Nestled on the North end of Sandpoint, the Mickinnick Trailhead is just off Woodland Drive. Take Highway 95 North and turn left toward Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Woodland Drive is a quarter mile past the railroad tracks. Turn left and cross the small bridge over Sand Creek. Follow the dirt road half a mile. This leads to the well established trailhead with plenty of parking on the right.
The Mickinnick trail is seven miles roundtrip and crosses meadows, ascends rock benches, and meanders through forest with filtered views east toward the Cabinet Mountains. The overall elevation gain is 2150’ from the parking area to the top. The views are spectacular. Lake Pend Orielle, the cities of Sandpoint and Ponderay, and Gold Hill are clearly visible. A fast hiker can make it up in 90 minutes to two hours but give yourself a rest at the second bench and catch the first good views after switch backing up the first 1000’. There are markers for each mile – the last being the 3 mile mark just as you drop down about 50’ toward the upper meadow. In the early summer you may have to negotiate mud and willows in this area. The last 200’ the view opens up as you work diagonally toward a large boulder outcropping and some of the best views in the area. The top is 4,300’ and you earn the views on this one so enjoy them.
In the winter, Mickinnick is a great snowshoe hike. The lower sections may require traction so be prepared if there’s been any melting. The footing can be treacherous early on. Expect lower temperatures and more snow as you ascend, keep in mind the adiabatic lapse rate and plan accordingly (3.5-5.5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1000’). This means layering, a shell, hat, gloves. This is a heavy use trail in the summer and fall but few people do the entire route in the winter so route-finding in the upper meadow can be tricky in heavy snow.