Open all year, depending upon snow.
This is an amazing shoreline trail adventure that navigates the crown Jewel of Idaho called Priest Lake. Enjoy a variety of trail terrains with special viewpoints, small sandy beaches, a handful of bridge crossings with a big wilderness feel.
Need to Know
Yield to hikers and horse riders.
Be on the lookout for wildlife. Eagle, deer and bear are the common wildlife in the area along with all the other little critters. The Priest Lake area is known for grizzly bears, especially at the Upper Priest Lake area where it is more remote. Ride with bear etiquette techniques such as making noise often, keeping your eye far down the trail and watch your blind corners. This trail is further south and is very close to civilization so grizzly bears are not often seen here but they are in the area.
Priest Lake is called the Crown Jewell of Idaho with massive opportunities for many type of adventures in the area. One of those adventures is biking on Forest Service Trail #294, commonly called the Reader Bay Trail.
Trail #294 is one of those fun, adventurous, lakeside trails that offers a riding experience of fast, smooth rolling, hard-pack to the rocky, rooted interlaced technical. This trail is not a climber as it follows the eastern shoreline of Lower Priest Lake, but after you are finished you'll feel your legs.
The Trail base consists of soft & muddy sections, to hard packed dirt & gravel.
There are a couple of ways to ride this trail. You can start at the upper end of the trail at Beaver Creek, and ride to the lower trailhead and then back. Some people ride the main road between Reader Bay and Beaver Creek and then loop back on the trail. If you ride the trail up and back, starting from the lower trailhead seems to flow the best. the trail rides a little more difficult riding from Ready Bay to Beaver Creek and then rides fast, quick and flowy from Beaver Creek to Ready Bay.
Starting from the Reader Bay (lower) Trailhead, the trail drops into an open cedar forest and takes you quickly to the shoreline of Priest Lake. Rewarding views of the lake and surrounding mountains are offered along the whole trail at different points. One of the eye-grabbing backdrops, is the well known Chimney Rock. There are also a handful of small, sandy beaches you can pop out on to take a break. Many campsites are littered along this trail reachable from the trail and by boat. The trail will wind its way in and through these campsite as you near the Beaver Creek area.
All and all, this is a very fun, adventurous trail that offers a big wilderness experience feel. Make sure to enjoy the local restaurants and local bar & grills for dinner located in Nordman, Coolin or down south in the town of Priest Lake.