Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Myrtle Falls Trail: A short hike with a spectacular view

by Don Bartling
| August 27, 2020 1:00 AM

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees.”

— Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

The beautiful thing about hiking is that it’s truly an activity everyone can do. Whether you’re young or old, an expert or an amateur, there’s a trail out there that will be perfect for you.

The beauty of Boundary County can best be seen from a hiking path while traveling on foot. Boundary County has more than 350 miles of developed hiking and horseback trails. Hikers can choose easy part day walks or extended backpacking trips. Recently I went on a short but vigorous hike to Myrtle Creek Falls one of the scenic waterfalls in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

Myrtle Creek Falls was a pleasant hike to see a good-sized cascade. From the trail head, the first couple hundred yards of the path leads through a cedar grove to Myrtle Creek, and are asphalt and handicapped-accessible. I hiked the very steep but invigorating trail two-tenths of a mile until reaching an exceptional viewing area of the large outpouring which is halfway up the falls. The view of the falls and the sounds of the rushing water and smell of the summer air in the mountains was well worth the vigorous hike.

Early last March I had made the same hike through snow to witness the spectacular view of the partially frozen waterfall. Now in the summer, water is cascading down the mountain with a moderate force.

Myrtle Creek Falls is west of Bonners Ferry on the Riverside road approximately 5 miles to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. You will find the falls trailhead one tenth of a mile northwest of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor’s center.

Other beautiful falls in Boundary County include Copper Falls, Lower Snow Creek Falls, Moyie Falls, Smith Creek Falls and Upper Snow Creek Falls. Moyie Falls is one of the highest volume waterfalls in Northern Idaho under 100 feet. Blasting out of a slot in the canyon, the Moyie River explodes 70 feet into a gorge then cascading another 25 feet. The falls flow year-round, but is not as impressive during the drier time of year.

Although I do not hike as much as I should, hiking exercises almost every part of the body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips, abdominals, shoulders and neck. What I like about hiking other than physical activity is that it also exercises the mind and nourishes the imagination. It creates awareness in your eyes, nose, ears and the rest of your senses. Hiking is a good way to leave the everyday pressures behind and recharge your battery. There is no better place to hike and enjoy the scenery than Boundary County.

The Myrtle Falls trail was well marked and easy to follow with many interesting and informative interpretive signs making me look forward to the next trail to a waterfall in Boundary County.

In the summer months I would encourage scenic hikers to bring bug repellent while viewing these beautiful trails and waterfalls.

Enjoy the beauty of Boundary County by hiking with a friend or family members to one of the many scenic waterfalls.


The Myrtle Falls Trail is well marked and easy to follow with many interesting and informative interpretive signs.

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