Just north of Murray, Idaho in Shoshone County lies one of the oldest cedar stands in the country, known as Settler’s Grove of Ancient Cedars. According to the US Forest Service, the oldest trees date back to the 1400s, though others estimate some of the trees as over 1000 years old. The drive to get there starts off easy enough, but ends on an unpaved one lane dirt road that ends in the parking lot at the trail head of Settler’s Grove.
We went exploring in Settler’s Grove for the first time last September. The day was perfect – overcast but warm. The temperature was in the 60’s. It was a dry day, but the humid promise of rain filled the air.
The wide, well maintained portion of the trail is only about a half mile long. We did wander a bit further, but decided to let our daughter wander a bit among the trees. The west fork of Eagle Creek runs along the trail, and there are several small bridges crossing over it.
The trees themselves are awe inspiring, many of them over five feet in diameter. The largest approach ten feet. While not terribly far off the beaten path, it feels like another world. The high canopy of the cedars combined with the more common pines and firs block out the sky and the world at large. The trickle of the creek adds to the atmosphere. The ground is soft, covered in the accumulated mulch of the forest. Our conversation was hushed as we wandered among the giant trees, enjoying the cool forest air. I always feel refreshed after spending time in the woods.
Settler’s Grove is great as a family destination and for more experienced hikers. The trail is fairly level for the first, most used section, but the track going beyond the main part of the grove continues for five miles with an elevation gain of 700 feet.
To get there:
From Coeur d’Alene, Idaho drive east on I-90 taking the Kingston Exit #43. After exiting, travel north on Forest Highway 9 (FH9) for 26 miles to Eagle. Turn left onto FR152 and travel northeast 1.3 miles to the junction. Take FR805 (left fork) 5.6 miles to the trailhead.
From Wallace, Idaho drive north 16.3 miles over Dobson Pass on FR456 to the junction with FH9. Travel east 1.8 miles on FH9 to the junction. Then turn right and follow Access #1 to the trailhead.