Char Falls

Char Falls is more of a stroll than a hike, but if you happen to be hiking in this remote area of the Idaho Cabinets you may as well pay a visit. You’ll find a nice cool spot on the rock slabs amidst the upper falls, and a short scramble brings the not-so-faint-of-heart to the bottom of the 50-foot main waterfall.
  • Cabinet Mountains
2.6 out of 5
Easy (except for the scramble down to the falls)
1.2 miles
0:25 hours moving time (Hiking)
Elevation Gain
98 feet
High Point
4,194 feet (Trailhead)
Low Point
4,051 feet (Char Falls)
  • Waterfall
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Out-and-back
  • Trailbed
    Logging road
  • Lightning Creek
  • Camping
    • There is a primitive campside at the Char Falls overlook
    • Excellent
  • Kaniksu National Forest
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Trestle Peak
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • ()
    Open To
  • Hikers
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Mountain Bikers
  • ()
  • From Sandpoint take highway 200 east 12 miles to Trestle Creek Road 275 (around milepost 42); turn left onto FR 275 (this is a well-maintained gravel road) and go 16 miles to Lightning Creek Road 419; turn right and follow FR 419 south for .6 miles. There is a large turnout to the left with enough parking for several cars.
  • Season
    Best during snowmelt
      July 3, 2017

      If you have a high-clearance vehicle you could chop a mile off this already short stroll, because the first half mile follows an old logging road through pine forest to a large turnaround area that’s been used by car-campers in the past. At the far end of the turnaround a double-track leads further into the woods and emerges onto the fall overlook in a couple hundred yards. It also provides access to a few smaller upper falls, an excellent location to while away the day, soak your feet, and listen to the rushing water. Or stay a night at the campsite right at the overlook.

      On the south side of the main waterfall a single-track leads precariously along the ridge to a spot where you can actually see the waterfall in its entirety, and then drops very steeply downhill to the base of the waterfall. A bit of rock-hopping gets you to the large rock slabs and pool at the bottom of the fall.

      Alternate Routes

        Things to Consider

          Not so great

            Turnaround area
            Double-track to falls
            Char Falls overlook and campsite
            Smaller rapids above the main waterfall
            Looking down into waterfall
            Char Falls
            Char Falls up close
            Looking south from waterfall
            Taken from below the falls
            Bottom of falls
            Rapids above falls
            A nice spot to cool your feet
            Upper Char Falls