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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Horse Heaven Snowmobile Tour

Snowmobiler trip notes

Access: From the Lake Coeur d’Alene Drive exit off Interstate 90, head northeast to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests’ Fernan Ranger District office. Follow Forest Road 108 along Fernan Lake. Actual trailhead varies up and down Fernan Creek Road, depending on snow depth. By March, trailhead almost always is at Fernan Saddle.

Attractions: Easy access to a variety of backcountry terrain. Because the route is popular, it’s one of the most frequently groomed trails on the Fernan District. Route follows scenic North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, then climbs to a wide open playground at Horse Heaven’s abandoned landing strip. From Crooked Ridge, riders can see Montana’s Cabinet Mountains on a clear day. Cascade Inn offers food plus limited fuel and overnight accommodations.

Comments: Wildlife such as deer, elk and moose occasionally travel the packed trails. Give them time to clear the trail before passing. Making them run stresses their already marginal energy reserves.

This is only one route on about 320 miles of groomed trails in the Fernan District.

During spring thaws, expect washouts and some bare trail at lower elevations along the river. For updates on grooming and trail conditions, call Specialty Sales in Coeur d’Alene, (208) 667-3571.

In addition to a registration sticker from its state, each snowmobile must have a groomer sticker from Kootenai, Shoshone or Bonner County. Stickers cost $5 for Idaho residents; $15 for non-residents. They’re available from snowmobile dealers or county vehicle registration offices.

Horse Heaven landing strip was constructed during World War II in case the United States needed to retreat and hide its fighter aircraft during a feared Japanese invasion. The strip is so dangerous, however, the FAA has closed it even to small aircraft.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with this story: Check it out Distance: 50 miles Difficulty: Moderate Riding Time Season: Dec. through March Maps: Fernan District Snowmobile Trails, from Idaho Panhandle National Forests Infor: Fernan Ranger District, 456-3964

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

This sidebar appeared with this story: Check it out Distance: 50 miles Difficulty: Moderate Riding Time Season: Dec. through March Maps: Fernan District Snowmobile Trails, from Idaho Panhandle National Forests Infor: Fernan Ranger District, 456-3964

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

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