St. Joe River
The St. Joe River, more famously known as the “shadowy St. Joe,” is one of the region’s finest for the whitewater, fishing, swimming, camping and hiking it offers. It flows from the high mountains into Lake Coeur d’Alene, with 60 miles of the river above Avery part of the National Wild and Scenic River system; about 30 miles of these upper stretches offer premier whitewater rafting or kayaking during the spring run-off season. The river is renowned as well among fly fishermen, and with literally dozens of parks and trails throughout the basin there is excellent camping, picnicking and hiking.
Parks, beaches and trails: Campgrounds along the river or in the basin are numerous, and many are free. The Shadowy St. Joe campground, 10 miles east of St. Maries, is one of the most popular, but many more stretch upstream. For hikers, there are dozens of choices as well.
Boating: Motorized boating is possible from Coeur d’Alene Lake upstream. There is a boat launch at the Shadowy St. Joe campground. Upstream, the action is whitewater during the spring season. There are at least three runs in the Class II-IV range, meaning they require advanced padding skills. River outfitters including ROW Adventures out of Coeur d’Alene offer guided trips.
Wildlife: North Idaho’s full complement of wildlife can be spotted along the St. Joe or within the basin. Big game including moose, elk, deer, bear and waterfowl of all types inhabit the basin, making it a prime region for hunters.
Fishing: Fishermen in the upper stretches are often after cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish, although other species include bull trout, rainbow and brook trout. The lower river to its confluence with Coeur d’Alene Lake has largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and other species.