8 epic summer hikes in the Scotchmans

The Scotchmans offer adventure for everyone – from first-time hikers to seasoned outdoor recreationists.

There are secret waterfalls to discover, fields of wildflowers to explore, and alpine lakes to dive into. You can explore these trails with us or on your own. Regardless, make sure you have a copy of the trail map. Here are just a few great trails to explore this summer.

Easier hikes

North Fork of Ross Creek

  • 7 miles round-trip
  • 700 ft. elevation gain

Meander through the giant cedars. Once you hike past the boundary of the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, you will be in total solitude. Wild berries are incredibly abundant along this trail! Ross Creek is beautiful all year round. This is a great trail for the family.

Morris Creek

  • 8 miles round-trip
  • 1,400 ft. elevation gain

You’ll travel along Morris Creek through a dense cedar forest filled with berries, mushrooms, wildflowers, and other forest wonders. The one thing to keep in mind is the creek crossing around mile 2— it can be difficult to cross when the water levels are high. But even the hike up to the creek cross is well worth it!

Moderate Hikes

Little Spar Lake

  • 6.8 miles round-trip
  • 1,800 ft elevation gain

Take a dip in the largest alpine lake in the Scotchmans! You’ll travel through a rugged canyon, a lush temperate rainforest, and end at a crystal clear alpine lake. There are 1-2 well-established campsites too! But be aware, this area has lots of bear activity. So, bring your bear spray and canisters. And as always, leave no trace!

Ross Creek Waterfall

  • 9 miles round-trip
  • 1,300 ft elevation gain

This grove old-growth of cedars features numerous flat and well-cleared paths that hikers of all abilities can enjoy. There are educational installations about the plants and animals in the first mile, making it a great hike even if you don’t make it to the waterfall!

Challenging Hikes

Scotchman Peak

  • 8 miles round-trip
  • 3,700 ft elevation gain

A classic for good reason. Sweeping views of Lake Pend Orielle and you’ll almost certainly see mountain goats!* There is no water on the trail and it can get very hot in the summer. So, make sure to bring lots of water and sun protection.

*Make sure to keep your distance from the goats – they are wild and can be dangerous.

Spar Peak

  • 8 miles round-trip
  • 3,300 ft elevation gain

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds on Scotchman Peak but still want to enjoy some serious elevation gain, Spar Peak is a great option. The views from the top are incredible, making the elevation gain totally worth it. Be prepared to cross Little Spar Creek.

Star Peak

  • 10 miles round-trip
  • 4,000 ft elevation gain

This new trail is easy to access from the highway, making this a great option for hikers with low-clearance vehicles. The summit of star peak offers beautiful views of the Clark Fork Valley, sweeping views of the Scotchmans and the Cabinets, and a historic lookout tower. This is a great early-season hike as the first half is on a sunny, south-facing slope.

Multi-day hikes

Star Peak to Pillick Ridge

  • 15 miles one way
  • 4,000 ft elevation gain

From the top of Star Peak, link up with the Pillick Ridge trail for an epic multi-day adventure. The Pillick Ridge trail can be overgrown at times, so you’ll want to be sure to bring your map, compass, and other navigation tools. The best part of this trip? There’s a toilet (a very old-school pit toilet) at the top of Star Peak! Be aware, you’ll be in bear country.

Hike with us!

Our free guided hikes will take you to all of these amazing places – and more! We have hikes for families, beginner hikers, and experienced outdoor adventurists. Check out our summer hiking schedule to find the right hike for you.

Summer Hiking Schedule

Download our Scotchman Peaks Trail Map before you hit the trails
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