Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop
The Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop is a popular adventure in the Canfield Mountain Trail System. Contrary to what the name suggests, there is no cave along this route, instead, it is named for a large depression in the landscape created from mining excavation. What the circuit lacks in caverns, it makes up for in incredible scenery.
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Route Description for Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop
The Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop is a worthy addition to your adventure itinerary. Located in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, this route is conveniently situated near the city of Coeur D’Alene, so expect company—notably on the weekends. Those seeking a more tranquil experience are encouraged to head out in the early morning to avoid the crowds. Note this circuit is not well signposted, so we suggest downloading the trail GPS prior to departure. Additionally, as this area is shared with mountain bikers and off-roaders, roots, rocks, and ruts obstruct the path—so it is important to mind your footing!
For those who lack time to discover the backcountry, the Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop is the perfect wilderness escape. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the luxuries of the city, you can enjoy a wonderful workout in the Canfield Mountain Trail System. Whether you hike, bike, or drive this spectacular route, you will enjoy the picturesque scenes of Lake Coeur d’Alene along the way. While you can access this network of trails year-round, we encourage spring and summer exploration when the vegetation is lush, wildflowers blossom, and the terrain is easier to navigate. Boasting gorgeous scenery, you’ll want to bring your camera along on this adventure!
With plenty of water and the trail GPS in tow, your adventure along the Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop sets out from the trailhead in the West Side Canfield Parking Lot. While this route can be completed in either direction, we ventured counterclockwise, tracking the Trail 8 Penn Trail southeastward. Immediately after your departure, the path will begin to climb through a corridor of mixed conifers, including white pines, cedars, and firs. After some hiking, you will confront an intersection in an open patch of terrain. From here, you will be granted impressive views of Lake Coeur D’Alene. Revel in the beautiful scenery, then take a sharp left, continuing along the Trail 8 Penn Trail.
Now traveling northward, the gradual slope will eventually deliver you to another junction. Keep left here, and you will be diverted briefly onto Trail 7 before merging onto Trail A. Enjoy the scenery the meadowlands offer, then begin your descent northwest back beneath the tree canopy. Beyond this point, you will gradually navigate a decline to the trailhead. At the subsequent junction, you will turn left onto the Cave Trail, where you will be redirected south. As you wander this route, be mindful of speedy passers-by! Once you ultimately reach “the cave”, the trail’s end is just a few steps away. Follow the Cave Trail back to the parking lot, marking the end of your adventure.
Lake Coeur d'Alene
Lake Coeur d'Alene is a natural, dam-controlled lake that borders the city of Coeur d’Alene. This glacial reservoir is the second largest lake in Northern Idaho, encompassing over 129 km². Fed primarily by two inflows, the Coeur d’Alene River and St.Joe River—its outlet forms the Spokane River. While the Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop does not near the lake, there are several breathtaking overlooks of the large reservoir along the route. If time permits and you have a valid fishing license, head down to the lakeshore after your hike and try your hand at some bass or salmon!
Insider Hints for Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop
- The parking lot fills up fast, so arrive early to secure a spot
- Be mindful of bikers and off-roaders passing-by
- After rainfall the terrain becomes quite muddy, so mind your footing and wear an old pair of footwear
- Be wary of roots, rocks and ruts obstructing the path
- The trail GPS is necessary as the route is poorly marked
- Be mindful of wildlife as you progress through the wilderness
Getting to the Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop Trailhead
Find the trailhead for the Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop off N Nettleton Gulch Road in the West Side Canfield Parking Lot.
Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop Elevation Graph
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Trail 8, Penn, and Cave Trail Loop Reviews
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