OverviewChilco Peak is one of the highest peaks in the immediate vicinity of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. With wondrous 360 views to the various lakes and mountains of North Idaho, Western Montana, and Easter Washington, it's a wonder that you don't see more people on this short trail. The trail gains 1,300 feet in a little less than 2 miles on a well maintained trail. Anyone can do the trail in half a day as either a morning or evening hike. Summer temps can reach the 100's down in the valley and 90's up on the summit so an early start or evening make for the best times to hit the trail.
Getting ThereOff of Bunco Road in the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. The trailhead is at the signed junction of NFS Roads 209 and 385, 7 miles from US 95.
Route DescriptionFrom the trailhead sign on Road 209 (elevation 4330'), Trail 14 climbs the ridge heading SW on the scant remains of an old logging road. Soon on a single path, the trail ascends moderately on well-graded switchbacks. As the trail climbs, you can see the change in forest types as elevation increases. Hemlock, Grand Fir, and Larch gradually give way to Lodgepole and Subalpine Fir.
One mile and six switchbacks later, the trail climbs more gently through thinning timber with beargrass in the undergrowth. Soon, you gain a view of North Chilco Peak to the SE. The trail continues climbing gently for another 1/4 mile then comes to a signed junction with a less used trail that leads to the summit. This trail climbs the broad rocky north face of the mountain to its summit marked by the remnants of an old lookout tower. The elevation here is 5685' and there are outstanding views in all directions. Make sure to bring your camera!
At this point, you can descend back to the trailhead or continue to the summit of South Chilco. Trail 14 continues along the west face of the mountain on a moderately descending grade, crossing loose talus. After passing through a grove of quaking aspen, the trail descends through thickening mixed timber stands on a moderate to steep slope. After 1-1/4 miles, the trail emerges in the saddle between the two peaks. After climbing on a moderate to gentle grade for 1.7 miles, the trail meets the junction of trail #15 just below South Chilco Mountain (5634'). Follow this to the summit for further views south to Lake Coeur d'Alene and beyond.
From this summit, the trail descends to an alternate access point off of NFS Road 406. You could arrange for a ride or just head back to the main trailhead.
Essential GearTennies, a light windbreaker, sunblock, lunch, and a camera!
I haven't done it in the winter but snowfall is considerable and snowshoes would likely be necessary.