One of my favorite ways to explore a new city is to walk the streets, meandering from place to place letting my whims and the temptations on the horizon determine my path. My children do not share this lazy, indirect method of exploration, and so, for the most part, traveling with the kids is more of a scurry from point A to point B, do not pass go endeavor. Finding a way to entice the kids wander with me is a special treat, so when I read about The Mudgy and Millie Storybook Trail in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I was so excited about exploring the new city my way.
~Bronze Sculpture of Mudgy the Moose and Millie the Mouse~
Meet Mudgy and Millie
Mudgy and Millie are a moose and a mouse who call the shores of Coeur d’Alene home. These two lovable characters were created by acclaimed author Susan Nipp, who is best known for her Wee Sing collection. While hiking in the beautiful scenery of Coeur d’Alene, Nipp was inspired to create a storybook that would introduce children to the highlights of her hometown. Along with the beautifully illustrated storybook, sculptor Terry Lee created five life sized bronze sculptures that echo the story and invite visitors to hike along the Mudgy Moose Trail.
~A Charming Storybook by Susan Nipp~
Hiking the Mudgy Moose Trail through Coeur d’Alene
The 2 ¼ mile trail begins at the Tubbs Hill Trailhead, a forested peninsula that extends into picturesque Lake Coeur d’Alene. The trail is a popular one for locals and a perfect view of the natural beauty for which the city is known. It is also the setting of the beginning of Mudgy and Millie’s hide and seek adventure and the site of the first statue.
A short ½ mile walk along the waterfront leads to the Public Library and the site of the second statue. Near the library is a new and very impressive playground that was a big hit after the first part of the hike.
~Mudgy the Moose does downtown Coeur D'Alene~
At the midway point, the trail turns towards downtown Coeur d’Alene and takes a mini-tour through the quaint shops and restaurants of the area. Kids will certainly notice, and beg for a stop at Mrs. Honeypeeps Sweet Shop and Figpickles Toy Emporium on the way to see the third statue on the main strip.
~Mudgy the Moose lays down for a nap in the woods~
The walk from the third to the fourth statue is the longest stretch on the trail, because it traverses the longest floating boardwalk in the world that runs along the water in front of Coeur d’Alene. The boardwalk is ¾ of a mile and makes for a very scenic and iconic Coeur d’Alene view. At the end of the boardwalk, it is a short walk into the City Park that houses a giant wooden playscape and the fourth statue. Just a short walk from the park is Independence Point and the final Mudgy statue. Mudgy and Millie certainly have a gorgeous view from this peninsula in the park, and it’s worth a few moments to enjoy the view along with them.
~Map included in the book~
Things to Know about the Mudgy and Millie Trail
- The trail is 2 ¼ from start to finish, but it is not necessarily 5 miles roundtrip. The statues are actually fairly close to each other and once you reach the end, you can walk fairly easily back to the parking lot without too much whining.
- If the distance is too lengthy for little legs, you can easily cut out a mile of walking by skipping the floating boardwalk. Walk around (or through) the Coeur d’Alene resort instead of traversing the boardwalk and you will save some time.
- Parking is available in a city lot near the Trailhead, but we found the parking near Coeur d’Alene resort to be the most convenient for the roundtrip hike.
- Books can be purchased at the Visitors Center, Figpickles Toy Emporium, the Public Library, and Amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds of each sale goes to support the Public Library.
- Signs highlight the Mudgy Trail to keep you on track and stores that sell Mudgy gear bear a sticker on their store window.
~Signs point the way along the trail~
Planning a perfect day in Coeur d’Alene with Mudgy and Millie
The Mudgy and Millie story and trail are not only delightful for little ones, but it also the best way to spend the day in Coeur d’Alene. The trail hits the highlights of the icons of the city, and since it is centered on the lake and the resort, it is an ideal way to add a few extra activities to make it a full day.
Start the morning on the trail and enjoy the views from the Tubbs Hill. If you are an avid hiking family, you can hit the trails early enough to enjoy the three mile round trip hike around the hill or check out some of the secluded beaches along the lake. With a 9:00 am start, it is easy to hike the hill and reach downtown just before lunchtime. Do some shopping before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the restaurants around downtown. For kid friendly fare, Tito’s inside the Shoppes offers make your own pizza and pasta for kids. Another option is Bonsai’s, a pan Asian bistro with a Japanese garden and koi pond that kids love.
~The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk~
At the mid-point of the trail sits the Coeur d’Alene Resort, where not only can you traverse the world’s longest floating boardwalk, you will also be at the heart of water activity along the lake. Depending on the season and your interests, you can catch a scenic boat tour, rent a kayak or jet ski, take off on a seaplane, or relax on the beach. Any or all of these options are ideal for an afternoon of exploring the watery jewel of the city.
~City Park in Coeur D'Alene~
The fourth stops on the trail are set amidst the bucolic City Park that features a sprawling wooden playscape for the kids and is just steps away from the water sports dock. The Northern Idaho Museum is also nearby, if an indoor pursuit grabs your interest. The final stop sets out on Independence Point, and its unmistakable position on the lake is a perfect place to grab a souvenir picture.
~Gooey's Chocolate Decadence Sundae~
If you’ve really done the day up right, it will be close to dinner which can be enjoyed at Dockside inside the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Dockside has fantastic food with beautiful lake views, but they are known for their Gooey’s dessert bar, and specifically known for their ice cream sundaes that can only be described as decadent.
~Sunset over Lake Coeur D'Alene~
Another stroll-or waddle- along the floating boardwalk might be in order to work off some the calories from Gooey’s, as well as to catch the sunset melting over the mountains beyond the lake-the perfect close to a fulfilling day in Coeur d’Alene courtesy of Mudgy and Millie.
~I was a guest of the city and resort of Coeur D'Alene. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own~