Fern and Shadow Falls Hike – Idaho Panhandle National Forest


This hike is located in the mountains on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. This forest included around 2.5 million acres of beautiful mountains, clear lakes and rivers, groves of ancient cedars, fish, and wildlife for a host of outdoor activities.

As for this hike, document a trail up to a couple of waterfalls that are lush with greenery from the cold mist of the cascading water. The trail is wide and comprised primarily of oversized gravel and follows Yellow Dog Creek approximately ΒΌ mile from the parking lot.

The falls are on the same stream, the lowest is Fern Falls and the highest is Shadow Falls. To get to Fern Falls (~ 12 feet high), the former of the two, just take an easy 1 mile hike up the trail to the wooden bridge over the creek (there is a sign so you can’t to lose).

The second and largest waterfall is Shadow Falls (~ 24 feet), which is hidden in a slot above Fern Falls in a darker, shadier location (hence the name). You can find it by continuing on the rocky trail that goes through Fern Falls for another two hundred meters, where the trail will bend back and climb up to the waterfall (a couple hundred meters more). From rock steps to a hidden waterfall.

On a hot day these falls are great for kids to play in, you can walk behind them both and even in August the water is still cold. There is a good spot in Fern Falls for a picnic lunch and the hike is appropriate for all skill levels. I would suggest bringing a picnic lunch on a hot day and then losing track of time.

Also, while upstream, there are plenty of opportunities for camping and fishing. Take a look at some of the campsites and find a nice pool, Big Hank is probably the most beautiful campground upriver.

For more information, contact: The Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District, or visit their website at http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/visit/offices.html

Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District
Fernan Office
2502 East Sherman Ave.
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814-5899
(208) 769-3000
FAX: (208)556-5154
East of I-90 at Exit 15

Discover new trails for hiking, backpacking and mountain biking by visiting my Wilderness Trails blog. Also, if you like rock climbing and camping, we have it too.

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