The International Selkirk Loop follows glacially carved river valleys, lake shorelines and historic waterways. The roadway itself, a two-lane highway, has enough shoulder space for one of the most enjoyed roadway activities: road biking. With fairly light traffic, the busiest time of year being July and August, cycling the International Selkirk Loop in September to mid-October will provide you with warm days, crisp nights and beautiful fall colors. Enjoy beautiful snow-capped peaks, spring flowers, and lush green fields as you wind along the International Selkirk Loop.
When cycling the Washington leg of the Selkirk Loop route, consider taking the LeClerc Road, which parallels WA 20 on the east side of the Pend Oreille (pronounced pon-duh-ray) River. Access is at the state line between Idaho and Washington, just east of Newport, or south of Ione off of WA 31. This paved farm-to-market road allows you to have a safer ride with less traffic. Looking for another biking excursion? Just a few miles east of the Washington/Idaho border on the byway, look for ID 57 heading north to Priest Lake. This 25-mile side trip is definitely worth your time. Best views of the lake from the paved roadway are along the east shore with State Park Campgrounds and a few resorts. The west shore provides more services such as restaurants and resorts with limited views.
West of Sandpoint at Dover, pick up the paved bike path which will take you into the heart of Sandpoint if approaching from Priest River on Hwy 2. South of Sandpoint, if you are traveling northbound on US 95, pick up another paved bike path at Sagle, which will lead you to Sandpoint. An alternate route to US 95 is located seven miles south of Bonners Ferry. Turn off at Naples (west) onto Schoolhouse Road to Deep Creek Road, turn right (north) and follow for about seven miles. This route takes you along Deep Creek and through lovely farm valleys. The route brings you back to US 95, two miles south of downtown Bonners Ferry. This alternate will save you from climbing a long grade.
There are two International Border Crossings, so be sure to bring your passport. The route north of Creston, BC on Hwy 3A follows the shoreline of Kootenay Lake. It has limited services until you reach Crawford Bay where there are accommodations, an artisan colony, small cafés, and a general store at Gray Creek. The roadway received a new asphalt surface in 2009. Shoulders are narrow, but traffic is light with numerous turnouts.
Ride North America's longest free ferry across Kootenay Lake (45 minutes) and offload in Balfour. If time allows, turn north (right) at the "T" intersection immediately after offloading onto Hwy 31 which is the Selkirk Loop's North Kootenay Lake-Silvery Slocan Super Side Trip, a pristine ride with unparalleled scenery. Otherwise, turn left (south) at the "T" intersection and follow Hwy 3A and end your cycling get-away in Nelson, with a fun, hip, counter-culture downtown. There are lots of bed and breakfasts, fun boutique hotels, and a hostel, so set up camp and enjoy your biking tour just a little bit longer.
Want to travel the Loop as part of a fun ride? Join the byway for the annual WaCanId Ride in early October for a 340-mile fun ride through Washington, Idaho and Canada. The ride is sponsored by the byway and Rotary International.
Add the International Selkirk Loop’s six Super Side Trips for an additional 450 miles/725 kilometers of riding enjoyment! These scenic side trips go past wildlife refuges, through national forests and historic places, and will give you an up-close look at the beautiful scenery near the International Selkirk Loop.
The International Selkirk Loop has elevation maps specifically designed for cyclists, divided into manageable 50-to-70-mile segments. This ring-bound, water-resistant, 56-page booklet is a must-have for those considering cycling the Selkirk Loop. It includes the entire main route as well as every Super Side Trip. A preview of these maps can be found under "Activities," "Biking" on the Selkirk Loop's website.
Whether you’re looking for a short day ride or a week-long expedition, the International Selkirk Loop is the perfect place for anyone, from the novice cyclist to the most experienced "gear-head." Take the ride of your life on this byway! The pristine beauty and exhilarating routes will keep you coming back year after year.
- Public domain.
- Public domain.
- Public domain.