Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Glacier N.P. & Pacific Northwest

by Kathy 16. December 2010 15:17

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Idaho—Canfield Mountain Trail System

Canfield Mountain Trail System really should be named “single track heaven.” This set of trails covers about 32 miles in the mountains on the northeastern edge of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We had such a fun time riding here that we altered our intended route through Montana so we could return for an extra day the following week.

Our staging area was a fairly small parking lot at the end of Nettleton Gulch Road. A sign told us to take away all our trash, “including deer carcasses”.

Our first thought was this instruction was funny (although apparently it was not a laughing matter if enough people were leaving their deer carcasses as to warrant a sign). Our second thought was to wonder when deer hunting season started. Would there be hunters in the woods? If so, hopefully we would be highly visible with our “safety orange” bikes and bright helmets.

The Canfield trails were designed specifically for motorized dirt bikes as well as bicycles.  There is also one trail open to quad riders--a dirt road that led from the parking lot.

As we were preparing our bikes, a truck with two rangers came bumping down the quad road and stopped at the barrier. One ranger got out to unlock the gate so that they could pass. I approached cautiously to ask if they had any trail maps, still a bit shell-shocked from the hostility of the “rangers” at John’s Peak OHV. Not to worry! I was immediately put at ease by the smiles and enthusiastic welcome from these two men, who seemed happy to provide maps and make suggestions regarding which trails might be best for Genevieve and Sebastian’s skill level.

Sebastian, waiting to ride:

Today would be the first time Sebastian and Genevieve had ridden a lot of single track on the edge of hillsides. Both kids have exceptional balance, however, and we were excited about introducing them to our favorite type of trails.

We started with Trail 8 (Penn Trail), a one-way track that gradually wound its way up through dense brush and trees.

The first section had a slope off the right side, which can be mentally daunting at times, especially if you become fixated with something over the edge. Our mantra is: "Don’t look where you don’t want to go!”

Sometimes there were stretches of shallow ruts or whoops (bumps), but there was nothing technically difficult about the trail. It was pure fun! Just put me on a skinny ribbon of dirt that snakes through trees, and I am a happy woman. I think Genevieve now shares my sentiments. Here she is on Trail 8:

The whoops bounced Sebastian’s little bike around, but he worked through the difficulties and didn’t give up. Here he is, coming around a bend:

At a sharp hairpin turn, we were treated to a distant view of Lake Couer d’Alene:

Continuing on, the trail curved its way through a flatter area, with some tricky up and downs through the trees. The kids motored through beautifully.

Here is Genevieve, giving a "thumbs up!":

She definitely had her groove on today:

Genevieve, Sebastian and Ben, in the thick trees:

At a junction called “Penn Station”, the trail split off into three choices: Trails 7, A and B. .

We had fun exploring each option during our two rides here.

Trail 7 was basically flat and a bit wider than the single track we had just covered. It had a smattering of rocks and no significant technical challenges.

Sebastian and Ben:


Trail 7 was only a mile long and connected with an old logging road (Trail D) at the top. Genevieve on Trail D:

Trail D was also about a mile long and had some nice views. We found some shade in which to enjoy our packed lunch.

The kids were fascinated with the large ants that were waiting to carry off any tidbits of food that we accidentally dropped.

After lunch, Sebastian was ready for some more action!

We backtracked to Penn Station and ventured out on Trail A, which started off with curving single track.

Then we encountered some intense ruts:

Sebastian maneuvered carefully down a tricky section:

Then he received some hints from Ben on how to cross a deep channel without getting his tiny tire stuck. (The channel is not visible in the photo—it runs horizontal, right in front of his bike) :

Genevieve kept her balance and her focus in tracking smoothly up this rutted section:

Continuing on, I scooted to the outside of another set of ruts and then looked behind me to see how Sebastian fared. There he was . . . without his bike!

What happened??!!!

Here are the ruts I had just covered:

And down the hill was Sebastian’s bike (at the top of the photo):

A close-up:

Another view of the ruts:

Sebastian had been nervous about following me on the outside line. He had lost his focus and his balance, but he was thrilled about his quick ejection reflex as the bike had started flying down the hill. He said, “I’m going to remember this day forever as the first time I rode off a cliff.”

(Let’s hope that there’s not a “second” time, okay sweetie?  And that the "cliff" isn't a sheer drop down.)

I dragged, pushed, pulled, and eventually muscled the bike back on the trail. Whew!

After another mile or so, Trail A intersected an old logging road that eventually connected with the far end of another trail (Trail B) that looped back to Penn Station.

Sebastian’s tire sank into one sandy uphill:


Genevieve and Sebastian, on one of the logging roads:

Back in the single-track, Genevieve waited for Sebastian and Ben to arrive:

Here I am, with the kids in tow:

The trails were just divine:

Genevieve, with Sebastian and Ben behind:

The trail ahead:

And looking back:

Here are a few more photos, on our way back to Penn Station.


Ben and Sebastian:

Not too far from the junction, we realized that Sebastian’s rear tire was completely flat.

Ben worked his “fix it” magic:


Genevieve is very good at entertaining her brother with elaborate (and silly) stories:

Sebastian took a photo of Genevieve, me and Ben:

Sweet boy:

On the way back to the parking lot, we took Trail 4 (Cave Trail), a narrow one-way track that ended our ride on a high note:

On the way down, however, I heard some shrieks behind me from Genevieve. I jumped off my bike and ran back to help. She had gotten stung twice near her collarbone by what we think was a hornet.

A band-aid, and lots of TLC, made things better.

She was soon back on the trail:

Sebastian and Ben were close behind:

The trail map had described the steepness as “moderate,” which I had translated as “mild” to Sebastian. As we were descending our last stretch of fairly steep switchbacks, I paused to wait for Sebastian. He had really been challenged today, and I knew that he was exhausted. As he scooted around a tight switchback, he yelled to me, “THIS IS NOT MILD!”

I know, Honey, I know. But you’re doing great! (And he was.)

We loved our time here at Canfield Mountain. We covered almost all of the trails, except for the two described as having a “steep” grade (Trails 3 and 9). This part of Idaho is a long way from our home in California, but we may find our way back here again. If so, I’m sure by then the kids will be single track aficionados, more than ready for this entrance to Trail 9:



Additional Information About Canfield Mountain Trail System:

Link to the USDA Forest Service’s 3-page brochure, in PDF format, with directions, a trail map, and trail descriptions. 

The Canfield Mountain Trail System is maintained by the Panhandle Trailriders Association (PANTRA) and the USDA Forestry Service.

No camping is permitted.

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Comments (2) -

1/2/2011 6:34:44 PM #


Kathy,  I absolutely LOVE the pictures and commentary.  looks like a fantastic vacation Smile

Petra United States | Reply

1/3/2011 8:58:19 AM #


Thanks, Petra! Yes, it was indeed a memorable trip.

Kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
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   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
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   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
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   Hong Kong
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   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
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   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
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   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
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   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
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   Hackberry General Store in AZ
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   Hatteras Island, NC
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   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
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   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
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   Navajo Nation, AZ
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   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin