Dedicated to the memory of environmental activist Jasper Carlton, this trail begins with a caribou encounter at Beehive Lakes before proceeding to the ESA-designated critical habitat near Little Snowy Top mountain—the site of the last Idaho ranging mountain caribou. The trail then descends to a mid-elevation cedar-hemlock forest in the Ball Creek drainage which served as important early winter caribou habitat. After this section you’ll meet an individual who contributed to the listing of mountain caribou as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Stop and listen to former Idaho Fish and Game biologist, Gregg Servheen, as he discusses mountain caribou ecology before proceeding to an old growth gathering site of human and more-than-human worlds. Following the caribou’s seasonal migration to the high country, the trail then climbs to an open rock field below Chimney Rock, the site of an early-nineties caribou encounter by Spokane resident, Bob Case. Keep an eye to the shadows of the Salmo-Priest, and be sure to bring your bear spray.
This trail begins with a caribou sighting at Chimney Rock and then heads northeast toward Two Mouth Lakes, an area once frequented by the South Selkirk caribou herd. Here you’ll encounter many of the area’s current inhabitants, including some of its top predators. Spend a windy night on a saddle below Little Snowy Top before hitching a ride along the Pack River where you’ll meet a few of the locals.
This trail proceeds through early-winter caribou habitat to an alpine meadow near Two Mouth Lakes, west of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. You’ll hear stories of nearby caribou encounters before bushwhacking to an unnamed lake high above the meadow. Moose, deer, and the occasional cougar can be spotted from the trail, and anglers are highly advised to bring their fishing poles, as the lower lakes are stocked with hungry cutthroat trout.
Take the chairlift to the top of Schweitzer Mountain Resort for lunch before trekking along the ridgeline toward Snowy Top mountain and the ESA-designated critical caribou habitat. Here you’ll come face-to-face with the habitat’s current users and then travel back in time for a 1970s encounter at Lionhead, on the eastern edge of Priest Lake, with optional detours to Beehive Lakes and Chimney Rock.