Hoodoo Canyon Trail

Hike Rating: Easy
Hike Length: 6.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Change: 850’
Trailhead Elevation: 2,920’
Best Season: May to September
Driving Access: Any vehicle

Plus Points
• A diverse hike, up through deep forest and down across granite benches to a small lake
• Wide views of granite outcrops and escarpments above a deeply-cut, glaciated canyon
• Thick forests of cedar and fir, with an understory of maple, ironwood and thimbleberry
• Wildflowers in spring, including buckhorn clarkia, larkspur, paintbrush, aster and yarrow
• An attractive hike destination at charming Emerald Lake, set below sheer granite cliffs

Minus Points
• Trail has an inconsistent grade — e.g., steep, then flat or down, then up steeply again
• Water levels in Emerald Lake fluctuate with the season, so may be low late in the year
• Mosquitoes can be bothersome, so be sure to pack insect repellent

Download (PDF, 901 KB): Photos of Hoodoo Canyon Trail
Download (PDF, 705 KB): Topo Map for Hoodoo Canyon Trail
Download (PDF, 718 KB): Road Map for Hoodoo Canyon Trail

Trail Notes
Map of the Hoodoo Canyon Trail
From the sign board at the trailhead parking area, the trail descends for the first 250 yards to Deadman Creek, which is crossed on a sturdy log bridge. Past the creek, the trail goes through a stile in a wire fence, then climbs a long series of switchbacks up the west flank of the forested mountain. The trees are thick and diverse, predominately fir and cedar with occasional copses of alder, plus a pleasant well-developed understory. At intervals, the trail passes under and around grey granite cliffs, some rising 50'-100' above the trail.

At 1.8 miles, in a small saddle thick with maple, the trail crosses over the crest of the ridge and begins its descent east down into Hoodoo Canyon. About 250 yards past the saddle crest, a wide granite bench opens on the right (west), providing a spectacular viewpoint within 25 yards of the trail. The views are mainly southwest to the granite outcrops and ledges across the canyon on Coyote Mountain, but also deep into the canyon below, to the ponds and marshes on the valley floor.

From the overlook, the trail continues its descent eastward across granite benches toward Emerald Lake. At 2.4 miles, at an unsigned junction, the trail intersects the trail coming in from Trout Lake to the east, and one takes the downhill fork toward the canyon bottom. After a series of long switchbacks down the steep hillside, at 3.1 miles one arrives on the shore of picturesque Emerald Lake. Later in the season, when the water level is low, one can wander around the rim of this small, elongated lake and find a nice lunch and rest spot.

Road to Trailhead
From Hwy 395, about 6 miles north of Kettle Falls and 200 yards south of the Kettle River Campground turnoff, turn west onto Deadman Creek Road (eventually Forest Road 9565). Follow this road for 8.6 miles, bearing left on the main gravel road at each unsigned junction. Look for a wide grass meadow on the south side of Road 9565 and the trailhead sign and parking area in the meadow.

Coming from the west on Hwy 20, turn (left) north on Albian Hill Road (Road 2030) at a sweeping horseshoe bend, 4.1 miles east of Sherman Pass. Drive for 3.8 miles north on Road 2030 to its junction with Forest Road 9565 (South Fork Deadman Creek Road) on the right (east). Follow Road 9565 downhill to the east for 8.8 miles to the wide grass meadow and trailhead on the right (south). Though rough in spots, Deadman Creek Road is suitable for any passenger car.

Camping Options
To the east down Deadman Canyon, the nearest developed camping area is the National Park Service's Kettle River Campground, set amid ponderosa pines on a narrow arm of Roosevelt Lake, just off Hwy 395 about 6 miles north of Kettle Falls, WA. There are 13 first-come, first-served campsites here, each with a picnic table and fire grill, which will accommodate any camping setup from large travel trailers to tents. Two vault toilets are available, but no drinking water. Camping fees were $18.00 per night in 2016.

To the west up Deadman Canyon, the USFS Sherman Overlook Campground on Highway 20 just east Sherman Pass has been closed for the 2013-16 seasons, due to hazard trees. However, developed campsites are found nearby to the north on the Albian Hill Road (Forest Road 2030) at the Jungle Hill and Wapaloosie Trailheads. Both of these sites have a vault toilet, but no drinking water and no camping fees.

Finally, for those campers entirely self-contained with their own water and sanitation, a few dispersed campsites are found along Deadman Creek Road (Forest Road 9565) within 2 miles east of the trailhead, on USFS lands along Deadman Creek. There's also plenty of room for dispersed camping right in the trailhead meadow and parking area, but not much privacy to be found.

Agency Contact: Colville National Forest, Kettle Falls District, (509) 738-7700

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but the authors do not guarantee that it is either current or correct. The reader assumes full responsibility for any use of this information, and is encouraged to contact local public land agencies to inquire about current conditions before traveling.

Page last updated: 2/1/17