• Photographed by Tom Holman

Welcome to North Idaho

Whether you’re looking for lodging, planning a day trip, or seeking a new adventure, come here to go North Idaho! Go skiing or snowmobiling on 400 miles of trail around Priest Lake. Get that tent out and go camping in Kootenai County under the stars that shine as brightly as the garnets and silver we pull from our mines. Put a boat out on the waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene, or dip a toe into Priest River. Hike and bike the trails all around our famous panhandle, or just sit back and enjoy the majestic view. A vacation in North Idaho is a jumping off point. Come here to go!

Enjoy the Abundance of North Idaho

Where is here? Is it called the Panhandle or North Idaho? That’s not so clear. Unquestionably clear is the water in Lake Coeur d’Alene or Pend Orielle. Amazingly clear is the air that creates spectacular views to and from our highest peaks of the Selkirk mountain range and down to the depths of Hell’s Canyon and Post Falls. North Idaho abounds in natural resources and riches…and history, including the most productive silver mine in the country. And there are so many more riches waiting for you to discover in North Idaho.

Explore the past in the present

In North Idaho’s rugged past miners and loggers have blazed the trails, and you can follow in their footsteps on sneakers, snowshoes, skies or snowmobiles trails (those really are old logging and mining roads). North Idaho is a place to explore and you can do it from the saddle, from the air, or from the seat of your car.

Vacation in North Idaho

On your vacation in North Idaho go to town in Coeur d’Alene or Sandpoint to shop at a white-glove jewelry store or goldsmith. Then get out of dodge and get your hands dirty at an authentic 1880s gold mine. Learn old skills at a Mountain Man Rendezvous or a Paul Bunyan logging festival. Or sit back and watch a rodeo or a powwow. Lodge in a swank resort or camp out under the stars. Go for a run in a scenic marathon, go for a hike up Tubbs Hill. Eat huckleberries along the way or go out for wild game and fresh fish, or a chuck wagon dinner. How many places can boast of a golf course with a floating green? Whatever you decide, this site will help you plan your vacation to North Idaho, and it will be a great ride. After all you’ve come to the right place to get out and go.

Go fast, or go slow. Go at your own speed. Go North Idaho! It will be a trip you’ll treasure!

Why North Idaho?

According to an article in Vogue Magazine it is one of the 10 Hottest Travel Destinations in the world….yes in the WORLD and Idaho was the ONLY state in America to make the list.

And, this isn't the first time Idaho has been on top of some pretty impressive lists over the past 10 years. Idaho was listed as one of The 25 Best Places To Retire by Forbes

Read More: Idaho is The Only State in U.S. to Make World's Top 10 Destination Spots by Vogue

 

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One of the most enjoyable methods of viewing the eagles is in the fall when the Kokanee Salmon spawn in the streams emptying into the lake. The eagles gather in the trees at the mouth of the streams and feed heavily on the dying salmon as they come to the surface after completing their lifecycle.

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Go Huckleberry Picking

“Purple gold” can be found in the mountains of Idaho during the late summer. That is the time huckleberries ripen. This small round fruit, which grows on shrubs two to six feet tall, is a delicious treat not only for humans but for bears as well.
Fourth-grade students from Southside Elementary in Bonner County proposed the idea for a state fruit. The huckleberry, Vaccinium membranaceum,  was adopted as Idaho’s state fruit on February 14, 2000. Several huckleberry species are native to Idaho, all belonging to genus Vaccinium section Myrtillus.
The most common and popular is the black or thin-leaved huckleberry. Plants grow slowly, taking up to 15 years to reach full maturity. Black huckleberries produce single plump, dark purple berries in the axils of leaves on new shoots. They depend on an insulating cover of snow for survival during winter and have not been successfully grown commercially. Black huckleberries grow at elevations between 2,000 and 11,000 feet with many productive colonies between 4,000 and 6,000 feet. Black huckleberries usually grow from 1 to 6 feet tall and produce berries up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Huckleberries are a favorite food of bears so be careful while picking berries.

There is no fee required for recreational picking of berries,  or collecting other plant material like beargrass, but some areas may have special restrictions in place.  There may be limits on the amount that you collect.  It is always best to check with the local Ranger District or Supervisor's Office before gathering or collecting items from the Forest.

Commercial gathering of huckleberries and commercial harvesting of mushrooms is NOT permitted on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Hot Spots for Huckleberry Picking:

Priest Lake

The Priest Lake area is known for its abundance of huckleberries with hundreds of trails to choose from. Many factors such as elevations, ripening seasons and climate contribute to a good berry site. The best berry picking is usually found along abandoned logging roads, and in old burns. The berry bushes found in these areas have a lot of sunlight and little competition for nutrients.
Click here for a map of the Priest Lake Huckleberry Corridors (provided by the USDA Forest Service) or stop by the Priest Lake Ranger District and get out and enjoy!

Schweitzer Mountain

an easy stroll to a great workout.  You can find yourself in old growth forests, wildflower filled mountainside meadows, or alongside bubbling streams.  Any way you go be ready to enjoy fantastic views and nature at it's finest.  

Stop at the Summer Activity Center before you head out and pick up a trail map and ask the staff about the best trails to find the huckleberries, and important safety information.

Huckleberry Shuttle: Starting Saturday, July 22, 2017 and lasting until the berries fade, join the Schweitzer Huckleberry Shuttle! Just show up with your own bucket and they’ll take you to a hot picking spot with very little hiking required. Total trip time lasts about 1½-2 hours.
The group will meet at the village bus stop at 9am on Saturdays but you must reserve your spot by Friday, the day before, at 4pm! Just call the Schweitzer Activity Center at 208-255-3081 to reserve your spot!
Cost is $5 per family and kids 12 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Happy picking!

Coeur d'Alene:

For a day trip, head up into the Coeur d’Alene National Forest via either Fernan Road or Blue Creek Road near Wolf Lodge. From these roads you can access some of the Forest Service roads that will take you up to where the berries grow fierce. The Coeur d’Alene mountains are especially known for their great quantity of berries. Just pick a hiking trail and follow it until you spot a berry bush! If you don’t see any, keep going up.

Bonners Ferry:
The Kaniksu National Forest is a great place for Huckleberry picking. It can be enjoyed as a solitary experience or as a group activity for the entire family. Click here for a map of the Bonners Ferry Huckleberry Corridors (provided by the USDA Forest Service) or stop by the Bonners Ferry Ranger District and get out and enjoy!
USDA Forest Service

Bonners Ferry Ranger District
6286 Main Street
Bonners Ferry, ID  83805
(208) 267-5561
www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/bonnersferry

St. Joe District
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests administers approximately 4,348,225 acres of Wilderness, which includes 5 wilderness areas. Most of the forest views are natural although there is also evidence of past logging activity and some developed areas closer to communities whick makes this an ideal area for huckleberries.There are many places where Huckleberries, when in season, are abundant. Occasionally, large game animals may be seen in their preferred habitat. Check out St. Gold Center - Marble Cr. Trail #251, this trail is part of the Marble Creek trail system. 

Be warned, North Idahoans are pretty tight-lipped about their favorite huckleberry picking spots, and Huckleberry aficionados return to their spot year after year. Some people can be downright territorial, as if they were the only people around to have discovered it and now it’s theirs. The truth huckleberries are usually quite abundant with plenty to go around.

There are also several Huckleberry Festivals in the region. Check the specific area chambers for specific dates and more information.

Priest Lake Huckleberry Festival
Usually held mid-July

PriestLake.org

Schweitzer Mountain Huckleberry Festival
schweitzer.com

Wallace Huckleberry/Heritage Festival
Usually held the 3rd weekend in August
wallaceidahochamber.com

 

 

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For a peek at the past, take a left on Reeder Creek road, just past the Nordman Lodge to see The Old Hagar Cabin (once a tool shed on the Hager Property at Bismark Meadows).  There are many local residents who are very active in preserving the past so one of the projects of the Museum was To preserve and move the small cabin to a place where people could see it. There are many artifacts around the cabin illustrating what was in use back in the 1800's    

The cabin was relocated by the museum to the Buena Vista Studio and Gallery at Nordman, operated by Tom and Arlina Holman. You'll find it worth the drive to see the many wonderful

Buena Vista StudioThe Buena Vista Studio
1840 Reeder Creek Rd.
Nordman, Idaho

Bonner County - North Lakes - Priest Lake

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