- Cabinet Mountains
- Big Eddy Campground near the trailhead
- Very good
Make sure you start this hike on the newer Big Eddy trail, labeled #999, rather than the older #998, which is a mining track open to ATVers. The new trail is called “Historic Big Eddy” trail and is a singletrack that leads through thickish forest to Big Eddy Creek, but rather quickly leaves it behind and ascends a flank of Star Peak. There will not be another water source.
Views on this newer trail open up fairly quickly, particularly across the Clark Fork Valley and the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. At around 3500 feet it was time to put on snowshoes (the trailhead is at around 2300 feet). The ascent continues, frequently using old mining or skid tracks as the fog got thicker all around. Near the 4000-foot level we poked through the fog and spectacular views of the Clark Fork followed. On the downside, the bright sun melted the top layer of snow, which stubbornly stuck to the snowshoes.
At the 4500-foot level, the trail reunites with the old Big Eddy trail (#998), where ATVers must turn around. The snow here quickly got so deep that it was impossible to make out the trail. We simply followed the ridge straight up to the peak. If you’re hiking this during the summer, you’ll likely do all the sweeping switchbacks, which might add a mile or two roundtrip.
The views at the top were phenomenal, with the lookout tower and many of the windswept trees encrusted in snow. The Bull River Valley was buried beneath a thick layer of fog. We had outstanding views of Billard Table Mountain, though, and Lake Pend Oreille! Highly recommend it.
- Starting right from MT-200 you could take the ATV trail #998. It will eventually meet up with #999
- You can also hike up to Star Peak from the Bull River Valley, either via Pillick Ridge, Napoleon Gulch or Star Gulch