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Stevens Lake

Eastern Washington > Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
47.4542, -115.7664 Map & Directions
Length
6.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1770 feet
Highest Point
5745 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate/Hard
Lower and Upper Stevens Lake from the ridge above on a snowy fall day. Photo by Holly Weiler. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Waterfalls
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

This easily-accessed trail just off I-90 in north Idaho leads to two alpine lakes. Continue reading

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Hiking Stevens Lake

Located just a short distance from I-90 in north Idaho, the Stevens Lakes Trail leads to two alpine lakes nestled beneath Stevens Peak in the Bitterroot Mountains.

The trail is short yet steep, and includes several challenging aspects, making it an ideal year-round training ground. The area is popular as a winter backcountry skiing destination (gear and expertise required, as there is avalanche terrain), and snowshoe hikers occasionally venture up to Lower Stevens Lake.

The area has long been the traditional training location for the annual Spokane Mountaineers' spring Mountain School, where aspiring Mountaineers go to practice crampon usage, self-arrest with ice axe, and safe rope travel while ascending to Stevens Peak in spring snow conditions. Once the trail melts out in late spring, Lower Stevens is a popular introductory backpack trip destination. There are several small campsites near the outlet stream. Since the trail is fairly short, it is also an excellent dayhike location.  

The main trail from the trailhead to Lower Stevens Lakes includes both short steep sections and moderate terrain through forested areas. A few relics from the area's mining history can be seen along the trail. The crossing of East Fork Willow Creek (lower Stevens Lake's outlet stream) can be challenging during spring run-off conditions. Just above the stream crossing is a waterfall which can be viewed from the trail. Following the stream crossing, the trail grade climbs more steeply. The trail crosses a talus slope, then switchbacks up to Lower Stevens Lake.

A small, narrow trail leads along the west side of Lower Stevens and connects to Upper Stevens Lake for further exploration (hiking distance and elevation gain for this hike includes extending the trip to Upper Stevens Lake). By late summer, the huckleberry bushes surrounding both lakes are covered in plump ripe berries. After the first touch of frost the fall colors are fantastic here.

Hike Description Written by
Holly Weiler, WTA Correspondent

Stevens Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4542, -115.7664 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From I-90 take East Mullan exit 69. Turn left from the off-ramp, then take the next right onto Friday Ave. At .8 mile bear slightly right onto Willow Creek Road. Continue 1.7 miles, crossing I-90 on an overpass, where the road becomes a dirt Forest Service Road (NF 8008). There is a parking lot with CXT toilet at the trail head.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Eastern Washington > Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene

Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Coeur d'Alene River District

Guidebooks & Maps

100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest by Rich Landers

Mountaineers Books.

USGS Mullan

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Stevens Lake

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