Our Trail Spotlight highlights day trips to multi-day hikes across Idaho. Trail conditions can change quickly- swollen rivers can become impassable, windstorms can knock trees down across trails, and snow can come earlier than expected. Please take these recommendations as a jumping off place and do additional research to understand current conditions and  keep yourself safe if you choose to hike this trail. Physical guidebooks and maps are always good to have or check out some online resources like Alltrails.com for updated trail reports. If your trip is as awesome as you hope it will be, please share photos and feedback!

Photo courtesy of Brad Smith

Duration: Day Hike

Area: Idaho Panhandle National Forest

Difficulty Rating: 3 – Although the hike is only 3.8 miles round trip, the elevation change is about 1,000 feet.

Road Considerations: Approximately 17 miles south of Sandpoint on U.S. Highway 95, turn east onto Blacktail Road. Drive 2.6 miles and turn right at Little Blacktail Road. Go another 2.6 miles, and turn right at East Ridge Road. Go a half mile and turn left onto a short spur road and follow it to the parking area. Access to the trailhead is well maintained an accessible to all standard vehicles.

Total hiking miles: 3.8 miles round trip.

The Hike:

The Evans Landing Trail provides hiking access to a wonderfully wild stretch of shoreline on the west shore of Lake Pend Oreille. It’s a great option for spring hiking in northern Idaho when trails in the high country are still covered in snow. The only other way to access the shoreline is by boat. Consequently, there are hardly ever any crowds.

The trail makes a short easy climb from the trailhead to a small saddle. From there, it’s like descending into a large cereal bowl from its rim, dropping about 1,000 feet to the lake in 1.5 miles. This portion of the lake was carved by continental glaciers during the last ice age. At Evans Landing, the lake is about 7 miles wide and 1,200 feet deep. You can visualize a large glacier carving the landscape. The view feels almost like an Alaskan Fjord.

From the shoreline and points along the trail, you can see Packsaddle Mountain rising above the opposite shore. To the northeast, you can see the Scotchman Peaks. If your lucky, you may see one of the U.S. Navy’s small test submarines emerging out in the lake.

Pack a picnic lunch and bottle of wine if you desire. There are two nice picnic tables at the landing, where hikers can snack, drink and soak in the views.

Perhaps the only drawback to Evans Landing is that the hike out is steep. Nevertheless, this trail is an underappreciated and relatively unknown gem.

Amenities: Two day use areas with picnic tables are available at the beach.

Things to consider: The Evans Landing Trail is well maintained, but hikers should keep in mind that it’s a steep uphill hike on the way out, gaining about 1,000 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles.

Fun places to visit on your way in or out: Great options for dining, drinks and other accommodations are available to the south in Bayview or to the north in Sandpoint.

More info about this hike: Visit the AllTrails page for Evans Landing to learn more.