Mallard-Larkins Proposed Wilderness Area Hikes

Larkins Lake
Distance: 14 miles roundtrip
Climb: moderate
Difficulty: moderate
Usage: heavy
Location: Drive east on US Highway 12 48 miles from Lewiston to Greer. Merge onto State Highway 11 and proceed through the towns of Weippe and Pierce to Headquarters. Directly north of Headquarters, bear right onto Forest Road (FR) 246 and drive 4 miles to the fork with FR 251. Taking FR 251, drive 10 miles to the junction with FR 247. Proceed 7 miles along FR 247 and cross the Clearwater River. Bear left after the river crossing to reach Isabella Creek in 1 mile. Turn right at this creek onto FR 700 (Smith Ridge Road) and continue 9 miles to Trail 240 at the Smith Ridge Trailhead.

Cutthroat trout thrive in the 12-acre Larkins Lake and moose, elk, deer, black bears, and mountain goats reside in this forested area. Due to the trail’s popularity, much of the wildlife has become “tame,” so hikers need to make sure all food and cooking supplies are hung each evening out of reach of elk standing on their hind feet. After hiking 4.5 miles through lush trees, wildflowers, and huckleberries, hikers can opt to take a side trail on the left of Trail 240 leading north to Larkins Peak. To reach Larkins Lake, bear left from Trail 240 onto Trail 108 after 5.5 miles. In another 0.75 miles, hikers should take the far left (southerly) trail at the four-way junction leading to the lake and several camping spots in 0.5 miles. Best months for hiking are mid-July through mid-October.

Ice Lake, Pete Ott Lake, and Vicinity
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip to Pete Ott Lake
Climb: gentle
Difficulty: moderately easy
Usage: moderate
Location: Drive 48 miles east of Lewiston on US Highway 12 to Greer. Merge left onto State Highway 11 and travel to Pierce. Just south of Pierce, turn onto Forest Road (FR) 250 (French Mountain Road). After crossing the North Fork Bridge, turn right and continue on FR 250 approximately 15 miles to FR 711 (Cold Springs Road). After driving 1.7 miles on FR 711, bear right on FR 5295 and proceed to FR 5297. Drive along FR 5297, then turn onto FR 5297A that leads to the Trail 176 trailhead. Visitors must have a four-wheel drive vehicle to access the trailhead.

Situated in a forested area offering vistas of the Clearwater Mountains and access to icy lakes, hikers only stay on Trail 176 for a short distance. After traveling past Ring Lake, hikers will veer to the right on Trail 445 and reach Ice Lake in 0.3 miles. Continuing another 0.3 miles leads to the unmarked trail on the right that descends to Pete Ott Lake. Best months for hiking are late-July to mid-September, with fall foliage particularly beautiful in the area during September.

Optional Hikes: Continue on Trail 445 past the unmarked trail to Pete Ott Lake, which rises high above Pete Ott Creek. From here, hikers have extensive views of the Elizabeth Lakes. Proceed past this vantage point to descend to the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

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