Located at Scenic Bay on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille, Bayview is a quiet little community that is home to several resorts and marinas. A favorite location for sailboat moorage, the bay is also home to several picturesque, float house communities which give the feel of an ocean-side resort to the area.
Bonners Ferry is located in the natural beauty of the Kootenai River Valley and surrounded by three forested mountain ranges and bountiful wildlife. Bonners Ferry was honored as “Idaho’s Most Friendly Community” in recent years. The International Gateway to Idaho, Bonners Ferry hosts visitors from around the world and is just a few miles south of the Canadian border.
The importance of the Old Mission of the Sacred Heart can’t be minimized. It’s story is interwoven into Idaho history. The mission served as a learning center and home for the Coeur d’Alene Indians, a stopover for westward settlers, a haven for the sick, a supply post and post office.
The Lake City, the sparkling jewel of the Gem State, is always a whirl of activity including art shows, festivals, concerts and outdoor fun. Coeur d’Alene is the county seat of Kootenai County and is the sixth largest city in the state. Located at the junction of Interstate 90 and U.S. 95, Coeur d’Alene is bound on the south by Lake Coeur d’Alene, known as one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, which extends 25 miles to the south and has 109 miles of shoreline.
At the mouth of the Coeur d’Alene River on the southeast end of Lake Coeur d’Alene, lies the picturesque town of Harrison where the old and the new are joined in perfect harmony. Once a landing for steamers, the community remains a port, but now pleasure boats tie up at the marina and cruise the clear waters. Visitors and residents can come to Harrison by lake or scenic highway. The 72-mile long “Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes” provides a beautiful paved hiking/biking experience along the edge of the lake and riverbank, right into the heart of this gem of a town.
The cities of Hayden and Hayden Lake both border the western shores of Hayden Lake. About 4,000 acres in size with 40 miles of shoreline, the lake hosts one full service marina and two public boat launches. Honeysuckle is a sandy beach with a roped swim area, dock, public change house and restrooms. Fishing and water sports are popular pastimes on the lake.
Kellogg is intersected by I-90 and lies just 11 miles west of Wallace. These two towns are the foundation of a collection of tough and ready communities that trace their genesis to the boom days of mining in Idaho.
The western gateway to North Idaho is an easy exit off I-90. Post Falls is known as Idaho’s River City. Forested hills to the south, winding Spokane River in the heart of town and prairie stretching north to the mountains provide a beautiful setting for this progressive town. Q’emiln Riverside Park, south of I-90 off Spokane Street, has picnic areas, a public boat launch and beach with life guards in summer months. Behind the park is some of the region’s best rock climbing, long scenic hiking trails and popular white water kayak training locations.
Located approximately 75 miles north of Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake offers a wealth of year-round recreational opportunities in one of the most pristine settings in the West. The lake system, accessible from Priest River via Highway 57, is 25 miles long. It actually consists of two lakes joined by a 2-mile, slow-moving river known as the Thoroughfare. The area boasts 80 miles of shoreline and many excellent accesses and beaches for swimming, picnics, and boating sports. Visitors are well accommodated with marina and vehicle service, boat rentals, and grocery/tackle shops.
The Kalispel Indians were the first inhabitants of the Pend Oreille River Valley. The Seneacquoteen historic marker on Highway 2, eight miles east of town, marks the Indian Campground and river crossing where the old Indian Trail to British Columbia joined the wagon road from Walla Walla, Washington.
Just 10 minutes north of Post Falls off Hwy 41, Rathdrum offers small-town living at its best. Originally named Westwood, it was the county seat at the turn of the last century, with the railroad depot as the heart of the community. Idaho’s oldest brick church, the St. Stanislaus Kostka Mission, is located in Rathdrum and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rathdrum is anchored on the edge of the Rathdrum Prairie in the shadow of beautiful Rathdrum Peak.
Just 40 minutes north of Coeur d’Alene on the northwestern shore of Lake Pend Oreille sits Sandpoint, an eclectic city offering cultural and recreational opportunities year round. Lake Pend Oreille is more than 43 miles long and six miles wide with depths of more than 1,200 feet. On its southeastern end, huge cliffs plummet to the water’s edge. To the northwest are the rugged Selkirk Mountains, home of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Schweitzer is famous for superb ski conditions, top-notch facilities and multi-seasonal activities and events.
A rediscovered vacation site located on State Highway 41, Spirit Lake is 10 miles north of Rathdrum and within easy driving distance of Coeur d’Alene and Spokane. Spirit Lake has 12 miles of shoreline, is 4.5 miles long, one mile wide and 100 feet at its deepest. Spirit Lake is the highest of all small lakes in the Inland Empire with an elevation of 2,400 feet and is home to an abundance of spectacular lakefront views with the majestic Selkirk Mountains to the west and north. The town has a city park with public beach, boat ramp and dock.
St. Maries (pronounced St. Marys) developed as a steamboat stop and major distribution center for raw logs at the junction of the St. Maries and St. Joe rivers. Boats maneuvering large brailles of logs to sawmills can still be seen moving along the St. Joe River which is the highest navigable river in the world, and boasts blue ribbon trout fishing.
In 1860, the building of the Mullan Road brought rumors of gold in the area. Twenty years later, Andrew J. Prichard discovered gold near the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. In 1884, silver was discovered in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. By 1890, Wallace became the hub of one of the richest mining districts in the world. Early days were rough and tumble and names such as Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane and Mollie b’Damm were present near the county seat located at Murray. The entire city of Wallace is listed on the national historic register.
The fertile farmlands of the Worley-Plummer region, 25 miles south of Coeur d’Alene on U.S. Highway 95, wrap around some incredible new developments on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Resort and Casino, with a world class 18-hole public golf course, Circling Raven, has created jobs and prosperity for these small rural communities.