Open all year depending upon snow pack and trail conditions.
Need to Know
Grizzly bears are known to be in the area. No water access points on the trail.
Chico Mountain NRT #14 is a beautiful, backcountry, northern Idaho trail. The trail will challenge your legs and lungs but offers spectacular views. It can be done both ways and will challenge the best of riders with steep climbs, hike-a-bike, and rocky, technical sections with some long smooth flowing bombing treks.
Over the past years, the trail has been well-maintained by a local horse club, and they do an amazing job. While mostly used by hikers and horse riders, mountain bikers are very welcome; however, always keep your eye out for other users and use good trail etiquette.
Starting from the southern trailhead, primitive parking area, the trail is smooth, hard-packed dirt and begins with a steep climb despite some long switchbacks. You'll encounter a few rocky areas but soon you'll be on top of Chilco Mountain taking in the panoramic views. The trail continues northward along the spine of Chilco Mountain and then plunges downward to Chilco Saddle on a series of switchbacks.
Once in the saddle, the trail maneuvers with some small ups and downs with twists and turns. You'll begin climbing up out of the saddle on the southwestern slope of North Chilco Mountain. This is the most challenging section of the trail, with some big climbs involved which includes a handful of hike-a-bike sections. You'll continue to climb along the western slope of North Chilco as the trail makes its way up to the northern ridge.
Once on the ridge, you soon find a trail sign that points you to the top of North Chilco. You can continue straight ahead and head to the north trailhead or take a right to climb to the top.
If you choose to go to the top, you'll have to ditch the bikes about a 100 yards up as the trail turns to a very large rock base. The hike is about 0.25 miles but is pretty easy and gives your butt a rest from the saddle. Once on top, you'll find one of the best viewpoints in the area, as the top of North Chilco offers an amazing 360-degree view of the entire area. It's spectacular and a great place to have lunch and take a rest.
Once down from the top, continue northward down the spine of North Chilco. You'll quickly start heading downhill and will enjoy a wide, hard packed dirt trail that plummets into a dozen or so switchbacks ending at the north trailhead. Keep on the lookout for hikers as this section is the most heavily used.
Shared By: Torin Browning