Check it out Distance: 10-1/2 miles round trip Difficulty: Moderate Riding time: 1-2 hours Season: May through Oct. Maps: Canfield Mountain Trail System available from Fernan Ranger Info: Vertical Earth Bike Shop, (208) 667-5503
Mountain biking trip notes:
Access: From Interstate 90 on east side of Coeur d’Alene, take Sherman Avenue exit 15. (Read mileage here.) Go north on Sherman, passing Fernan Ranger Station, where maps are available. Bear left at Y onto Fernan Road. Continue along winding road on west shore of Fernan Lake. Go 5-1/2 miles from I-90 and turn left (west) onto Forest Road 1562. Pass shooting range parking and trailhead, continuing up gravel road 1-1/2 miles to Trail A parking area.
Attractions: A relatively painless intro to east portion of varied double- and single-track terrain in 33-mile Canfield trail system. Most mileage on route featured here is on old logging roads that contour hillsides. Most of route’s initial 900-foot elevation gain on gentle grade. But route includes several fun and precipitous downhill single-track sections. Plenty of more difficult terrain remains to explore. Trails well-marked and maintained by coalition of Forest Service, mountain bikers and motorcyclists.
Comments: Relax. Sound of gunfire common here because of shooting range at Fernan Lake.
Go through gate and head south nearly 1/2 mile on Trail A. Bear right onto Trail B and continue on gradual uphill. At 1-1/3 miles, come to junction of Trails B and 11. Continue left on B. At junction of Trails B and 10, continue straight on Trail 10.
At nearly 3 miles, continue straight past unmarked trail that heads down to left. From here, bikers finally reap rewards for 3 miles of uphill climbing. In wet conditions, however, beware of deep mud hole on descent just before reaching Stacel Saddle.
Turn left on gravel Road 1562, sharing traffic with motor vehicles. At 4-1/8 miles, turn left, heading downhill on single track of Trail 9. Hold on tight for numerous small jumps. Continue straight at junction onto Trail 8. At 4-2/3 miles, bear left onto Trail B.
Double-track gently contours with occasional glimpses of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Last 1/4 mile to junction with Trail 10 is heavenly, slightly uphill single-track.
At 7-1/4 miles, turn right, retracing Trail 10-B to junction, then continue down, down, down on Trail 10 single-track.
At 8-1/3 miles, turn left on Trail A, which contours gently back to trailhead.
Trail system shared by motorcyclists. Mountain bikers should yield on trail. Gotta love ‘em: Motorcyclists have done bulk of volunteer trail work.
More than $80,000 of improvements to trail system in recent years, including flap-down rubber water bars. (Ride over them, not around them.)
Excellent trail map with vertical-gain charts available from Fernan Ranger District. Info: (208) 765-7381.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of area
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