Hiking the State Line Trail (Idaho/Montana)
Leaving Wilderness Gateway behind, hikers will experience bushwhacking, blowdowns, and oppressive evergreen forests. This part of Idaho is much more similar to the Pacific Northwest and the precipitation patterns are heavier than further south in the state.
Do not be fooled into thinking this section is any different from previous ones because it does not traverse Wilderness Areas. The trail conditions continue to be poor. That being said, there are sections of the State Line Trail that follow 4×4 roads and it makes hiking rather enjoyable.
167 Miles to Resupply
This is the longest stretch of trail between resupply points. I was able to complete it in 8.5 days. Such a long stretch between towns mandates extreme planning when it comes to provisions. It also makes hitting your miles a serious concern, getting stuck in the mountains without food is not fun.
- Bail at Hoodoo Pass
Because you are not in a wilderness area, there is a small dirt road at Hoodoo Pass – 90 miles north of Wilderness Gateway. From here, it is a long hitch into Superior, MT. Traffic is light and you may have to hike most of the way but it is an escape route.
Lack of Water on the State Line Trail
There are stretches of 30 miles without a water source. I was lucky enough to hit this section at the end of June and there was still plenty of snow to melt in order to drink. There are stories of folks drinking their own urine at this section. Be careful with your planning and build in additional miles lakes or rivers if needed.
Before climbing atop the ridgeline, there is a section of trail that follows Windy Creek. With almost no discernable trails, the hike descends into a meadow of willow trees, tall grasses, and beaver dams. Leave yourself ample time to complete this section.
I strongly recommend bushwhacking up Kelly Creek to the State Line Trail. The maintenance is poor but at this point of the hike, you will be an expert in extreme growth conditions.
Mullan and Wallace, Idaho
Mullan, Idaho is not much of a town, lacking a grocery store and even a gas station. I recommend walking or hitching the 5 miles West into Wallace. There you will find lodging and food. For the more ambitious hikers, Coeur d’Alene is about 30 minutes west of Wallace and provides all the amenities of a small city.
Wild West Trail Notes
Immense sections of Bushwhacking lie ahead, be prepared. After conquering the lower elevations and climbing onto the Ridge, you will be rewarded with views of both Montana and Idaho. For sections of trail, you will walk the border, spending almost equal time in both states.
There is Cell Phone Service at the pass just north of St. Joe Lake. This a beautiful section and probably some of the best hiking on the entire Idaho Centennial Trail