Get away and immerse yourself in rugged mountain scenery, abundant water recreation opportunities, and laid-back Pacific Northwestern culture on the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway in Idaho. The byway spends its entire length alongside pristine and scenic bodies of water, inviting you to relax on their beaches or plunge beneath their cool surfaces. Witness the effects of the biggest of the ice age floods that shaped the continent during your thirty-three-mile drive.
The centerpiece of the byway is stately Lake Pend Oreille, the fifth-deepest lake in the nation. The lake is so deep, in fact, that the US Navy uses it as a submarine base. Pend Oreille's depth isn't its only impressive dimension. An intrepid kayaker needs a week-long respite to paddle around its 111 miles of coastline. As you drive the byway, notice the massive mountain ranges that seem to extend directly from the lake's surface. Glaciers, flooding, and the ancient inland lake, Lake Missoula, carved captivating geographic formations in the area. Bring along your camera and let these astounding feats of nature inspire you.
Your trip down the byway takes you through a variety of quaint lakeside towns. The largest of these is Sandpoint, the main hub of activity near the byway. While compact in size, this city packs in outstanding dining and shopping opportunities. As you stroll through the culturally rich downtown area, stop in at the eclectic shops, art galleries, and antique shops for that perfect souvenir. More communities dot the rugged and fertile land along the byway, including Hope, Trestle Creek, and Clark Fork, the latter of which resides along the river of the same name. Most area towns offer a boat ramp and beaches for frequent and quick getaways to the lake or the river.
While the byway offers easy access to sailing, kayaking, rafting, swimming, and power boating, your choice of activities is hardly limited to water sports. Flanked by water on its west side, Pend Oreille Scenic Byway skirts Kaniksu National Forest on its east side, which is home to its own assortment of attractions. Take your mountain bike or backpacking gear and get in touch with nature on the forest's diverse trail systems, or play a relaxing round of golf at one of several local courses. In the winter visit Schweitzer Mountain, the biggest ski and snowboard area around, or seek out some of the area's pristine mountain terrain for a secluded cross-country skiing trip or exhilarating snowmobile ride.
With its breathtaking scenery and recreation opportunities, Pend Oreille Scenic Byway excels both as a refreshing afternoon drive and a getaway for several weeks' worth of fun. Whether you spend your trip taking in the galleries and live entertainment, camping in the wilderness, or just relaxing on the beach or a houseboat, plan on an unforgettable and rejuvenating experience.
- Copyright © October 1999 Midas Management.
- Copyright © 2002 Pend Oreille Scenic Byway.
- Copyright © May 1999 Midas Management.