“A great loop with great climbing, beautiful scenery and a fun yet challenging mountain lake trail.
— Torin Browning
Generally open from May to December (Weather and snow pack permitting). Bead Lake Trail
The featured ride consists of approximately 11 miles of forest road and 6 miles of Singletrack. The highlights of this ride are the views of the back country and the shoreline trail ride. The forest road rewards with wonderful views of Bead Lake, the Pend Oreille River valley, and the Priest Lake mountain ranges of North Idaho. The Bead Lake Trail
has a variety of terrains consisting of hard pack dirt, rocky technical sections, some short, steep climbs along with some switchbacks. It is fast rolling in most sections but don't take it to fast as this trail offers amazing views of Bead Lake and surrounding mountain sides. There are also wooden walk ways to roll over which add to the fun factor.
Be on the lookout for hikers. This is a very popular hiking trail so use extreme trail etiquette.
During the dryer parts of the summer from the months of late July to mid- September parts of the trail by the lake can become loose with gravel and mountain rock. It can get a little dusty as well depending upon your speed of travel.
Some of the wooden bridges are needing repair at the upper end of the trail so use caution when rolling over them. The Forest Service is in progress rebuilding the bridges.
Need to Know
This is a very straight forward loop with no real surprises and is easy to navigate. Be mindful of the public use areas, such as boat ramps and parking areas because they require a use fee and is highly monitored. If you have time after the ride, go for a swim in the Pend Oreille River. Enjoy the awesome sandbars and dive for crayfish.
Park at the Bead Lake Trail
. (Turn onto Forest Road 3215 off of Bead Lake Road and drive approximately a 1/4 mile. The Parking lot is up on the right). The parking is free at this location.
Once on your bike, continue up Forest Road 3215. Stay on Forest Road 3215 to reach the Upper Bead Lake Trail
. You'll begin climbing for 5.5 miles and 1100 vertical feet. This is the hardest part of the Loop as you only get a few views of the surrounding area and you climb a lot. If you like climbing then you'll have no problems with boredom.
Once you get past the 5.5 mile mark, the views become more frequent and the forest road gets a little more remote and fun to ride. At this point, you are riding in and out of ridge lines which offer great views of both the Pend Oreille river valley and the Priest Lake mountain ranges. At about the 8.4 miles mark, you'll be at the highest point in the ride at approximately 4,575 feet. From here it is all down hill with the exception of a few short climbs along the way.
Have fun bombing down the forest road. It descends quickly and rolls really fast! Don't forget to look to the right and take in the scenery of the surrounding mountains.
As you are descending, stay on Forest Road 3215 until you reach the Upper Trailhead of Bead Lake Trail
. The Trailhead reader board sits off the road about 50' to the South.
The start of Bead Lake Trail
is fun and fast. The trail gently climbs a short distance and then descends rapidly on hard packed dirt. Be cautious of hikers. Not many hikers reach this area but still be on the lookout and use good trail etiquette.
The trail winds down to the creek bottom then out to Bead Lake. You'll encounter a couple of camping area's which are neatly kept. You'll also encounter another Bead Lake "Spur" Trail that takes of to the right (West). This Spur trail only goes up a mile and then dead ends.
From here the trail starts around Bead Lake and is very straight forward. Take your time and enjoy the amazing views of the Lake. The Lake is small but deep and clear ranging in color from dark blue to turquoise. It's really a nice lake!
Near the end of the trail you'll end up at a reader board next to the boat ramp parking lot. Continue up the trail to the lower trailhead parking lot where the ride began.