Best Hikes in Colville National Forest (WA)

Colville National Forest Overview

The Colville National Forest has 1.1 million acres in north eastern Washington and includes the Kettle River, Selkirk mountain ranges, and the upper reaches of the Columbia River. It is bordered on the west by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and the Kaniksu National Forest to the east. Colville National Forest also includes Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge and the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Though not nearly as mountainous as the forests of Washington’s Cascade Range, Colville National Forest still has plenty to offer. Many of the best hikes in Colville National Forest are detailed below. The forest also boasts exciting wildlife such as the grizzly and black bears, cougars, bald eagles and the last remaining herd of caribou in the U.S.

Nearest Metro AreaSpokane, WA
Area Size954,409 acres
EstablishedMarch 1, 1907
Hiking Trails486 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Colville National Forest

(*** = best hikes in Colville National Forest)

Crowell Ridge Trail #515 – 15.6 miles out and back

This trail is part of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area. The wilderness area has some of the most spectacular scenery in northeastern Washington.  Trail follows an almost treeless ridge. 

Flume Creek Trail #502*** – 8.0 miles out and back
Abercrombie Mountain, Photo by James Jacobson

Panoramic views of the Selkirk Mountains from the summit of Abercrombie Mountain. Trail is a steady uphill grade with rocky terrain.  Campsites are located along the trail. One could also take Abercrombie Mountain Trail #117 west of the mountain to reach the summit.

Frater Lake Trail #150 – 11.1 mile trail system
Colville NF Frater Lake June 2020 by Sharleen Puckett 3
Colville NF Frater Lake, Photo by U.S. Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region

The Frater Lake Trail system includes a series of loop trails. The 1.8 Tiger Loop follows the southern and eastern shores of  Frater Lake. A clockwise travel direction is suggested for the steeper 4.8 mile Coyote Loop. The 2.8 Lake Leo Trail and the 1.7 Lions Tail Trail are shorter loops. A picnic area and warming cabin are located near Frater Lake. The cabin is open all year and is available for day use only.

Kettle Crest South #13 / Sherman Peak #72 Loop – 5.3 mile loop
Snow Peak from the Pacific Northwest Trail on Jungle Hill
Sherman Peak and Snow Peak, Photo by U.S. Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region

The trail climbs from Sherman Pass (5,575′) to Sherman Peak (6,500′). From here the trail continues south or you can take Sherman Peak Trail on the west side to return to the trailhead.

Pioneer Park Heritage Trail #321*** – 0.6 miles out and back

On this unique trail the history of the Kalispel Tribe is presented through twelve artistic, interpretive displays. Dramatic views of the Pend Oreille River. 

Salmo Divide Loop #535 – 6.0 miles out and back
Salmo-Priest Wilderness-Colville National Forest
Salmo-Priest Wilderness, Photo by U.S. Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region

Trail is located in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area. The first mile of the trail follows an old roadbed then continues for 2 miles along an open ridge at elevations of 6200′ to 6400′. There are great views of surrounding peaks.  This trail is part of an 18-mile loop system which also includes Salmo Basin Trail #506 and Shedroof Divide Trail #512.

Featured Image: Moose on the Colville National Forest, Photo by U.S. Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region

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  1. Best Hikes in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (WA) | Trailhead Traveler

    […] the Canadian border to the Goat Rocks Wilderness, 180 miles south. It is bordered to the east by Colville National Forest and to the west by Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Because of this wide geographic range, the […]