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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

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Pend Oreille Scenic Byway (Visit Idaho)

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

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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

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Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage (Visit Idaho)

10:38 PM

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