Fourth of July Groomed XC-Ski Loop

At just over 3000 feet altitude, snow-sufficiency can be hit or miss at the Fourth of July Recreation area. When there’s enough, this is a convenient and popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing area, located just minutes from I-90. The trail system south of the freeway is entirely reserved for non-motorized recreation, and some of the trails are groomed for tracked cross-country skiing.
  • Coeur d’Alene Mountains
2.5 out of 5
5.5 miles
1:28 hours moving time (XC Skiing)
Elevation Gain
383 feet
High Point
3,290 feet (trailhead)
Low Point
2,943 feet
  • Structure
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Lollipop
  • Trailbed
    Decommissioned fire road
  • None
  • Camping
    • There is a warming hut near the trailhead and a shelter at the halfway point. There are pit toilets at the trailhead and at the halfway-point shelter
    • Excellent
  • Coeur d’Alene National Forest
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Lane
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • (Park n Ski permit required for parking during winter months)
    Open To
  • Skiers
  • (dogs are not allowed on groomed trails)
  • Take I-90 exit #28 (Fourth of July Recreation Area) and head south for half a mile. Follow the lower road to the ski trailhead. The ski trail starts at the back of the parking lot, to the right.
  • Season
    December 23, 2016

    The first part of the trail is called Havin’ Fun and follows an old logging road past a warming hut, meanders uphill, past snowmobile sheds, and levels off among filtered views of the surrounding hillsides. The trail then declines slightly towards the intersection with Loose Moose.

    Bear right, staying on Havin’ Fun, as the trail drops further, skirting a large clearing (which it will cross again higher up later). The trail bottoms out around the 2-mile mark, then rises and curves around in a large sweeping bend called The Swoop and comes to a T-intersection with Elderberry and High Road. Here you will find the Peaceful View shelter and pit toilets, at roughly the same altitude as the trailhead.

    Take a right and follow Elderberry for a quarter-mile, then take the short spur to the right that leads to an outlook over the surrounding hills. The trail isn’t exactly blessed with views, so this is a worthwhile detour!

    Return to Peaceful View and take the High Road, which contours uphill towards the clearing. It emerges onto the clearing at the upper edge and offers what are likely the best views. Moose also favor this spot, so watch out. The trail continues up at a manageable incline to an intersection with Loose Moose (around the 4-mile mark). Take a left onto Loose Moose and follow it back to Havin’ Fun. From there it’s about a mile back to the trailhead.

    Alternate Routes

    • Continue on Elderberry and return via Eagle Run and Skywalker

    Things to Consider

      Not so great

        Warming hut near trailhead
        For the most part, the trail follows old logging roads
        There isn’t enough snow for skiing every year. This year looks great!
        Trees create a tunnel from the snowmobile shed onwards
        Junction of Havin’ Fun and Loose Moose
        The trail hugs the lower end of a clearing. The return loop will follow the upper edge.
        Halfway Point: Peaceful View shelter
        Treetop View outlook. Worth a stop even if you don’t go up Elderberry.
        The clearing revisited, this time along the upper edge. This is a likely spot for a moose encounter.
        Junction of High Road and Loose Moose
        The best views are from the upper end of the clearing.
        Trail ascending towards the Swoop
        First skier today…

        One Comment

        1. naughtyhiker says:

          Skied this today expecting mushy snow given the warmer temperatures. Was pleasantly surprised by pretty good conditions, though clearly not quite as good as earlier in the week. There was a mix of snow and rain, so the situation isn’t likely to get better; hopefully it wont get worse. Beware that Loose Moose isn’t groomed.

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