicely built switchbacks and climbing turns.  It’s wonderful to walk on a trail that works its way up the mountain and is not climbing a steep 30% grade and the old trail is rehabbed and going back to nature.  A good example of this is the South Fork of Chamberlain Creek in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.  Where you used to drop in from Cow Corrals, you now make a gentle right-hand turn and don’t even notice the old trail dropping straight down the fall line.  You take some nice switchbacks and drop elevation and before you know it you are passing Mosquito Lake and almost to Red Top Meadows and the flats along Chamberlain Creek.  The old steep downhill used to kill the knees and quads and now it is a nice hike.  Recommended by Jeff Halligan, Executive Director

8. Grouse Mountain Trail near Sagle above Lake Pend Oreille

This is an “unofficial trail” as it starts on a private forest land before climbing onto a ridge with phenomenal views of the lake, Monarch Mountains and Cabinet Mountain Range. The trail is around 6 miles round trip with 1580 feet of elevation gain and is always interesting as some bushwacking is required to access the ridge. This hike has it all. It starts along an old logging road walking through forests and then through some brush and open areas before moving up to the ridge with many different species of flowers and grasses. The views are breathtaking. Recommended by Herbert Klein, Board of Directors

9. Bear Lake Trail in the Payette National Forest southeast of Warren

If you know where Warren is (hint: on the Warren Wagon Road north of McCall), you know this is a secluded hike. But FS trail #079 to the lake is fairly easy and in good condition. There is fishing, and for the brave, swimming.  Then saddle back up and do the loop on FS trail #128 for spectacular ridge-top views as you head north to FS trail #129, which will take you back to your car. Stop in Warren at the Baum Shelter on the way home for a rustic take on Idaho mining history…and a great burger! Recommended by John Platt, Advisory Board

10. Earthquake Basin Interpretive Trail in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest outside of Grangeville

This trail starts across the road from the McAllister Picnic Area and switchbacks up for 2 1/4 miles to beautiful Earthquake Basin. The trail disappears once up in the open fields of the basin and is a great place to explore! I grew up visiting this unique area and one time on a family hike, we found seven whitetail deer antlers scattered around. We visit almost every year but have never found antlers again! Recommended by Kelly Hewes, Communications & Outreach Specialist