Crystal Lake

North Route Spring-Summer & Fall Easy
Crystal Lake is nestled along the Latour-St. Joe Divide between Cataldo and St. Maries. The hike out to the lake is easy and offers great views of the Latour Creek drainage and the mountains to the east. From the parking area, the trail drops down the SE corner along a gentle face that leads to the lake. The trail cuts through several scree slopes and gullies on it's way to the lake. This trail is about 1.5 miles. Once at the lake there is a trail around the lake, but is difficult in some places. If you are energetic and want a better views, head up the southern trail to the summit of the trail on the ridge you walked in on. Turn right (north) and climb to the top of the ridge. From the top head north along this high ridge all the way back to your car. This route affords you views of Silver Mt., Lower Lake Coeur d'Alene, and surrounding terrain.

Cool things to see: fall colors, nice lake, easy trail, ridge hike with 360 degree views and nice trail photo ops.
South Route Spring-Summer-Fall Moderate
From the hairpin turn, look for what looks like a four wheel track heading east above the road to St. Maries that drops down. This route to the lake is about 1 mile and offers views of the lake from above as you approach the lake. Along this route is a section of trees that are all universally bent due to ground surge. Good Photo ops here.
To get to these trailhead, drive east on I-90 to Cataldo, Idaho. After the exit turns back west, and comes to a stop sign, turn left (south) and continue up Latour Creek for about 22 miles to the Sheep Springs camp site. The parking for hiking is on the left. The trail drops off the SE corner.
The southern trailhead is one mile further along the Latour Road near a hairpin turn. The trail looks like a 4 wheeler trail across the road. If you were to continue past the hairpin turn, the road takes you down to the St. Joe River just above St. Maries. This is a better road to return to CDA on because it is paved.

Cool things to see: Views of the lake from above, scenic trail and ridge hike.

All photographs are copyrighted by Chic Burge and are not to be copied.