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9:34 PM

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s biggest, at 43 miles long with 111 miles of shoreline. It’s also the deepest (at 1,158 feet deep, there are only four deeper lakes in the nation). Dug out by Ice Age glaciers and located amid three major frontal ranges of the northern Rocky Mountains, it has natural splendor galore to go with a fascinating human and natural history.

Parks, beaches and trails: Lake Pend Oreille has plenty of parks, boat launches, picnic sites and other attractions and facilities. Major parks are Farragut State Park, at the very southern tip of the lake; Whiskey Rock, a Forest Service fee-free campground on the fairly inaccessible southeastern shore; Garfield Bay, a county park and campground; Springy Point, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; City Beach, with excellent beaches, ball courts, playgrounds and more in downtown Sandpoint; Trestle Creek, with a boat ramp, beach and picnic facilities; and Sam Owen Campground and Park, a wonderful 65-acre site on the Hope Peninsula. And there  are others, as well!

Boating: There are many boat launches around the lake, and in Sandpoint, Bayview and Hope a number of companies offer rentals of watercraft ranging from jet skis and ski boats to pontoon boats to sailboats and kayaks. There are a number of major marinas around the lake with fuel docks, food and services.

Wildlife: The lake has a very active and visible population of ospreys, the magnificent fish hawks that can be seen diving into the lake to catch fish. Bald eagles are common, and wildlife from moose and deer and bear to spawning kokanee salmon can be spotted around the lake. Seasonally, migrating waterfowl including swans, geese and ducks are common in many areas of the lake.

Fishing: Lake Pend Oreilel is known for its kamloops (a species of giant rainbow trout), mackinaw and kokanee salmon. Kamloops and mackinaw exceeding 20 pounds are not unusual in the lake, which has seen its fishery rebound in recent years. But many other fishing challenges await the angler, from bass in the sloughs to pike, walleye and various trout species.

More information
Info on activities and providers: Sandpoint Online lake guide
City parks: City of Sandpoint Department of Parks and Rec
State parks: Idaho Department of Parks and Rec
Fishing: Idaho Fish and Game recommended waters

12:53 AM

Lake Pend Oreille cruises

Offering a variety of excursions around magnificent Lake Pend Oreille in spring, summer and fall, Lake Pend Oreille Cruises provides a unique experience aboard its classic vessel, the Shawnodese.

Built in 1966 in San Diego as a ferry to Coronado Island, the 43-foot aluminum-hulled boat spent time on Lake Mead and on the San Francisco Bay before winding up in Idaho in dry dock for more than 10 years. After an extensive renovation finished with rich interior details in mahogany and all new running gear, Shawnodese launched anew in 1995 and now offers cruises departing from Sandpoint City Beach daily in summer, and from East Hope on weekends in spring and summer.

The scenery is gorgeous but during the 1.5-2 hour cruises guests also learn fascinating history and lore about the lake and its communities too. There are a variety of special cruises including include sunset, full moon, autumn colors and birds of prey tours. Reservations strongly encouraged.

More information:
208-255-LAKE (5253)

11:59 PM

Kayak Lake Pend Oreille

4:50 AM

Pend Oreille Scenic Byway

Pend Oreille Scenic Byway map

The Pend Oreille Scenic Byway offers travelers some of Idaho’s most spectacular water views. Beginning at the intersection with U.S. 95, Idaho 200 meanders eastward to the Montana state line across farmlands, through river deltas, and along the rocky northern shores of Lake Pend Oreille, all sculpted by the massive force of glaciers and the floodwaters of Glacial Lake Missoula. Pullouts along the byway allow visitors to stop and enjoy breathtaking vistas of mountainous horizons framing miles of open water.

Whether you are inclined to swim or fish, boat or golf, hunt or hike mountain trails, alpine ski or snowmobile, water ski or bird watch — each of the region’s distinctive four seasons offers an outstanding recreational opportunity for almost every person who enjoys the outdoors. Visitors can find varying accommodations from unimproved mountain campsites to maintained shoreline campgrounds to recreational vehicles parks along the water or choose from lakefront resorts or motels.

Details: Length: 33.4 miles, allow 1.5 hours

More information
Pend Oreille Scenic Byway (Visit Idaho)

12:57 AM

Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail

The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail is a wonderful, and newly opened, lakefront trail that stretches 1.5 miles from its trailhead a couple blocks north of City Beach, clear to the adjacent town of Ponderay. Still under development, the trail already makes one of the finest walks or bike rides from downtown Sandpoint, along a very flat and wooded track right along the lake with expansive views east to the Cabinet Mountains. It’s ideal for a stroll or jog or bike ride; there aren’t beaches but in summer the adventurous can find many spots to take a leap into the lake. In winter, the trail makes a fine cross-country ski or snowshoe.

Plans call for trail access in Ponderay in the future, with the goal of connecting communities. Learn more about the trail and the ongoing acquisition and development efforts at Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail website.

1:30 PM

Sandpoint: K&K Thanksgiving Fishing Derby

Those willing to brave the elements of big Lake Pend Oreille during Thanksgiving week often are rewarded with some of the best fishing of the year for the lake’s huge Kamloops trout. This week-long fall-fishing competition — staged annually by the Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club — adds some extra motivation, with big cash prizes for the biggest fish. If you don’t have a boat, the club will hook you up with one of the several charter fishing boats available. Get entry details and more at

12:44 PM

Sandpoint: Cancelled! 26th Annual Long Bridge Swim

This event has been cancelled!

Hundreds from around the region will challenge themselves and the one another in this 26th annual 1.76-mile swim across Lake Pend Oreille. One of the largest and oldest open-water events in the Northwest, the swim course parallels the pedestrian Long Bridge – allowing spectators and family of swimmers the rare opportunity to follow along with their swimmer. Register at The Long Bridge Swim  or call 208-265-2615 for more information


11:30 AM

Sandpoint: Annual K&K Spring Fishing Derby

Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club holds its annual spring fishing contest on Lake Pend Oreille, April 25 through May 3, 2020. Also attend the live auction at The Elks Golf Course at Sandpoint. Visit  for more information.

10:45 AM

Biking at Schweitzer

Biking at Schweitzer has something for everyone whether you’re a downhill junky, cross country fanatic or just looking for a fun outing on the mountain.

We offer over 20 miles of cross country fun. Start in our village and warm your legs up as you head out to Picnic Point to take in the sweeping views of the mountains and Lake Pend Oreille. From there, your options are wide open. For those looking for a downhill thrill, Schweitzer has many intermediate to expert options. All downhill trails begin at the top of the Great Escape Quad and descend 1700′ to the Schweitzer Village. Ready for more vertical? Use the Highpoint Trail to connect Schweitzer to the Selkirk Recreation District trail system for 4000 vertical feet of fun single track all the way to the valley.

For more info, visit the website or call 208.263.9555.

10:35 PM

Coeur d’Alene River

The Coeur d’Alene River extends up from Coeur d’Alene Lake east to Kingston, where it branches into the North Fork,  stretching almost to Lake Pend Oreille, and the South Fork that flows east from almost the Montana border. Flowing through historic mining areas of the Silver Valley past numerous communities, it is a superb recreational river for numerous pursuits, from easy whitewater to paddling and, particularly in upstream stretches, fishing.

Trails: Most significantly, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes offers remarkable bicycling and walking on a paved path near much of the rivercourse downstream from Mullan all the way to the big lake and beyond – 71 miles in total. For hikers, there is an embarrassment of riches in the drainage, with more than three dozen trails ranging from easy day hikes to strenuous backpacking. See the USFS Trails for more.

Camping: In the Coeur d’Alene River area most campgrounds open from May through September 30, with some winter camping available. The Forest Service maintains more than a dozen campgrounds, including RV camping, group camping and five cabin rentals.

Fishing: Brook, rainbow, cutthroat and west slope cutthroat trout are all commonly caught in the Coeur d’Alene; other species include chinook salmon (lower reaches), kokanee salmon and bull trout. Upstream of Yellow Dog Creek no bait fishing is allowed and barbless hooks are required. The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene is a renowned fly fishing destination, and several outfitters offer guided fly fishing trips.

More information
Bicycling: Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
Trails, camping and picnicking: Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Fishing: Idaho Fish and Game