Bernard Peak Loop
Bernard Peak Trail is a 18.3 mile non-motorized mountain Bike trail in Athol, Idaho. Open all year round until snow or muddy conditions apply usually good from May to November.
This ride includes a non-motorized trail, Bernard Peak Trail (#37), Old DoubleTrack, Forest Roads, Local gravel & paved roads. Most of the ride is on State and National Forest Land. A small section is on Stimson Lumber Company Land. Stimson allows ORV access.
The trail offers great views of the surrounding back country of the Panhandle National Forest along with majestic views of Lake Pend Oreille. Smooth, fast rolling singletrack with great climbing doubletrack. There is not much traffic in this area except during the fall hunting season from September to December. This is a very rewarding ride. Enjoy!
A lot of riders prefer to ride up to Bernard Peak using the Bernard Peak Trail and then turn around and come back down the same way. Farragut State Park is connected to this trail system, which offers some great riding as well and also a great swim. Stop in at the towns of Bayview or Athol and enjoy some good local burgers!
Start at the parking lot located at the end of Twete Road. (Stimson Lumber Recreation parking lot). Ride counter-clockwise. Follow your App to the Bunco ORV/Powerline Trailhead (self explanatory). This allows for a good warm-up on the paved section for a few miles.
Turn Left onto Trail 6 at the 4.8 mile mark. You are on your way to a great climb. This climb will get your legs pumped! Stay on the main doubletrack all the way to the top of the ridge. There are a few old double tracks that take of Trail 6.
Trail 6 is an old doubletrack that consists of packed dirt, loose sand sections (depending on rain fall and season) and rocky segments. Their are some short, loose, technical rocky sections as you cross under the power lines and get closer to the top of the ridge line. Once on top of the ridge at the 9 mile mark, you'll dead end into Forest Road 2707. Take a left onto Forest Road 2707 and continue due North toward Bernard Peak. After riding approximately 100 yards you'll come to a junction. Take a left at the Junction onto Forest Road 2708. After riding approximately 1/4 mile, there will be another junction. Stay left here and continue on Forest Road 2708. You'll encounter a couple of more spur roads that go off to the right, but stay Left on FS 2708 to the top of Bernard Peak. As you approach the top, you'll start seeing the surround mountain tops.
Here, you'll find the Upper trailhead to Bernard Peak Trail (Trail #3) on the south side of the mountain top. It is labeled Trail #3. There is a sign nailed into a tree as well as a trail marker. Pass up the trail for now and head to the top of Bernard Peak (about a 1/4 mile). Take some time to rest up, dry off your sweat drenched shirt and grab some food. You just climbed a little over 2400 feet and have 11.25 miles on your legs. Take some time to enjoy the views. Walk up to the tip top of the mountain where an old fire lookout use to stand back in the 1950's. Take in the southern mountain range of the Chilco Mountains.
Go down the Bernard Peak Trail (Trail #3). You can go back down the Forest Road to the trailhead or go down the southern slope. The southern slope is steep, rocky and technical, so be cautious.
The Bernard Peak Trail (Trail #3) dives off the Forest Road 2708 on the south side of the Mountain about a 1/4 mile from the top. It then follows the southern sloping ridge. You'll then encounter a large, swooping 180 degree turn which points you in the northern direction taking you across the western slope of the mountain, which leads you onto the cooler and more lush north face. You'll spend the rest of your time on the north side of Bernard Peak.
This trail is fast, fun and energizing with many swoops, turns and a handful of switchbacks and creek crossings. You'll find yourself grinning ear to ear on this trail. Stop off at the overlook at around the 14 mile mark and catch a great view of Pend Oreille Lake, the town of Bayview and the surrounding mountains, then continue bombing down the trail. At the 16.1 mile mark you'll be at the end of the Bernard Peak Trail (Trail #3). This marks the end of the Forest Service land and now you'll be on Stimson Lumber land. You'll transition onto old doubletrack from here.
You'll head downhill for about 300 yards and eventually reach an old junction. Turn left here and continue on the old doubletrack. At mile mark 16.8 you'll encounter another junction, stay left and continue on. The doubletrack will now be turning into more of a forest road. At mile mark 17.4 take a right and continued to follow the road. You'll encounter a small uphill grade to a gate. Go around the gate, it's now time to shift to high gear and get the tires moving and bomb down to the Stimson Lumber parking lot.
Pure, local, backcountry awesomeness!
History & Background
From 1914 to 1976, a Forest Service Lookout stood on top of Bernard Peak. It was a part of a chain of Fire Lookouts that were constructed in the Panhandle National Forest.
Farragut State Park is located Northwest of Bernard Peak and joins the trail system. The Park was a Military Training Camp during World War 2. Visit the Visitors Center, The Old Brig and read the many signs in the park. Very interesting place with lots of history.
Farragut State Park
Address: 13550 ID-54, Athol, ID 83801
Management: Idaho State Parks and Recreation
Phone: (208) 683-2425
Founded: 1964, 53 years ago