Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail was part of the first recreation site developed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Idaho, going back to 1963. Numbered trail guides are placed along the path to help visitors identify flora and fauna and to provide a historical perspective along the way.
From the parking area, the trail follows switchbacks along the way up the ridge, and a sign tells hikers to follow the loop in a counterclockwise direction. This provides for a more gradual uphill walk and a steeper, more direct downhill, with the best views of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
A short distance into the trail, a spur trail goes 400 feet to an old hard rock tunnel, with just enough space inside for two people to fit comfortably. Caribou Cabin sits at the top of the ridge, where hikers can choose to continue left and return to the trailhead or extend the hike by going right and hiking along Mineral Ridge to more viewpoints. Eventually the trail intersects with Forest Service Road 1575, marking the end of the Mineral Ridge Trail and crossing over from BLM land to the adjacent national forest.
In spring, the trail breaks out in wildflower blooms amidst the breaks in pine and fir trees. Visitors hiking up Mineral Ridge in late fall and early winter will likely see many bald eagles that come to Lake Coeur d'Alene to feed on spawning Kokanee salmon.
By continuing to the next intersecting road south on ID-97 visitors will reach the Beauty Creek Campground, an excellent location to camp for a night or two while exploring Mineral Ridge and other recreation opportunities on Lake Coeur d'Alene.