High mountain climb to one of the most beautiful lakes we’ve visited.

Distance: 9.0 miles round trip

Type: out and back

Difficulty:  moderately difficult with 2,040′ elevation gain

Best season: July – September

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Beehive Lake

Early in July 2013, we headed north to Sandpoint, Idaho to check out a couple hikes that were high on my bucket list—Roman Nose Lakes and Beehive Lake.  Normally I wouldn’t have tried for Beehive until at least mid-July due to lingering snow, but it had been a mild winter and I thought our chances of navigating both trails were good.

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bear grass

Saturday we enjoyed the hike to the three Roman Nose Lakes.  Sunday morning it was off to tackle Beehive Lake, a more challenging hike to a stunning high mountain lake located in the Selkirk Mountains which straddle the borders of Idaho-Washington-Canada.  This area is so rugged and remote that a few endangered grizzly bear and caribou continue to call it home.  Massive granite peaks tower above beautiful lakes creating a hikers paradise in July, August, and September.  Snow can linger on the Beehive trail well into July.  Watch for delicious huckleberries along the trail in late August and early September!

We made the approximately one hour drive from Sandpoint to the Beehive Lake Trailhead at 4,420′ elevation.  There were eight cars parked at the trailhead, not surprising given it was a holiday weekend.

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We took off hiking around 9:00 with temps around 60 and beautiful sunny skies.  We immediately crossed the Pack River on a sturdy footbridge.  The first mile of trail was a relatively mild and continuous elevation gain to a stream crossing that can be a bit tricky during snow run off.  Someone had placed a bunch of tree branches over the stream to fashion a crude bridge of sorts.  It did the trick.

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Continuing on through the forest, the trail narrowed down and we began to climb with more earnest.  After a couple more miles of climbing the views started to open up.

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The last stretch to the lake is an impressive climb over steep granite rock marked by cairns.  By this point, the views were incredible but the going was quite steep and taxing.

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time to climb
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We hit some snow near the top and lost the trail for a bit.  We checked the GPS and headed in the general direction of the lake.  We relocated the trail after a short distance and soon reached Beehive at 6,460′ elevation.

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Beehive Lake is one of the more beautiful, possibly the most beautiful,  high mountain lake we’ve see with steep granite walls around half of the lake that were still largely snow covered.

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We found a great viewpoint on top of some large granite slabs and enjoyed a nice break in the sun.  There were several good backpacking sites around the lake.

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It was a beautiful return hike with great views out across the Selkirks.

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Directions to Beehive Lake Trailhead:  From Sandpoint, Idaho drive north on US-95 10.5 miles and turn left on Pack River Road 231.  Drive 19 miles to the signed spur road to the trailhead.  The lower portion of this road is paved as it passes homes along the Pack River.  It then transitions to dirt road of varying condition depending on the year.

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