Hunt Lake Idaho is a hidden gem. A beautiful alpine lake about 2.5 hrs from Coeur d’Alene in the Selkirk mountain range.
To get to Hunt Lake you head up to Priest River then to Priest Lake. When you get to the southern end of the lake (Coolin) you head east on E Shore Rd for about 20 minutes.
The first time I visited Hunt Lake I got lost. 30 minutes up a random logging road only to hit a dead end. NOT FUN. The way to be sure you’re turning onto the right dirt road is that you have just crossed over Hunt Creek. The turn is right after that bend on the right.
From there you head up the into the mountains for about 45 minutes. There are signs pointed towards Hunt most of the way.
REMEMBER the last 3/4 miles is rough terrain. Washed out road and lots of dips. You need a fair amount of clearance but my 1998 Toyota Tacoma with stock suspension was fine. Don’t head up this road in a Civic!
There is only one trailhead but the trail up to the last is a little confusing.
Basically, there are many paths to follow.
- Follow the red dots on the rocks. These are starting to fade but you will see them if you look. This will take you more through what I would consider the middle rough with more bouldering.
- Follow the warn down path. This will take you on a lower route but is probably better for kids. Trees have fallen in the path so it has moved a changed over the years.
- Follow the ribbons. People have put up ribbons but they do come off or fade in color.
No matter what path you try to follow I suggest not going too far without keeping an eye out for the trail.
Once you make it to the lake you will not be disappointed! As someone who has backpacked almost every alpine lake in the Inland Northwest, I can say I Hunt is a favorite. It’s where I go for my birthday lets just say that. 🙂
When you come down the end of the trail there is a secondary lake right before Hunt Lake. As soon as you reach Hunt Lake there is a large camping area with a fire pit. I know there are spots on both the east and west side of the lake but they are not as well established. There is also a nice spot on the very southeast corner of the lake under the saddle.
This summer, on our second visit to Hunt, we hiked up the saddle. The path has been hidden by downed trees from an avalanche so it’s not easy finding the path but its’ not impossible by any means. From the top, you can hike over to Fault Lake as well. In fact, some friends we meet up there ended up hiking the ridgeline to the west of the saddle and back down to camp. They said it was beautiful! * I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners though.
Hunt also has some pretty good fishing. Nothing very big as a lot of people day hike it to fish so the big guys are gone early in the season. But fun fishing for kids for sure.
There can be snow up there as late as July and it can snow even in October. And the weather can change quickly so if you’re staying the night bring a good bag and an ax if you want a fire. All the small stuff is gone in the first few weeks of the season so you need an ax to cut up the downed logs.
A part of me feels crazy for sharing my favorite spot in such detail. Gems like this you want to keep a secret. But let’s be honest with the internet and Instagram nothing is a secret.
I just hope that more people will get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the Northwest. Keep it clean and always make friends! See you out there.