Mickinnick Trail

The Mickinnick trail climbs the southeastern flank of Bald Mountain just north of Sandpoint. The name is a distillate of Mick and Nicky Pleass, who donated the mountainside to the forest service to create this trail, and the Kinnickinnick plant, a low-growing native evergreen. The trail consists of a series of switchbacks that ascends the mountainside in just over three miles, with about 2,000 feet of total elevation gain. It terminates at a large rocky knoll, offering incredible views of Lake Pend Oreille, the Cabinet Mountains, and prominent Gold Hill to the south.
  • Selkirk Mountains
2.9 out of 5
Moderate (mostly uphill)
6.4 miles
3:55 hours moving time (Hiking)
Elevation Gain
2,021 feet
High Point
4,321 feet (Benches)
Low Point
2,211 feet (Trailhead)
  • Mountain
  • Grove
  • Meadow
  • Outing Type
  • Daytrip
  • Trail Type
  • Out-and-back
  • Trailbed
    Packed dirt, gravel, rock slab, loose rocks
  • Drinking water at trailhead; seasonal brook criss-crossed by trail most of the way up
  • Camping
    • None. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead.
    • Excellent. Trail is closed to motorized vehicles.
  • Kaniksu National Forest
  • Status
  • Unprotected
  • Maps
  • Sandpoint
  • Fees & Permits
  • None required
  • ()
    Open To
  • Hikers
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Mountain Bikers
  • (Plenty of squirrels and curious chipmunks)
  • From US-95 take the Schweitzer Cutoff Road exit (about 2.5 miles north of Sandpoint) and head west. After half a mile turn left onto N Boyer Avenue (there are 2 roads by that name; you want the second one where Schweitzer Cutoff Road dead-ends). In a quarter mile the road dead-ends at the municipal airport; take a right onto Woodland Drive. Follow this for a mile, across railroad tracks and a sharp right turn. The trailhead and parking lot will be on your left.
  • Season
      April 29, 2017

      The trail starts at the rear of the parking lot, a double-track leading across a sprawling meadow to the base of the mountain. There are some wetlands here, perhaps seasonal, but the trail has been shored up and you won’t get your feet wet. Soon you’ll get to a fence, with an opening for the trail, and then the trail veers off to the right and uphill and it’s essentially uphill the rest of the way.

      The trail ascends the hill in nice sweeping switchbacks (thankfully not as many as on Gold Hill!) and the going is fairly easy. Early on the trail is packed dirt, but higher up this changes to gravel, loose rocks and rock slabs (plan your footwear accordingly!).

      In the lower elevations you’ll pass through cooling groves of Western red cedar, but the higher you climb, the more the forest turns to fir and pine. The views are fairly good throughout the ascent, though a bit filtered at times. As you get higher up, the path meanders through jumbles of rock outcroppings, with many completely covered with moss. At other times you’ll encounter alpine meadows of beargrass and–later in the year, for sure–huckleberries. You’ll know when you’ve reached the top when you come upon a couple of benches and a huge rocky knoll with spectacular views. It’s possible to scramble up to the ridge (a bit treacherous, though, when the rock slabs are wet), but the views up there really don’t get better.

      Alternate Routes

        Things to Consider

        • We did this hike as a group and so went a bit slower than usual. At our usual pace it probably only takes around 2 hours.
        • We hit on snow at around 4,000 feet, about a foot deep. To avoid snow, you may want to wait until the end of May.

        Not so great

          Meadow near trailhead
          Wetland at the base of the mountain
          Most of the trail is uphill
          The trail criss-crosses this seasonal brook
          Views of Lake Pend Oreille throughout the hike
          Spring flowers in abundance
          Western red cedar grove
          First viewpoint, complete with a set of benches
          Cascading brook
          Steep cliff
          Airport and view of Lake Pend Oreille towards Clark Fork
          Moss-covered granite
          Lots of rock piles higher up
          Gold Hill on the other side of Lake Pend Oreille is between the trees
          The trail is dirt and loose rocks
          Naughty, with Lake Pend Oreille in the background
          We hit on about a foot of snow in the top fifth
          Great views of Lake Pend Oreille from the top
          This rock is the turnaround point
          Naughty & Scribe
          Lake Pend Oreille
          Close-up of Lake Pend Oreille
          A short scramble to the very top

          One Comment

          1. Looks like a great hike. Xena and I would love this. Thanks for sharing!

          Comments are closed.