Sullivan Lake Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Sullivan Lake Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 4.3 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Colville National Forest
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Sullivan Lake Trail, located in the Colville National Forest of northeastern Washington state, holds a rich historical significance. The trail follows the eastern shore of Sullivan Lake, a glacially-carved body of water nestled amidst the Selkirk Mountains. The area has long been inhabited by indigenous tribes, including the Kalispel and Kootenai peoples, who relied on the lake and its surrounding resources for sustenance and trade.

In the late 1800s, European settlers began to explore and settle the region. The Sullivan Lake Trail emerged as an important transportation route, connecting the remote communities of Metaline Falls and Ione. Originally used by miners seeking precious metals in the surrounding mountains, the trail soon became a lifeline for the local timber industry. Loggers utilized the trail to transport timber from the dense forests to the mills, contributing to the economic growth of the area.

During the early 20th century, the Sullivan Lake Trail played a crucial role in the development of recreational opportunities in the region. The trail became a popular destination for hikers, horseback riders, and nature enthusiasts, drawn to the area’s stunning natural beauty. The Forest Service recognized the trail’s significance and began to improve and maintain it, ensuring safe and accessible passage for visitors.

Today, the Sullivan Lake Trail continues to serve as a gateway to the wilderness, offering visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich history and natural wonders. Hikers can still traverse the trail, immersing themselves in the same landscapes that once witnessed the bustling activities of miners and loggers. The trail stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of human interaction with the land and the importance of preserving and appreciating our historical heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Sullivan Lake Campground: This is the starting point of the Sullivan Lake Trail. It offers parking facilities and camping options for hikers.

2. Hall Mountain Trailhead: Located approximately 3 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, this trailhead provides access to the Hall Mountain Trail, which intersects with the Sullivan Lake Trail.

3. Salmo-Priest Wilderness Boundary: Around 6 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, this access point marks the entrance to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness area, where the Sullivan Lake Trail continues.

4. Salmo Mountain Trailhead: Situated approximately 10 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, this trailhead offers an alternative starting point for hikers who want to join the Sullivan Lake Trail from a different location.

5. Salmo Mountain Lookout: About 12 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, this lookout point provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area and serves as a popular stopping point for hikers.

6. Salmo Pass: Located around 15 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, Salmo Pass is a high mountain pass that marks a significant point along the Sullivan Lake Trail.

7. Salmo Lake: Situated approximately 20 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, Salmo Lake is a picturesque alpine lake that serves as a scenic destination for hikers.

8. Salmo River: Around 25 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, the Sullivan Lake Trail crosses the Salmo River, providing a refreshing spot for hikers to rest and enjoy the water.

9. Salmo Mountain: Situated approximately 30 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, Salmo Mountain is a prominent peak that offers breathtaking views and serves as a notable landmark along the trail.

10. Salmo Mountain Trail Junction: Around 35 miles from the Sullivan Lake Campground, this junction marks the end of the Sullivan Lake Trail and connects hikers to other trails in the area, such as the Salmo-Priest Loop Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Sullivan Lake Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Sullivan Lake Trail.
2. Sullivan Lake Taxi – Taxi service available for convenient transportation to Sullivan Lake Trail.
3. Sullivan Lake Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering bicycles for exploring Sullivan Lake Trail.
4. Sullivan Lake Trail Bus – Bus service with routes connecting to Sullivan Lake Trail for easy access.
5. Sullivan Lake Trail Carpool – Carpooling service for sharing rides to Sullivan Lake Trail with fellow hikers.


The amenities available at the Sullivan Lake Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead where visitors can park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may offer designated camping sites or campgrounds where visitors can set up their tents or park their RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or have a picnic with family and friends.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead may have additional amenities such as information boards, maps, benches, or shelters for visitors to use.

6. Interpretive Signs: There may be interpretive signs along the trail providing information about the local flora, fauna, history, or geology.

7. Fishing Spots: If the trail passes by a lake or river, there might be designated fishing spots where visitors can try their luck at catching fish.

8. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The trail may have designated areas or viewpoints where visitors can observe and appreciate the local wildlife.

9. Accessibility Features: Depending on the trail’s accessibility, there may be amenities such as accessible parking, restrooms, or trails for people with disabilities.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Sullivan Lake Campground – A scenic campground located near Sullivan Lake Trail, offering tent and RV sites.
2. Sullivan Lake Resort – A lakeside resort providing cabins, RV sites, and amenities for a comfortable stay.
3. Sullivan Lake Lodge – A rustic lodge offering cozy accommodations and beautiful lake views.
4. Sullivan Lake Store – A convenient store providing groceries, snacks, and camping supplies.
5. Sullivan Lake Trailhead – The starting point of the Sullivan Lake Trail, offering parking and trail information.
6. Sullivan Lake Picnic Area – A designated area with picnic tables and grills for enjoying meals amidst nature.
7. Sullivan Lake Boat Launch – A public boat launch for easy access to the lake for boating and fishing.
8. Sullivan Lake Ranger Station – A resourceful station providing information, permits, and emergency services for visitors.

Sullivan Lake Trail Difficulty Notes

The Sullivan Lake Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail is approximately 8 miles long and features a mix of flat sections and gradual inclines, making it suitable for hikers of varying fitness levels. While there are some rocky and uneven sections along the trail, it is generally well-maintained and easy to follow. Hikers can expect to encounter some elevation gain, but it is not overly strenuous. Overall, the Sullivan Lake Trail provides a rewarding and enjoyable hiking experience without being overly challenging.

Features And Attractions

The Sullivan Lake Trail is located in the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington state. While the trail itself is known for its scenic beauty, there are several notable attractions and landmarks along the way. Here are some of them:

1. Sullivan Lake: The trail starts at Sullivan Lake, a stunning alpine lake surrounded by mountains and forests. The lake offers beautiful views and opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.

2. Salmo-Priest Wilderness: As you hike along the trail, you’ll enter the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, a designated wilderness area known for its pristine landscapes and diverse wildlife. This area offers a true backcountry experience.

3. Granite Pass: Located at an elevation of around 6,000 feet, Granite Pass offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s a great spot to take a break and soak in the scenery.

4. Hall Mountain: The trail passes near Hall Mountain, which is known for its wildflowers and wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, elk, and various bird species as you hike through this area.

5. Historical Logging Sites: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of old logging camps and equipment. These sites offer a glimpse into the region’s logging history and provide interesting photo opportunities.

6. Old Growth Forests: The Sullivan Lake Trail passes through sections of old-growth forests, where you can marvel at towering trees and lush vegetation. These ancient forests are home to a variety of plant and animal species.

7. Waterfalls: While not directly on the trail, there are several beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity that are worth a visit. Examples include Big Creek Falls and Sullivan Falls, which can be accessed via short side trails.

8. Wildlife: The Sullivan Lake Trail is known for its abundant wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, elk, black bears, and various bird species. The area is also home to rare species like the Canada lynx and gray wolf.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions you can expect to encounter along the Sullivan Lake Trail. Remember to check trail conditions and regulations before embarking on your journey.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Sullivan Lake Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Please clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Camping is allowed only in designated camping areas along the trail.
4. Open fires are prohibited except in designated fire rings or grills.
5. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
6. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are not permitted on the trail.
7. Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians and follow posted speed limits.
8. Fishing is allowed in Sullivan Lake but requires a valid fishing license.
9. Swimming is allowed in designated areas only and at your own risk.
10. Please respect wildlife and do not feed or disturb them.
11. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
12. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hunting seasons.
13. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
14. Be aware of and follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Sullivan Lake Trail, located in the beautiful Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington, offers a stunning outdoor experience for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring, summer, and early fall seasons. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and lower chances of rain or snowfall. The trail is surrounded by lush greenery, wildflowers, and vibrant foliage, making it a picturesque destination for outdoor activities.

Springtime, particularly from April to June, is an excellent time to visit the Sullivan Lake Trail. The trail comes alive with the blooming of wildflowers, creating a colorful and enchanting atmosphere. The temperatures are usually mild, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit, making it ideal for hiking and exploring the surrounding areas. However, it is important to note that spring can also bring occasional rain showers, so it is advisable to pack appropriate rain gear.

Summer, from July to August, is another popular time to visit the Sullivan Lake Trail. The weather is generally warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit. This is the perfect time to enjoy a refreshing swim in Sullivan Lake or have a picnic by its shores. The trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests, and hikers can enjoy the abundance of wildlife and birdwatching opportunities.

It is important to be aware of seasonal closures when planning a visit to the Sullivan Lake Trail. During the winter months, typically from November to March, the trail may be inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. The area experiences cold temperatures, with snow-covered paths and icy conditions, making it unsafe for hiking. It is advisable to check with the Colville National Forest Service or local authorities for trail conditions and closures before planning a trip during these months.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Sullivan Lake Trail are during the spring, summer, and early fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the trail is surrounded by vibrant colors and natural beauty. However, it is important to be mindful of seasonal closures during the winter months when the trail may be inaccessible due to snowfall. Whether you are a nature lover, hiker, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Sullivan Lake Trail offers a memorable outdoor experience throughout the year.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail, allowing wheelchair users to easily access the trail.
3. Wide and Paved Trail: The trail is wide enough and paved, providing a smooth surface for wheelchair users to navigate.
4. Gradual Slopes: The trail has gentle slopes, making it easier for wheelchair users to traverse.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail, providing resting spots for wheelchair users.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signage includes Braille, allowing visually impaired individuals to access information.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options for wheelchair users.
9. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Water Fountain: A wheelchair-accessible water fountain is available along the trail for hydration needs.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Sullivan Lake Trail is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking gear and experience.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is located in a mountainous area where temperatures can drop rapidly and storms can occur.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 8 miles long, so plan accordingly and allow enough time to complete the hike.
4. Wildlife Awareness: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bears and mountain lions, and follow proper safety protocols if encountered.
5. Water Sources: Carry enough water for the duration of the hike, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
6. Navigation: Bring a map, compass, or GPS device to ensure you stay on the correct trail, as some sections may be less well-marked.
7. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail conditions and closures before embarking on the hike, as maintenance or weather-related issues may affect accessibility.
8. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance in case of emergencies.
9. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers in case of minor injuries.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Inform someone about your hiking plans, carry a fully charged cell phone, and be prepared for emergencies with extra food, clothing, and emergency shelter.
11. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing impact on the environment, and respecting wildlife and vegetation.
12. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting the trail, as it involves elevation gain and can be physically demanding.
13. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers, be respectful of other trail users, and follow any specific trail rules or regulations.
14. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as parts of the trail may be exposed.
15. Bug Protection: Use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes and other bugs, especially during warmer months.
16. Trail Closure: In case of extreme weather conditions or other emergencies, the trail may be temporarily closed, so check for any official closures or warnings before heading out.

Conservation Notes

The Sullivan Lake Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington, United States. In terms of conservation status, the trail is considered to be in good condition and well-maintained by the forest service. Efforts have been made to preserve the natural integrity of the trail and its surrounding environment.

The trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail, which signifies its importance for outdoor recreation and its contribution to the conservation of natural resources. The forest service has implemented various measures to protect the trail and its ecosystem. These include regular trail maintenance, erosion control, and the installation of signage to educate hikers about the importance of preserving the area’s natural features.

Additionally, the Sullivan Lake Trail is subject to regulations that aim to minimize human impact on the environment. These regulations include restrictions on camping and campfires, as well as guidelines for waste disposal. By adhering to these regulations, visitors can help ensure the long-term conservation of the trail and its surrounding habitat.

Overall, the conservation status of the Sullivan Lake Trail is considered to be favorable. The trail’s management and maintenance practices, along with the implementation of regulations, contribute to the preservation of its natural beauty and ecological balance. It is important for hikers and visitors to respect these conservation efforts and play an active role in protecting this valuable resource for future generations.

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