4.5 miles (one way)
Elevation gain: 2,040 feet
The Beehive Lakes Trail was one of the best hikes I’ve done in the Idaho Panhandle. I left home early hoping to beat crowds and hot midday temperatures, but the parking lot was already mostly full when I arrived at 8:00 am. The first mile and a half weaved through coniferous forest and was fairly gradual. As the steepness increased, huckleberry and beargrass in full bloom become more predominate, and generous switchbacks made the climb more than manageable. The steepest (and most difficult) section was a long slope of granite just below the upper lake (the lower lakes are little more than small ponds) that made my calf muscles burn for mercy. I enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself as hard as possible up the last stretch.
Initially, I had the upper Beehive Lake to myself, but was soon joined by other hikers. There was still a lot snow around and above the lake lending to an alpine-esque appearance. Seeking solitude, I rock-hopped across Beehive Creek and found a shaded boulder with a nice flat spot to sit on. The boulder provided an idyllic vantage to simply relax and watch trout swim through the clear water in search of food. Call me a vegan hippie, but I got far more enjoyment from simply watching the trout as opposed to hooking and ratcheting them out of the water.
30 minutes of sitting passed and I was getting antsy, plus the temperature was noticeably rising. So, I took a few more mental and smartphone snapshots then headed back down the trail. I passed three groups of backpackers intent on camping, but I only saw one campsite so I’m curious as to where they all ended up.
Back at the trailhead, cars had been parked on nearly every flat plot of road and grass. I’m really glad I got an early start, but I might even aim for earlier in the future. Beehive Lakes was one of my favorite hikes so I can understand it’s popularity. If you’re in the Sandpoint area from July to early September and looking for a great hike, put Beehive Lakes near the top of your list.