Best Hikes in Colville National Forest (WA)


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 hiking opportunities 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. Official Website.

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

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended 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
    • Panoramic views of the Selkirk Mountains from the summit of Abercrombie Mountain. Trail is 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.

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