Mountain Recreation
in northern Idaho's beautiful Silver Valley

The beautiful Silver Valley is a four-season mountain recreation paradise. Winter embraces alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Fishing, mountain biking and climbing, river rafting and kayaking, golf, hiking, backpacking, and four-wheeling occupy outdoor recreation enthusiasts from spring to fall. Bow, rifle and muzzleloader hunting for deer and elk is naturally popular each fall. Black bears are hunted during the fall and spring, while mountain lions are hunted from September through March.
This page offers a taste of things to do within an hour's drive from the Silver Valley... and will always be under construction. In the first four cases, the first link takes you to photos on this page, the second to a larger presentation at, and the third to the corporate website, opening in a separate window.
click to see the
      current weather on Lookout Pass
current weather
on Lookout Pass
If you have digital pictures of these areas that you would like to share, send JPG's with descriptions to me at I will display them in this or an evolved format with your name, email and/or website displayed according to your wishes.
Thank you,
Greg Marsh

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path follows the Union Pacific Railroad's right-of-way 72 miles from Mullan to Plummer. This section presents some of the photos taken along the way. For more information and photos, you should also check out the large Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails website.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
The smooth new path is easy traveling for those on foot, bikes, or roller blades.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
All the railroad bridges have been resurfaced for bikes.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
Tranquil wetlands lie between the Trail and the Coeur d'Alene River.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
Sometimes the view from a railroad bridge makes you pause.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
The small treasures you encounter include beaver homes.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
The large panoramas are breathtaking, especially as dusk approaches.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
Lake Coeur d'Alene is naturally a high point of the adventure.
click to enlarge this photo by John Ruggles
Most of the trail is far away from habitation, giving you both solitude and exercise. Pack a lunch.

The Route of the Hiawatha is a scenic section of abandoned rail-bed from the Milwaukee Road that The Taft Tunnel Preservation Society and the U.S. Forest Service have turned into a world class non-motorized trail. More photos from this trip are presented as a slide show. Opening the trail map in a separate window may help visualize the adventure.
East Portal, Taft Tunnel
New in the 2001 season, the East Portal of the Taft Tunnel is located 2 miles south of Interstate 90 at Montana Exit 5 ("Taft").
Start of the Adventure
The photographers, Tim and Julie, realize that "the light at the end of the tunnel" is VERY far away indeed! 1.8 miles to be exact.
the end is near
After riding forever, the end appears to be close... but then everything is so disorientating... and cool.
As in: 50 on an 80 day.
West Portal, Taft Tunnel
The Taft Tunnel is also known as The St. Paul Pass Tunnel. This West Portal is also known as Roland, Idaho: once a railroad town, now a shuttle stop.
Clear Creek drainage
Looking across to the Clear Creek headwaters of the North Fork of the St. Joe River, you can see the 760 foot long Clear Creek Trestle in midview.
Small Creek Trestle
Small Creek Trestle (515 feet long, 120 feet high) and the six other trestles on the bike trail were built at enormous expense between 1906 and 1909.
Kelly Creek Trestle
Montana lies over the Bitterroot Divide above Kelly Creek Trestle (850 feet long, 230 feet high), which is near an extinct railroad town called Adair.
Clear Creek Trestle
Riding west from Clear Creek Trestle, it is about five miles down Loop Creek to the bottom trailhead and shuttle stop called Pearson. This is just off Forest Highway 456 that connects Wallace and Avery.
Clear Creek road
Clear Creek Trestle is really not that scary...
until you decide to look 220 feet straight down to the nearest road.
Clear Creek However, if you look southwest from Clear Creek Trestle, you see just another reason why the Route of the Hiawatha may be the most scenic mountain bike trail in the world.

Silver Mountain Ski and Recreation Area lies above the towns of Wardner and Kellogg and is accessed by gondola from I-90, in the middle section of the Silver Valley. The resort's snow report is updated every day during ski season by 7 AM PST.
19 minutes away by gondola
Looking down to where the gondola starts its 19 minute journey, 3 blocks from I-90 in Kellogg
awesome view from Silver
Silver Mountain is characterized by deep powder, few people, and awesome views.
learning to ski
Silver Mountain is an ideal place to learn skiing or snowboarding because beginners and experts are separated by the terrain.
looking north from Silver
Looking north over the Silver Valley, past the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, toward the Cabinet Range and Canada.
Hike and Ski
Silver Mountain is famous for its DEEP powder, especially in the "Hike and Ski" EXPERT-ONLY area on the back side of Mt. Wardner.
typical March day
Typical powder day at Silver Mountain, looking at Mt. Wardner's expert terrain... but the REALLY DEEP POWDER is on the back side! A reward for those tough enough to hike to the summit.
looking at Montana
Looking east past Big Creek and Mt. Stevens toward Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area and Montana in the distance. Skiing and Snowboarding doesn't get better than in the Silver Valley!
looking south from Silver
Looking south from the top of Silver Mountain one can see the Saint Joe River Valley in the distance. This wild and scenic river basin is paradise to fishers and other outdoor enthusiasts from spring to fall.
racing downhill
Racing downhill all day long at Silver Mountain without the benefit of lift line intermissions can be exhausting as well as exhilarating. Good thing your lodging in historic Wallace is only a dozen miles away.
photo by Tim Hyllested
This view to the east shows Mt. Stevens (6838') in the distance and East Ridge to the left, with the Big Creek drainage in mid range. The proposed new quads will go from the valley floor to the top of East Ridge. Straight down is "South of the Border" (OUT OF BOUNDS... for now).

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area lies on the Idaho-Montana border just off I-90, at the east end of the Silver Valley. A 50 acre expansion of the ski area called Buzzards Valley happened in 1998. This featured a radical Snowboard Terrain Park, now called B-52. For the 2001/02 season, a new advanced beginner run named Hoot Owl was cut into this timbered area. Selective logging has subsequently created the Lucky Friday and Last Chance Glades. A new lift serving five long intermediate and expert runs was added for the 2003/04 season. These runs face the spectacular St. Regis Lakes Basin. A third lift facing north toward Mullan was added for the 2007/08 season. This adds two advanced intermediate and three expert trails. The resort's snow report is updated Thursday thru Monday by 7 AM PST.
Lookout Pass lodge
The lodge at Lookout Pass straddles the border just off Interstate 90.
deep powder at Lookout
Lookout Pass is characterized by deep powder and few people.
learning to ski
Lookout Pass is an ideal place for kids to learn to ski. Their "Free Ski School" for local kids has been in operation for over 50 years.
looking north from Lookout
Looking north toward Sunset Peak and the Glidden Lakes backcountry on the other side of ridge.
powder day
Lookout Pass is famous for its DEEP powder. If almost a foot of light powder falls at Silver Mountain, expect more than foot at Lookout Pass.
typical March day
Typical day in March at Lookout Pass.
looking at Montana
Looking east to Montana from Lookout Pass with Beacon Mountain on the left... a great place to cross-country ski.
looking south from Lookout
Looking south from the top of Lookout Pass one can see the start of the St. Regis Lake Basin. A wondrous roadless place. Things look different now, however, as Buzzards Valley, now called Claim Jumper and featuring a radical Snowboard Terrain Park with nine huge hits, was added for the 1998/99 season.
racing downhill
Racing downhill toward the lodge with no fear of running into anyone is the normal experience at Lookout.
tree skiing
Much of the 50 acre Buzzards Valley expansion in 1998 added expert tree skiing and boarding to the area's charm. A wide beginner run, Hoot Owl, was cut through part of this area for the 2001/02 season, but the best tree ski/boarding areas remain for the adventurous.

Cross Country Skiing on the Idaho-Montana border, at the east end of the Silver Valley
start of Mt. Beacon trek
The trip up Beacon Mountain begins at Lookout Pass, I-90, Exit 0, across from the ski area.
Silver Mountain in distance
Soon Silver Mountain Ski Area can be seen in the distance.
looking up Mt. Beacon
Looking up at the untracked March powder on Beacon Mountain.
looking back at Lookout Pass
Looking back at Lookout Pass Ski Area from Beacon Mountain.
looking over to Sunset Peak
Looking across to Sunset Peak from the top of Beacon Mountain.
Mullan weather station
The Mullan weather station is at the top of Beacon Mountain. This photo was taken in 1993, before it was completely built.

Thank you for your time and interest. Leave a bookmark and return anytime.
Please tell me what you would like to see on this page and on other pages of this Silver Valley website.
Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
Marsh Scientific Services Marsh Scientific Services
Greg Marsh skiing deep powder at Lookout Pass
To see more of where I'm skiing DEEP spring powder, click on my smile.
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  • Historic Wallace Idaho is known as the Silver Capital of the World because the area around it has produced 1.2 billion ounces of Silver in 130 years. Recently an act of political satire made it known as the Center of the Universe as well. That is certainly true when you consider the all-season mountain recreation opportunities in all directions..
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2016/2017 Ski Season Snowfall Log and Commentary for both Ski Areas
Maximum snow depth recorded at Lookout Pass during each previous season is shown.
March 17
January 18
March 6
March 23
March 23
March 17
April 8
February 13
April 3
April 3
March 1 - 3
March 26 - 27
January 16 - 17
March 7
March 9
March 21 - 23
click to see the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
click to see the Route of the Hiawatha

Greg Marsh, Ph.D., is Marsh Scientific Services ©1998-2017, Marsh Scientific Services, Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
last update on Monday, February 13, 2012
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