Canfield Mountain South Flank

If you’re looking for grand views, a serious workout, a well-shaded trail, lots of wildlife, and a trailhead right in the city, then look no further than Canfield Mountain. Accessible from Mountain Vista Drive, the trail covers the 1,900-foot climb in just 1.8 miles and rewards you with views of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, and the Rathdrum Prairie all the way out to Spokane.
  • Coeur d’Alene Mountains
2.8 out of 5
More Difficult (straight up)
3.5 miles
1:22 hours moving time (Hiking)
Elevation Gain
1,826 feet
High Point
4,099 feet (West Canfield Butte)
Low Point
2,229 feet (trailhead)
  • Mountain
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Out-and-back
  • Trailbed
    Packed dirt
  • None, puddles aside…
  • Camping
    • Not really, most of the trail is too steep
    • Excellent
  • Coeur d’Alene National Forest
  • Canfield Mountain Natural Area
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Fernan Lake
  • Coeur d’Alene
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • (None required)
    Open To
  • Hikers
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Mountain Bikers
  • ()
    September 22, 2016

    There are three ways to climb Canfield Mountain, via the North side (from Tottens Pond), the East flank (from Nettleton Gulch), or the South flank. The route via the South flank is the shortest and steepest, climbing about 1,000 feet per mile. There’s no need to leave the city, since the trailhead is conveniently located on Mountain Vista Drive. The trail leads through the Canfield Mountain Natural Area, which additionally offers an upper and lower loop. Theoretically, trail selection could be difficult, due to those loops and the logging and motorcycle trails crisscrossing the upper sections of the mountain, but all you need to do is just stay on the ridge for the entire hike.

    From the trailhead, the trail almost immediately kicks into high gear, grabbing the mountain head on and climbing steeply uphill over rocky terrain. Only a few minutes into the hike, glimpses of the surrounding cities (Coeur d’Alene, Dalton Gardens, Hayden Lake) filter through the trees. The trail continues higher, alternating between hard granite, cushioning beds of pine needles, and open meadows. There’s even an occasional puddle, if a mud bath is to your liking!

    Straddling the ridge, the trail keeps climbing, up and up and up, to a giant overturned tree, indicating that three-quarters of the hike up is done, but the steepest part is still ahead. That steep part can be a bear, especially during the winter, in 2 feet of fresh snow…

    The television and cell towers on the mountaintop soon come into view, announcing the turn-around point. The views here are generous, including Lake Coeur d’Alene to the south, the Rathdrum Prairie and Spokane to the west, the Selkirk Mountains to the northwest, and the Coeur d’Alene Mountains to the east.

    Alternate Routes

    • Check out the nearby hikes; there are many ways to climb Canfield Butte!

    Things to Consider

      Not so great

        Most of the trail is a bit steeper than this
        Premium spa treatment
        View from halfway up the mountain
        Parts of the trail are shared with dirtbike riders
        The trail stays on the ridge for the entire journey
        Lake Coeur d’Alene
        Dying sun from West Canfield Butte
        View northwest across the Rathdrum prairie towards the Selkirks
        Antennas on West Canfield
        View from the top in summer
        View from the top in winter
        Naughty on the peak
        View across Dalton Gardens
        Spectacular sunset
        Whitetailed deer