That’s what the sign says entering town. With great qualities, Sandpoint
has been the darling of national media for years, being named “The West’s
Best Small Town,” and among “America’s Top Dream Towns.” It is quaint,
with historic buildings and clean streets. There are many fine place to
eat, and shops abound. Year-round there are many, many events that add to
the ambiance, and sports and outdoors activities are part and parcel to
daily life. It doesn’t require a car to see it all; you can walk the
entire town in about a half day. A good idea is to take in the shops in a
leisurely fashion in the cool of the morning, picking a place to dine at
lunch, and finishing the rest in the afternoon. However, if you wanted to,
you could power walk the majority of the sites in about an hour. To check
out one of those hour-long walks, check out this
Walking Pic Tour
Flash Video Montage.
SkiSchweitzer.net Okay, first
Schweitzer is the Pacific NW’s favorite resort according to OntheSnow.com.
This year, Schweitzer was named to Skiing Magazine’s Top 25 Ski Resorts, and
the list is long. With the exception of Lake Tahoe, there are very few
places in the west where you can lounge on the side of a mountain, and look
over one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Even when temperatures
soar in Sandpoint and the surrounding valleys, it is cool on the mountain.
Schweitzer mountain biking is so hip that the NORBA Nationals have been held
there. It is nice that the condos are more affordable than during ski
season, and the ride down to activities on Lake Pend Oreille and in
Sandpoint is short. Try Frisbee golf, or ride horses, or just take in the
While Silver Mountain is one of the many really great ski resorts that the
Inland Northwest offers, it has something none of the others has: an indoor
water park. Like other resorts, summers on the mountain have scenic gondola
rides, mountain biking, and more. But let’s get serious, it has an indoor
27843 N. Hwy 95, Athol. 208-683-3400 Ext. 3
The Northwest's largest theme park featuring Tremors, a 60-mile-per-hour,
screaming underground roller coaster, plus its equally twisted cousins
Timber Terror and the Corkscrew. If you are looking for something even more
daring, you can take on Panic Plunge, the 140-foot drop from the top of the
tower. Ride a vintage steam train, challenge a gigantic wave pool and
waterslides or enjoy dazzling live entertainment and magic shows. Over 60
rides, shows, and attractions.
North Idaho is a train watching mecca, bringing thousands of tourists every
year. Because we have so many rail lines, this is a natural. Sandpoint is
still a major rail hub with dozens and dozens of trains rumbling through
daily, plus two that make it even more special: the vintage 1950s passenger
train Montana Daylight, and the Amtrak Empire Builder putting in at the
vintage Sand Creek Train Depot.
You'll rediscover the comforts and pampering of quality rail travel. In
order to visit some of the area's most important attractions and national
treasures, access by comfortable motorcoaches is the best approach. These
rails are designed to combine both modes of travel on various days to allow
you to see these natural wonders all during daylight hours. Deluxe
motorcoaching tours of the parks are the perfect complement to your rail
1871 Frederick Post made a deal with the Coeur d'Alene Indian leader, Andrew
Seltice, to obtain 200 acres of the Spokane River. They recorded this
cession of land on a prominent rock adjacent to the Post Falls. Treaty Rock
Park is a 4-acre site which is located near Seltice Way on Compton St.
877-770-PLAY www.3play.com In
an area that has beaucoup snow much of the year, this is a cool place in
winter, but even better in summertime. There is bowling, two miniature golf
courses, go karts, laser tag, bumper boats, an arcade, a climbing wall,
food, and Raptor Reef Indoor Water Park. Cool.
Here is the
skinny on our greatest body of water, Lake Pend Oreille: 43 miles long, 111
miles of shoreline, 2nd largest fresh water lake in the West, and
largest in Idaho, plus fifth-deepest lake in the nation at 1,158 feet.
The Lower Priest River
Priest River is great for a leisurely day of floating down the river. Fill
the inner-tube or inflatable or break out the kayak, and take the lower
Priest River for a long 8 mile float over easy to handle rapids and riffles.
About a six-hour journey, the river meanders away from the road, with an
easy start, past homes and tree-lined vistas. After about a mile or so, the
current quickens, offering more waves and rapids. If you go to the end, you
end up at a slack in the water at the Pend Oreille reservoir, then down to
the Mudhole Park in Priest River.
Pick your takeout spot and leave your shuttle vehicle there. Drive north on
Highway 57 about 3 miles from the town of Priest River; look for a long,
open right-hand sweep of the river in a steep drop below the road. Drive
slowly and look for stairs on the right that lead down to a river gauging
station. Climb down and clearly mark the takeout, so you can find it when
you arrive on the river. Next head to the put-in at the McAbee Falls Bridge
on the Peninsula Road. To get there from the takeout continue less than a
mile more north on Highway 57 to the junction with Peninsula Road on the
right. Continue on Peninsula Road a little more than four miles; just after
it merges with Peninsula Loop Road, you’ll arrive at the bridge.
The Pack River
meanders into great Lake Pend Oreille at the foot of Sunnyside, fed by the
Selkirk Mountains and countless snow melting creeks. Unlike Priest River and
Rapid Lightning Creek, it can be a sizeable river that can be floated by
canoe, kayak, raft, or inner tube. While bigger than creek or stream, it is
still not boatable by skiable boats like the Moyie or Pend Oreille Rivers.
Between the bridge near Highway 95 N, where there is a great swimming hole,
and the bridge on Highway 200, are miles of curving river. While only 10
direct miles, keep in mind that this is an arduous paddle trip, and at least
an all-day float. For a shorter, more fun float, chose your ingress and
egress somewhere along the way.
You can “put
in” and “take out” at a number of spots: the bridge on Highway 95 about 12
miles north of Sandpoint; the bridge on Colburn-Culver Road about 3 miles
east of Highway 95; the second bridge on Colburn-Culver Road 3.5 miles north
of Highway 200; or the bridge on Rapid Lightning Road 1.5 miles east of
Colburn-Culver. Travel time between those junctures varies greatly. Floating
from Highway 95 to the first bridge on Colburn-Culver will last only about
two hours; likewise, the stretch between the second bridge on Colburn-Culver
and the bridge at Rapid Lightning takes about the same time.
stretch on the Pack, however, is between the bridge on Rapid Lightning and
the bridge at Highway 200, where you can plan to spend at least four hours.
Along the way, you’ll cruise beside Lower Pack River Road, but you won’t
often see it. As you get closer to the Pack River Flats where the river
dumps into Lake Pend Oreille, you’ll float by Hidden Lakes Golf Resort. By
then, the journey is almost over.
Okay, so there
are a lot of great places to swim in North Idaho. There is Riley Creek on
the Pend Oreille River, and the public boat launch under the bridge in Hope,
Pack River at Highway 95, or City Beach in Sandpoint, or Hawkins Point on
Sunnyside, or Talache Beach at the end of Talache Road, Springy Point on
Lakeshore Drive, or the Rope Swing on Sand Creek, or Garfield Bay, or Bottle
Bay, or…or…or, well…on any given day, virtually any place is a good day to
jump in. When we lived on the Hope Peninsula, we would get our toots wet at
Kullyspell Beach. You choose.
The Old Rope
Swing on Sand Creek
Check out the
1-Hour Walking Tour on YouTube
around the corner is the area’s favorite swim at Sandpoint City Beach, for a
what could be century the rope swing on Sand Creek has been part of our
history. Within the purview of Cedar Street Bridge, this rope swing has even
been featured in USA Today and the NY Times. Great to be so famous that
national rags take notice, but truth is, it’s just plain fun. Nothin’ more,
nuthin’ less. When the lake is cool, the waters of Sand Creek can be much
warmer. Better yet is that while City Beach can have, well, crowds, Sand
Creek never does. A quick walk to every eatery and, forgive the pun,
watering hole in town, the rope swing and swimming in and around Bridge
Street and the Cedar Street Bridge is fine indeed.
convenience of City Beach is obvious. It is in downtown Sandpoint, and you
can walk or bicycle to dozens of venues in minutes. The swimming beach is
one of the few in the area with sand, and there are places to go in the
water from grass. In fact, the whole park is a bit of a peninsula, and large
enough for many other activities, with expanses of grassy, level open areas.
You can fly kites, or have a full-blown football game. Tennis and basketball
courts give the opportunity to get heated up before you go in the water, and
there is a public boat launch available. The drop off is gradual, so
swimming is good for all ages. One of the landmarks of City Beach is the
Statue of Liberty, a regular photo op. Windbag Marina is next door, right in
front of the Beach House Restaurant, and Sandpoint Marina is on the other
side. In fact, you can even watch the trains that go by, averaging one every
few minutes. You can catch the Shawnodese and cruise the lake during summer
months, and, like the rope swing at Sand Creek, great watering holes and
places to eat nearby abound.
Swim Under a
dozens of waterfalls within an hour from Sandpoint, and many have swimming
holes that make them worth the drive. To find out more about the best ones,
go to our Waterfalls Page.
Tubbs Hill is comprised of 135 acres of publicly owned land. It is largely
undeveloped and only a few man-made elements are found in what is
essentially an urban wilderness area., accessible only by foot. Tubbs Hill
offers as great a picturesque scenery and tranquil setting as anyone could
hope to find in a natural park.
Tubbs Hill was obtained through four separate purchases that spanned a
period of over 40 years. The first 33 acres were purchased in 1936 for
$19,000.00, following voter approval of a bond issue for that amount. The
property included what is now known as McEuen Field, the present site of
City Hall, and a narrow strip of waterfront property along the west side of
the hill extending to the southwest point. It was not until 1969 that the
second purchase was made for 34 additional acres. At that time Tubbs Hill
was dedicated to the people forever. In 1974, 34 more acres were purchased.
The last land purchase was in 1977 for another 34 acres. Coeur d'Alene is
proud to have Tubbs Hill as part of its park system and hopes that you enjoy
this unique park setting.
In Coeur d’Alene, Wild Waters offers activities for all ages--whether you
want to brave one of our 14 slides or prefer to stay out of the water and
enjoy a smoothie from our tiki bar. You can also enjoy a water-tube ride,
the two pools or two giant hot tubs, snack bar, arcades, or our large
January, in the dead of winter, Sandpoint, Idaho, cooks up a sure antidote
to cabin fever. It's the Sandpoint Winter Carnival, pure fun celebrating the
best of the snowy season ... indoors and out. The event for 2010 is
Thursday-Sunday, January 14-17, 2010.
The carnival almost ceased to
exist in 2009, but Tawny Sleeps and a few others, myself included, took on
the mantle, and Sandpoint had perhaps its best carnival ever. 2010 will find
the same great events, plus a few more. This year, a new offering called
Dine Around Sandpoint will kick off the opening fête: Taste of Sandpoint on
January 14, 2010.
The carnival is a blast, with a
rail jam, parties, street dances and bonfires, fireworks on Schweitzer
Mountain, K-9 Keg Pull, Art Show, and much, much more. Plus, most
restaurants are offering discounts the entire month, all the way through to
Mardi Gras. Our northern version of carnivale has balls and parties,
zany putt-putt golf, and one of our best shows at the Panida: The Follies.
Gary Lirette, your 24/7 N Idaho REALTORS®
for real estate in Sandpoint, Hope, Sagle, Schweitzer Mountain
Ski Resort, Naples, Careywood, Athol, Cocolalla, Ponderay,
Kootenai, and all parts of North Idaho.