Located in the Hoodoo Mountains, the northwestern-most portion of the Clearwater Mountains, this loop is quite literally a walk in the woods. Don’t expect much, if any, views, but the trail is nicely shaded and if the sharp contrast of emerald-green trees, glazed with a fresh crust of snow, against an azure-blue sky gets your heart rate up, then this is the ticket.
This trail moves along the divide between the Marble Creek drainage (St. Joe) and the Little North Fork Clearwater drainage (Clearwater), with views of several lakes and ponds on the Clearwater side. Lookout Mountain, as the name implies a former lookout tower site, offers fantastic views into Clearwater country as well as as westwards towards Grandmother and Grandfather mountains. Portions of the trail are in the Grandmother Wilderness Study Area (BLM).
Kamiak Butte is forested knob that rises some 1,000 feet out of the rolling Palouse wheat fields. The 300-acre property used to be a state park and is now a Whitman county park, offering a haven for wildlife, camping and hiking for humans, and spectacular views across the Palouse. The trail climbs to the peak, then follows the open ridge northbound (“Pine Ridge Trail”) and drops down to the trailhead through mixed coniferous forest. It is a National Recreation Trail.
Located about 20 miles north of Moscow, ID, McCroskey State Park stretches along Skyline Ridge to the Washington state line. The land was donated to the Park Service by Virgil McCroskey in 1955. Worried about maintenance cost, the state of Idaho only accepted on the condition that McCroskey maintain the land at his own expense for 15 years. He accepted, maintained the property for 15 years, and died a few weeks later at age 93. The park is named after his mother, Mary Minerva McCroskey. The loop trail ascends the southeastern flank of Mineral Mountain in the easternmost section of the park, then follows the ridge to Mission Mountain, and completes the loop by returning via the Korth Trail, a logging road that contours along the side of the ridge.