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Harrison Lake Trail #217 - Selkirk Mtns
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mini location map2021-10-03
15 by photographer avatarLindaAnn
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Harrison Lake Trail #217 - Selkirk MtnsNorthern, ID
Northern, ID
Hiking avatar Oct 03 2021
Hiking5.06 Miles 1,512 AEG
Hiking5.06 Miles   4 Hrs   44 Mns   1.20 mph
1,512 ft AEG      32 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Got started to about 50 degrees and overcast, but very little wind. The trailhead had five or six other cars when we arrived. The trail had been described to me as busy, so I was expecting to see more vehicles that late in the morning, but I think they just have a different definition of busy up here vs what we’re used to in Phx.

No gradual warmup, the trail gets right to business from the start, immediately heading uphill. Lots of trees, hemlock mostly, I think, but also some type of fir or spruce. The kids also found some ground plant with blue colored berries, which I’m pretty sure was something called Brides Bonnet. The trail is in good shape and is easy to follow. There are some spots covered with baseball sized rocks that liked to roll, but still pretty easy to negotiate. There are several places where small drainages cross the trail, but easy enough for everyone, including the kids, to step over. Late spring, with snowmelt, might pose more of a challenge.

Great views as we climbed, both of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and of the fall color around us. After two miles and passing the jct with Myrtle Creek Trail (which also leads to Harrison Lake, but nearly doubles the distance), things started to get steeper. There was more water crossing the trail, and the trail surface turned to granite in many places. It was quite pretty, but a little more challenging to follow and not somewhere you would enjoy being in the rain or snow. Luckily, despite being mostly overcast, there was zero rain, so the granite slabs were easy.

As we reached the lake, the trail splits and spiderwebs with multiple use trails all leading to the lake. I don’t know which one is “official”, nor does it matter at that point, but I stayed on the path that seemed to be the most direct. There were several campsites and a bear resistant storage locker around the southeast edge of the lake, which is also where the Pack River begins. The rest of the lake is surrounded by steep granite walls. Hiking up to the Selkirk Crest above looked tempting but the kids vetoed that idea. There was a cold wind blowing across the lake, so after we took pictures, we retreated to a more sheltered campsite for a snack break. Based on the pictures, I think it may have been the campsite where a moose was fatally shot in June after charging a man and his dog, but I didn’t mention that to the kids. That’s also why we didn’t do this hike three months ago, because the trail was closed for a couple of weeks while they were concerned about bears cleaning up the evidence, since it was right on the trail.

The hike back down was uneventful, but a few of the lower spots felt rockier than they had on the way up. Only two other cars left at the trailhead when we finished. Very nice little hike, and I can see why it’s popular during the summer. The road is in pretty good shape, graded dirt, no clearance issues, a few potholes here and there. There was a Toyota Corolla at the trailhead, and I think most any sedan would be fine on this road in dry conditions.
Named place
Named place
Harrison Lake Harrison Peak
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Autumn is in full swing, lots of yellow, orange, and red along the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Harrison Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full
Lake is full.
If it’s above freezing, it’s too hot.
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