Tour: Sandpoint Northwest
The Sandpoint Northwest tour takes visitors to the some of the finest, yet most undiscovered, natural areas in the state, surrounding the destinations of Priest River and Priest Lake.
From Sandpoint, you'll travel west on Highway 2 a little more than 20 miles following the scenic Pend d'Oreille River, to the town of Priest River. This is where the smaller Priest River tumbles down from the river valley, with stretches that include Class II-III whitewater as well as meandering flats ideal for canoeists. A good stop in town is the historic Beardmore Building, recently restored to its 1920s glory. A few miles west is the Albeni Falls Dam Visitor Center, offering fascinating tours several times daily in season.
North of Priest River, it is a little more than 25 miles to Priest Lake. This 19-mile-long lake nestled within the Selkirk Mountains is North Idaho's most pristine and undeveloped large lake. The Priest Lake State Park as well as multiple Forest Service parks, provide abundant camping, boating, swimming, fishing and beaches. There are literally dozens of hikes; the lakeshore Navigation Trail is outstanding. Just north of the main lake the trail continues along the 2.5-mile Thoroughfare which also provides an amazing backcountry cruise for boaters to the 7-mile-long Upper Priest Lake. History buffs will want to visit the small but excellent Priest Lake Museum, housed in a vintage 1930s cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
And golfers, bring your sticks; there are fine challenges at the Priest River Ranch Golf Course and Priest Lake Golf Course.