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11:31 PM

International Selkirk Loop

Explore the International Selkirk Loop, designated one of only 32 All-American Road National Scenic Byways in the U.S., and discover the wonderful surprises that await you around every corner!

SelkirkLoop-MapThis 280-mile scenic drive is a grand loop through the Selkirk Mountains that takes travelers across the border into Canada, and The rewards are rich for those that do. Nearly the entire Loop follows rivers and lakeshores, which historically were used for transportation, by native tribes, explorer David Thompson, gold seekers on the Wild Horse Trail, and early settlers. Today the scenic Loop’s lakes, rivers and trails are a vast uncrowded playground with a myriad of opportunities for year-round recreation, scenic beauty and unique cultures in charming and authentic small towns. The main Loop includes a ferry ride across Kootenay Lake – the longest free ferry ride on the continent.

Among other distinctions, The Loop is the only National Scenic Byway that crosses an international border; it is also designated as one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies.

More information:

4:05 PM

Bicycle Touring the Selkirk Loop

For the touring bicyclist that wants a fantastic multi-day road ride, the International Selkirk Loop, offers one of the premier rides in the West, as it takes riders through the beautiful Selkirk Mountains, across the border into Canada and back south through eastern Washington. In North Idaho, riders will travel through Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint and Priest River – any of which makes a good starting point for the ride.

SelkirkLoop-MapThe Loop’s main 280-mile route follows glacially carved river valleys without any major passes to climb as it contours along lake shorelines and historic waterways with charming small towns to stop and explore. The route includes a ferry ride across Kootenay Lake – the longest free ferry ride on the continent. For a comfortable pace with plenty of time for off-bike activities, allow 5-7 days for this beautiful ride.

The roadway is two lanes along most of the distance with shoulders adequate in many places and narrow in others. The difficulty rating for this ride is considered intermediate to challenging. Traffic is generally light, with the busiest time of year being July and August. Cycling in the shoulder seasons is fine; September to mid-October provides warm days, crisp nights and beautiful fall colors. Spring riding in late April through mid-June is beautiful with snow capped peaks, spring flowers and lush green fields, but has a higher chance of rain and blustery weather.

The International Selkirk Loop has a host of information tailored just for the touring bicyclist, including a Cyclist’s Guide with color route and elevation maps for the entire route, spiral bound and printed on weather resistant paper. Use the Loop’s website to plan your trip.

The Selkirk Loop is also the route for the annual WaCanId Ride, a five-day event ride held each September that is fully supported by Rotary Clubs in towns around the Loop. It is a fundraiser for the clubs – but a heck of a bargain for a supported ride with cyclists from around the country.

Among other distinctions, the Loop is the only National Scenic Byway that crosses an international border; it is also designated as one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies.

More information:
Selkirk Loop bicycling page
WaCanId Bike Ride

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Come bike the WaCanId bike ride!

The WaCanId is an annual Rotarian supported bicycle tour taking cyclists on paved roads encircling the Selkirk Mountains of Washington, Canada, and Idaho – hence the name WaCanId.

Our 6-day event covers 370 miles/595 kilometers and showcases the International Selkirk Loop’s spectacular scenery – majestic mountains, beautiful lakes, rivers and the world’s longest free scenic ferry. We also have the best SAG support of any ride – so if you need a lift, no problem. There will be a few climbs to challenge you, but it will be the scenery that will take your breath away:

  • Designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of the “Top 10 Scenic Destinations in the Northern Rockies”
  • Named “Best of the Roads” by Rand McNally Road Atlas
  • Named the “West’s Best Scenic Drive” by Sunset Magazine

For more information click here

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Vacation Guides/Maps

Many North Idaho communities produce annual visitor and travel guides, with detailed information on attractions, lodging, dining, travel and visitor amenities. Click to view these digital resources:

Boundary County, Idaho. A detailed map highlighting recreational options in the area. Click to open map»

Biking in Historic Silver Valley, Idaho. An online guide to the many bicycle ride options in Silver Valley. Click»

Historic Wallace Idaho. 48-page visitor guide for our historic mining town. Click to open guide»

International Selkirk Loop. Annual travel guide around the loop. Click to see guide»

North Idaho Centennial Trail. A map of this 24 mile long multi-use recreational trail which starts at the Idaho/Washington state line and ends at Higgins Point on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. Click to open map»

Priest Lake, Idaho. Annual visitor magazine by the Priest Lake Chamber. Priest Lake Visitor Guide»

Visit Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A travel guide highlighting activities in beautiful Coeur d’Alene. Click to open»

Visit Post Falls, Idaho. Get maps and the official Post Falls Activity Guide. Click to go there»

Visit Sandpoint, Idaho. Visitor guide of the Greater Sandpoint Chamber. Click to read guide»


Visit Idaho Adventure Guide. The official state visitor guide features activities, maps, and lodging information for the entire state, including North Idaho. (Published by the Idaho Department of Commerce). Go to Visit Idaho Adventure Guide»

Check out two recent maps published by the Idaho B & B Association, in partnership with the North Idaho B & B Association, featuring an Idaho Bike Map and an Idaho Beverage Map.

4:39 AM

Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway

Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway map

The Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway, part of the International Selkirk Loop, starts on the northwestern shores of Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint. Heading north along the eastern side of the Selkirk Mountains the roadway follows the Kootenai Tribe’s historic path to fishing grounds at Lake Pend Oreille. In 1808 the first white explorer David Thompson also utilized this trail. The “Wild Horse Trail” became more than a path in 1863, when gold was discovered in “Wild Horse Creek,” 120 miles to the north of Bonners Ferry in British Columbia. There was a large movement of men and pack animals along the trail until the gold rush ceased around 1880. Upon arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad to this region, David Thompson’s old route became a main freight line for the railroad.

Just south of Bonners Ferry, a stunning wide glacial valley comes into view. Carved by massive glaciers during the last Ice Age, the rich soil deposits left behind as the glaciers receded formed fertile lands which even today support a wide variety of agriculture throughout the Kootenai Valley.

Details: Length is 59.2 miles, allow 1.5 hours

More information
Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway (Visit Idaho)

4:06 AM

Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage

Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage-

The Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage begins at the Washington state line and follows the northern shore of the Pend Oreille River through Oldtown, Priest River, and ends in Sandpoint. This byway is the southern leg of the International Selkirk Loop, which extends into Washington on the west and heads into British Columbia on the Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway from Sandpoint on the east.

Enjoy driving along miles of soothing river scenery that reflects the pastoral beauty of surrounding forests and farms. Pull over and be entertained by varying seasonal wildlife, birds of prey, and waterfowl; or stop and absorb the history of northern Idaho in three different museums along the byway. This history extends back to the ice age and the Great Missoula Floods. Convenient access to the Pend Oreille River at four recreation areas provides opportunities to swim or boat along spacious, gently flowing waters. Winter recreation includes snow sports on state and federal lands, ice fishing when it is cold enough, and downhill skiing at Schweitzer.

Details: Length is 28.5 miles, allow 40 minutes

More information
Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage (Visit Idaho)

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Getting Here

By plane, train or automobile… we’re easy to get to!

By car. Major routes to North Idaho are Interstate 90 for east-west travelers, and U.S. Highway 95 for north-south travel. Additionally, U.S. Highway 2 provides a very scenic east-west route in, particularly for travelers from Glacier National Park. From Canada, Canadian drivers cross in at Kingsgate/Eastport on Highway 95 or Porthill/Rykerts on Highway 21 onto Idaho Highway 1.
Click to get directions from Google Maps»

By plane. Spokane International Airport 35 miles east is the major hub for commercial air travel, with service by Alaska, Frontier, Southwest, United, Delta and other major carriers. Most major rental car companies operate from this airport. For private or charter aircraft, many communities have excellent airport facilities, including Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry.

By train. Amtrak’s Empire Builder route arrives and departs daily at Sandpoint’s historic railroad depot – the only Amtrak stop in the state of Idaho. For those arriving by train, a number of car rental services are available in Sandpoint. For more information, call Amtrak toll-free at 1-800-872-7245, or go to the Amtrak website. To connect to Sandpoint rental companies, see the directory at

By bus. Bus service into northern Idaho is spotty at best, but once arrived there are a number of bus services within the region. The CityLink bus out of Coeur d’Alene provides rides to regional destinations around the city, to Post Falls and Hayden, as well as routes to the south; in Sandpoint the SPOT bus provides local rides as well.

From or to Canada. If you are planning to travel out of or into North Idaho from Canada, passports are now required. There are two ports of entry, at Porthill and Eastport. For up to date information to help your border crossing, go to the International Selkirk Loop for information.

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About NITA

nita-logoThe North Idaho Tourism Alliance, most often known as NITA, is devoted to getting the word out about the incredible visitor experiences possible in the five counties of northern Idaho. As a collaboration between the visitor bureaus and chambers of commerce of northern Idaho’s principal communities, NITA seeks to publicize and market North Idaho as a travel and convention destination, with a primary focus of promoting overnight visitation in the region.

NITA membership consists of 12 organizations including chambers representing the communities of Bonners Ferry, Coeur d’Alene, Harrison, Hayden, Post Falls, Priest Lake, Priest River, Sandpoint, Silver Valley, Spirit Lake, St. Maries, and Wallace. In addition, regional non-profit members include the International Selkirk Loop.

To reach us: Please click to our Contact page»

NITA Board Chair
Stephanie Sims
International Selkirk Loop

NITA Board Vice Chair
Colleen Rosson
Silver Valley Chamber of Commerce

NITA Board Secretary/Treasurer
Amanda Reinhardt
Harrison Chamber of Commerce

NITA Board Past Chair
Eileen Kain
Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce

NITA Executive Director
Ricia Lasso

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Priest River, Idaho

Priest River is one of Idaho’s best-kept secrets. Centrally located in a recreation paradise, nestled in the Selkirk Mountain Range, it is bordered by the Priest River on the east and the Pend Oreille River on the south.

RV parks and campgrounds, recreational rentals, skiing, golfing, fishing, boating, hunting and many other attractions and activities are within easy reach. World-class fishing can be had at many area lakes, both large and small. Hikers enjoy taking the trail up Gisborne Mountain for views and possible wildlife spotting from the lookout at the Priest River Experimental Forest. Huckleberry and mushroom pickers can have their choice of bounty depending on the season. Priest River is a stop on the Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage Scenic Byway, and part of the International Selkirk Loop.

More information
Priest River Chamber of Commerce website