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Explore Mary Minerva McCroskey State Park In Idaho

Updated on March 25, 2017

It's time to explore!

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One of the multi-use trails in the park.
One of the multi-use trails in the park. | Source
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Hiking enthusiasts have ample reason to explore the trails north-central Idaho. From Moscow Mountain to St. Joe National Forest, this area offers a variety of places to go hiking. Mary Minerva McCroskey State Park is one prime location for hiking and other outdoor activities. Located approximately ten miles north of Potlatch, this park was donated to the state of Idaho in 1955 by Virgil T. McCroskey. He named the park after his mother, Mary Minerva, and worked tirelessly to maintain the park using his own funds and physical stamina until his death in 1970 at age 93. Mary Minerva was a pioneer woman who settled in the Palouse region. In addition to naming the park after her, Virgil dedicated the park to all pioneer women.

This 5300 acre park has much to offer anyone interested in a scenic drive, a hike, a horseback ride, mountain biking, camping, and driving all-terrain vehicles. Access to the park can be found on Highway 95 ten miles north of Potlatch, as well as via Farmington Road a few miles north of Farmington, Washington. Skyline Drive cuts through the entire park for eighteen miles. This is an unimproved road, however, and so it may be difficult or even inadvisable to drive on without a SUV or pickup. Skyline Drive is supposedly roughest near the entrance on the Washington side. Spectacular vistas and a peaceful natural setting are readily available to those who have the means to traverse this road. In addition, there are primitive camping sites and other facilities, including drinking water, accessible along Skyline Drive.

For those who would prefer not drive too far along Skyline Drive, two multi-use trails are accessible just over a mile after you enter the park off Highway 95. Parking can be found on the north side of Skyline Drive in a location designed for large vehicles to turn around. Here you have access to two multi-use trails. The trail to the south of Skyline Drive is three miles long one way. This trail is well-marked by wooden signposts informing you when you are .5, 1.0, 1.5., 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 miles from the parking area. It is wider than many traditional hiking trails, and this makes for a more comfortable traverse. It also gives you room, if hiking, to step out of the way if someone on an all-terrain vehicle is close behind you. This trail features fairly gradual ascents and descents in a quiet and inviting wooded setting.

The second trail accessible from this parking location ascends up the mountain until you reach a junction where you can take a right turn and walk up a former forest service road. This road offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding area, and, earlier in the summer, was home to many wild raspberry plants and beautiful wildflowers. In addition, I was told by a local hunter that black bears have been spotted on this particular section of trail because of the abundance of blueberry plants for them to eat. Other possible wildlife sightings include whitetail deer, elk, birds, and squirrels.

If you are planning to hike here during hunting season, however, it is recommended that you wear bright orange to alert local hunters of your presence. Whether you enjoy the park by driving along Skyline Drive, or camping, or setting foot on any of the 32 miles of multi-use trails in the park, rest assured that this destination is worth checking out by anyone who loves the great outdoors.

Calling all motorcyclists and anyone else who owns an ATV

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