Outdoors

Fourth Of July Pass Ski Tour

CHECK IT OUT

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Mostly easy

Skiing time: 1-3 hours

Season: Dec. through early March

Maps: USGS Lane

Info: Fernan Ranger Station, (208) 769-3000

SKI TOURING TRIP NOTES

Access: Fourth of July Pass is on Interstate 90 between mileposts 28 and 29, about 15 miles east of Coeur d’Alene. Take Fourth of July exit, drive to south side ofI-90 and follow plowed 1/3 road mile to parking area and trailhead. (Idaho Park N’Ski or Washington Sno-Park sticker required.)

Attractions: When snow reaches to lower elevations, Fourth of July Pass offers easy access to gentle system of trails, especially appropriate for novice-to-intermediate skiers. Outhouses at trailhead. Warming shelter with wood stove on trail hear parking area. Unheated picnic shelter also available. Trails groomed occasionally with snowmobile by Panhandle Nordic Club.

Comments: Ranging around elevation 3,000 feet, this trail system needs ample snow and cool weather to provide decent skiing. Most of route follows logging roads through cedar forest.

Locally known as “Elk Loop” this route generally is 2 percent to 6 percent grade, which won’t inspire skiers looking for thrills from hills. However, route offers two exceptions to gentle terrain:

Expert Loop - a short diversion from south leg of main loop that offers relatively tricky ups, downs and turns.

Short downhill stretch of 10 percent grade from picnic shelter to elbow turn at northwest corner of Elk Loop.

To take advantage of these downhills, follow route clockwise. Blue diamonds mark main route.

Note that old Cedar Loop trail has been obliterated after road was reclaimed to reduce soil erosion.

South Fork trail extension adds 3-3/4 miles to round-trip distance. This trail lightly used, very gentle.

Park N’Ski stickers available through at Forest Service offices and Idaho State Parks offices. Dogs prohibited on trails.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of ski tour area

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Routes: Classic Trips in the Inland Northwest



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