Hidden away in the mountains just outside St. Maries, Idaho is Crystal Lake. The clear water gathers at the top of a valley where boulder strewn ridges coalesce together and keep the lake secret on all sides but one. Getting into this mountain lake is a kind of choose your own adventure hike. Starting from just below the summit of nearby Mt. Baldy, hike straight up to the ridge tops where you’ll be afforded a view of the lake and valley, stretching out before you like a giant hippodrome. Farther down the valley you’ll find the true trailhead, and a path into the lake winding across slides of rock and giant boulders. Panoramic views of the valley below line the entirety of this trail. The trail here is short, only a few miles in length, but there is a lot of hiking to do in exploration of the lake itself, mountain forests and imposing ridges that make up the entirety of Crystal Lake’s experience.
Directions: Trail head is about 54 miles southeast of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Take US-90 east from Coeur d’Alene for 25 miles to the Cataldo exit (exit 40) then south on Latour Cr./Rochat Divide Road for 29 miles. There are no fees.
Location: 10 miles NE of St. Maries, ID
Nearby City: St. Maries, Idaho
Hike Length: About 3 miles round trip