The beauty of Boundary County can best be seen when traveling on foot. Boundary County has more than 350 miles of developed hiking and horseback trails. Hikers can choose easy, part-day walks or extended backpacking trips. Recently I went on a short but vigorous hike to Snow Creek Falls, two of the scenic waterfalls in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
An enjoyable 9 mile drive from Bonners Ferry will take you to beautiful Snow Creek Falls. There is a large pullout for parking on the left just before the trailhead.
This short, 1 mile nature hike can be enjoyed by the whole family and those who do not want to hike 10 miles into the back country to find beautiful waterfalls. The waterfalls are fed by an alpine lake and several small cold creeks. The bridal veil fall at the upper falls is the largest and cascades more than 30 feet. The lower falls has multiple cascades.
The waterfalls are a lush green scene of moss and other flourishing vegetation encouraged by mist and moisture. I enjoyed the up-close access, close enough to feel the spray on my face.
From the trailhead, I hiked the trail as it made a gradual descent into the Snow Creek drainage. I noticed the trail started with Ponderosa pines and descends through a dry open hillside to old growth cedar and hemlocks. Seasonal wildflowers abound along the path.
I was pleased to see that the trail was well-maintained, with benches along the way, and boardwalks crossing small trickling brooks and streams. There is an intersection at 0.6 mile, a left will take you to the lower falls and a right turn will lead you to the upper falls. The falls are particularly impressive during spring runoff, with year around flows each are worth visiting anytime of the year.
Snow Creek Falls is west of Bonners Ferry on the Riverside road, approximately 5 miles to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge and then turn left onto Lion’s Den Road. Follow Lion’s Den Road for 2.8 miles and then turn right onto Road #402 (Snow Creek Road) and follow it for 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.
Although I do not hike as much as I should, hiking exercises almost every part of the body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips, abdominals, shoulders and neck. What I like about hiking other than physical activity is that it also exercises the mind and nourishes the imagination. It creates awareness in your eyes, nose, ears and the rest of your senses. Hiking is a good way to leave the everyday pressures behind and recharge your battery. There is no better place to hike and enjoy the scenery than Boundary County.
Other beautiful falls in Boundary County include Copper Falls, Moyie Falls, Smith Creek Falls, and Myrtle Creek Falls.
During the summer months I would encourage scenic hikers to bring bug repellent while viewing these beautiful trails and waterfalls … oh, and bear spray! Remember it is huckleberry season, be sure to bring a sack or bucket to put the purple gems in — or do what I do best, just eat them.
Enjoy the beauty of Boundary County and its waterfalls.