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 area is rich in hiking and mountain bike trails, and includes an eighteen-hole golf course.
A museum and visitors center on the western side of the lake houses interpretive historical displays pertaining to Priest Lake’s past and provides information on recreation. The center is located in a historic log cabin and is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. throughout the summer. The “Welcome to Priest Lake” sign was created by the 1999 International Chainsaw Champion, John Schulz.
Priest Lake has over 400 miles of groomed, marked and patrolled snowmobile trails and ample snowfall makes it a winter wonderland. Cross-country skiers enjoy over 70 kilometers of groomed trails throughout the area.
Priest Lake is home to 500 residents, except in the summer when the population increases to nearly 2,500. The shores of Priest Lake are home to some of the finest rustic, waterfront-reteat resorts in Idaho. Several art galleries and local crafts people add to the cultural flavor of the town. The historic Priest Lake Store has Idaho’s largest selection of huckleberry products.
For over thirty-five years the US Pacific Coast Championship Sled Dog Race has been held at Priest Lake in February. Each year 75 to 100 teams from around the country and as far away as Alaska and Canada gather on the west side of the lake for the competition. 509-447-5744 or www.iesda.org
In January and February join in the snowshoe volleyball and softball tournaments.
Hanna Flats Cedar Grove
The interpretive 1/4 mile nature trail through the Hanna Flats Cedar Grove takes you beneath immense trees that have survived generations of homesteading, logging, wind and fire. Hanna Flats Cedar Grove is located one mile west of the Priest Lake Ranger District headquarters, off Highway 57. Road signs near Mile Post 32 will direct you to the trailhead.