Sand Mountain Lookout Trail
The Sand Mountain Lookout Trail boasts incredible scenery and a great workout. Located in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, this enchanting adventure explores a forest of old-logging activities, old-growth stands, wildflowers, and wildlife.
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Route Description for Sand Mountain Lookout Trail
Immerse yourself in the wilderness and reconnect with nature on the Sand Mountain Lookout Hike. While much of this path travels beneath the closed tree canopy, there are sections open as a result of the previous logging, so we encourage you to dress in layers as insurance against varying conditions. Take note that when the terrain is wet, it becomes quite slippery, so mind your footing and take your time when this is the case. Exhibiting a diversity of flora, there is also an abundance of fauna, including mountain lions, so consider bringing along a can of bear spray.
Indulge in the beauty of the Panhandle National Forests and feel your stress melting away as you explore Idaho’s backcountry. The Sand Mountain Lookout Hike is a revered adventure that boasts an abundance of outdoor pursuits. The slopes of Sand Mountain are adorned with several routes that are great for hiking, biking, off-roading, and mountain biking in the summer months and in the winter—snowshoeing opportunities. While this trail is accessible year-round, the summer and spring bring blooming wildflowers, gurgling creeks, and easy hiking conditions.
Your adventure along the Sand Mountain Lookout Trail begins from the Sand Mountain Trailhead off Little Sand Creek Road. Setting out from here, the Sand Mountain begins to climb up the gradual slope along a seasonal creek. Enjoy the relaxing sounds of the beautiful creek as you climb—keeping an eye and ear out for wildlife along the way.
Traveling eastward through a corridor of grand fir, cedar, hemlock, and white pine, you will be fairly protected from the elements. In the spring, you might even be rewarded with the scene of thimbleberry, coral roots, and lady slippers! While the terrain is not overly technical, the consistent climb will tire you, so take your time and make sure to stay hydrated!
After some hiking, the path will briefly reroute you west to an intersection with 4784 Fire Road. Here, veer right, and you will be diverted onto a more primitive section of the Sand Mountain Trail, heading northeast. While this route is heavily wooded, you will be granted the odd view of Sand Mountain looming in the south. Note this path does not summit Sand Mountain but instead culminates at a ridge anchored by the peak. We ended our adventure here, though some continue south along the bluffs to the summit. When you are through exploring this beautiful setting, simply retrace your footing back down to the trailhead.
Sand Mountain is a densely forested summit in the Idaho Mountain Range, situated to the north of Mica Mountain. Standing at an elevation of 1,224 m, this mountain, and its forested ridges are adorned with trails beckoning the exploration of hikers, bikers, and off-roaders.
Insider Hints for Sand Mountain Lookout Trail
- Wildlife is abundant in this area—consider bringing a can of bear spray and know the procedures in the case of an encounter
- Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Charge your camera, the scenery is beautiful
- After rainfall the terrain can become quite slippery, so mind your footing
- Wear bug spray, the mosquitos are relentless
- While the trail GPS is not necessary, it could be useful in navigating overgrowth and trail junctions
Getting to the Sand Mountain Lookout Trail Trailhead
The Sand Mountain Lookout Trail is accessed via the Sand Mountain Trailhead off Little Sand Creek Road.
Sand Mountain Lookout Trail Elevation Graph
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Sand Mountain Lookout Trail Reviews
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