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Independence Creek Trail

A trail through the gorgeous North Idaho scenery. The trail follows and crisscrosses Independence Creek then takes a side trip up to a peak to take in the views of the forest.

Length: 13.20 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (off pavement)
Equestrian - Riding
Equestrian - Pack trips
Motorized vehicles - Motorcycling

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Location: Fernan Ranger District, In Coeur d’Alene NF SE of Lakeview.

State(s): Idaho
Counties: Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone
Longitude: -116.22177
Latitude: 47.88742

Driving Directions

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The Independence Creek drainage on Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District is an area which has retained its pristine character despite the effects of some major forest fires since the turn of the century. Although most of the area was burned in the famous 1910 fire, there are still few visible signs of man's influence on the land.Along with common songbirds, visitors may see the golden eagle, Cooper's hawk, redtail hawk, mallard, merganser, and the unusual water ousel. This drab little bird which nests behind waterfalls abounds along Independence Creek. Visitors rarely hear its beautiful many-noted song, but sightings of the bird are common as it bobs along the banks or walks entirely underwater searching for insects.

The area was first roaded sometime before World War 1 when a wagon road was constructed to link Pend Oreille Lake and the Lakeview mines with Independence and Tepee Creek valleys. Now the route of recreation trail 22, the old wagon road was the first developed access into what is known as "the Magee country." This road served logging camps, homesteaders, and the Forest Service until the early 1930s when the present road system began to take shape.

While the old Independence wagon road was in use, several facilities were developed along its route. These included a halfway camp with a cabin and corrals, a Forest Service smokechaser cabin, and a splash dam which was used to raise the water level for log drives down the creek. These improvements have all vanished, leaving behind only the recreation trail which winds its way from Weber Saddle down to Independence Creek and on down the creek to its mouth, crossing the creek numerous times along the old wagon road's course.

Several side trails now lead into the Independence Creek Trail. A total of 34 miles of trail covers most of the drainage, providing good access to one of the most enjoyable areas on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Hunting, fishing, dispersed camping, hiking, horseback riding, and motorbike riding are some of the recreational pursuits which may be enjoyed in the area. There is a diverse wildlife population in the drainage. Elk, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, porcupine, badger, beaver, squirrel, and coyote are some of the more common mammals. Moose cougar, and lynx are also seen infrequently.

Additional Details

Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: None
Average Grade: 10%
Maximum Grade: 18%
Elevation Low Point: 2,960
Elevation High Point: 4,601
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Tom Sudul
Fernan Ranger District
2502 E. Sherman Ave.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 -5899
(208) 769-3000
[email protected]



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