Tuesday, May 30, 2023

WN Hiking Series: Scenic excursion along Cedar Cre

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| August 11, 2009 12:00 AM

With sore joints, tired feet and a trick knee, seeing my vehicle in the distance at the trailhead was a welcome sight. The personal theme of the day, however, was not about aches and pains but the fact that I had just completed my first-ever hike of 10 or more miles.

The Cedar Creek Trail west of Libby provides incredible scenery, access to water and beautiful lakes at its conclusion. Along the way, hikers will make their way through the cool forest and then find themselves in the bright sunlight on a mountainside. One thing is for certain – the hike is anything but boring.

To reach the trailhead, head west out of Libby on Highway 2 and take a left onto Cedar Creek Road. After about 2.5 miles, you’ll come upon a nice parking area located next to the creek. The actual trailhead sign with map, information and sign-in box is located up the trail a ways from the parking lot.

The trail starts with Cedar Creek to your left and the sounds of the water only add to the experience. At about 0.9 of a mile you’ll come across the junction with the Scenery Mountain Trail. An early part of the trail also includes what used to be a wagon road leading to a mine.

The climbs on the Cedar Creek Trail are not real steep but consistent. In all, it climbs about 2,800 feet to the lower lake. The trail could be considered moderate because of a lack of real difficult climbs or descents, but some view it as difficult because of the length.

The trail crosses several small streams but none difficult to cross. Just be sure to keep your footing on any slippery rocks. Use of the trail didn’t seem real heavy – we saw only two other groups through the eight hours we spent hiking and at the lake.

At more than half way, you’ll cross over into the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness area and later on will reach a junction with the Grambauer Trail. Lower Cedar Lake is reached at approximately five miles. A short spur trail will get you down to the lake.

Further on up the trail and following a climb, you’ll reach Upper Cedar Lake. Also in the vicinity are the junctions with the Parmenter Creek and Taylor Creek trails. In fact, using the network of trails in the region, you could easily put together a loop excursion.

Looking back, the Cedar Creek Trail was one of the most interesting hikes I’ve ever finished. For a novice like myself, it proved to be a challenge. Hopefully, it’s a step up to even better and longer hikes in the future.

Cedar Creek Trail

Location: Kootenai National Forest, Libby District

USFS Trail No.: 141

How to Get There: From Libby, head west on Highway 2 about 4.5 miles to Cedar Creek Road. Take a left and continue for about 2.5 miles to the trailhead’s parking area.

Round-Trip Distance: Approximately 10.0 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult