PYRAMID & BALL LAKES
North Idaho has beautiful well-constructed and well-maintained trails. The trail to Pyramid Lake is short and well-graded and thus very popular. The lake is surrounded by cirque walls. Ball Lake is subalpine in a rocky setting.
These lakes are now closed to camping which seems appropriate as the trail is so short.
Elevation gain: 405m (1330′)
Distance: 8km (5mi) round trip
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Hikable: mid-July through October
Map: USGS Pyramid Peak & Bonners Ferry Ranger District Travel Map.
From Creston. BC. Drive Hwy 21 south and enter Idaho at the Rykerts/Porthill border crossing.
0.0. US customs building.
16.2km (10mi.). Copeland. Turn right (west) onto the National Forest access road. It’s just north of a bar, and 1.6km (1m) north of the Hwy 1/95 junction. Reset odometer to 0.0.
0.0. Go west on National Forest access road signed “Copeland Br 3, Westside Road 5.
.7km (.4mi). Proceed on pavement.
1.1km (.7mi). Cross the Kootenai River Bridge
3.9km (2.4mi). Turn left at a T-intersection onto Westside Road #417.
11.1km (6.9mi). Turn right (west) onto Trout Creek Road #634 and reset odometer to 0.0.
From Bonners Ferry. Drive to the intersection of First and Riverside streets, on the north edge of the historic downtown. Set you odometer to 0.0.
0.0. Go west on Riverside St.
.2km (.1mi). Cross railroad tracks. Follow signs for Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge in 5 miles.
.8km (.5mi). Pass the mill.
5.6km (3.5mi). Go right.
5.8km (3.8mi). Go left and cross a bridge.
6.2km (3.8mi). Pass 2 wildlife refuge parking lots in the wetlands.
8.1km (5mi). Go right (north). The road to the left goes to Snow Creek Road.
8.6km 5.3mi). Pass the wildlife refuge visitor centre and cross Myrtle Creek bridge.
10.5km (6.5mi). At junction, go straight (north) on the paved Westside Rd. Myrtle Creek Rd #633 goes left (west).
19km (11.8mi). Go straight on gravel. Slow down.
24.2km (15mi). Turn left (west) on Trout Creek Road #634. Reset odometer.
0.0km. Heading west on Trout Creek Rd.
7.3km (4.5mi) and 8.4km (5.2mi). Go straight on main road ignoring forks.
9.5km (5.9mi). Pass huge boulders.
10km (6.2mi). Go straight. Left goes to Russell Peak Trail #12 (not the best hike)
14.5km (9mi). Parking. TH for Pyramid, Ball, Trout, and Big Fisher lakes. There are some tent sites in the trees at the turn-around loop.
Trail/Route: Follow Trail #13 north on switchbacks.
.8km. (1768m 5800’). Trail junction. Go left on Trail #43 to Pyramid and Ball lakes. Right goes on Trail #13 to Pyramid Pass and Trout and Big Fisher Lakes. Cross a bridged creek.
1.6km (1mi). Pyramid Lake. The shore is treed but the lake is in a rocky cirque. The area has been heavily abused in the past.
To reach Ball Lakes, just before Pyramid Lake, turn left (SE). Reach good views NE down Trout Creek Valley. Turn SW and switchback steeply up the SE wall of the Pyramid Lake cirque. Pyramid Peak and Pass are visible to the north, as are the ridges that wrap around Trout and Big Fisher Lakes. The cirque wall is at 2052m (6730′). Follow the crest over Pyramid Peak to Pyramid Pass.
The trail continues SW, forking in about 10 minutes. Right quickly reaches Upper Ball Lake in a cliffy gorge (4km, 2045m 6708′). Left leads to Lower Ball Lake within 5 minutes. It’s hugged by forest in a rocky crevasse and is smaller than upper Ball.