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Trip activity advice sought

In cooperation with: Idaho Division of Tourism
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Trip activity advice sought

My husband and I will be flying to Kalispell, MT and spending a couple days in the area, with the intention to include a visit the Couer d'Alene and Priest Lake area for an additional couple of days over the Memorial Day weekend. He has heard the Idaho upper panhandle is beautiful for widlife sightings and photography opportunities. Neither of us have been to the area. Would anyone be able to offer advice on drive routes are best for scenery, what areas not to miss for nature photo ops? Please also advise what the weather most likely will be at that time of year and if we need to prepare for bugs, etc on leisurely hikes? Thanks so much!

Coeur D'alene, Idaho
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1. Re: Trip activity advice sought


I'll give you a little information but nidahodave will sign on later and no doubt give you some great ideas since he knows the Priest Lake and Montana areas very well (as well as the rest of north idaho).

As far as weather on Memorial Day -- in Coeur d'Alene the average is around 72 degrees with a slight chance of rain in late May. It's a beautiful time of year up here. Not sure about bugs -- we don't do much hiking, but we don't have a huge mosquito problem if that's what you're worried about.

I'll leave more details to Dave, here's a good page with some information about wildlife viewing, photo tours, etc...


Coeur d Alene, Idaho
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370 posts
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2. Re: Trip activity advice sought

As usual KirkandMimi provided good start to info on area. Early summer is more likely to have mosquitoes than later in summer, also some hiking areas could have ticks. Depending on how you drive from Kalispell will have different scenery. I would suggestion Highway 200 which follows the Clark Fork River until it flows into Lake Pend Oreille and continues onto Sandpoint. At Sandpoint you would continue west until Priest River where you go north to Priest Lake. I think Priest Lake is the most beautiful of the three large North Idaho lakes, they are all very different in shape and character. Priest Lake has a number of easy hiking opportunities. Most mountain trails will usually be snow covered at Memorial Day but lower elevation trails should be open. If you are going to Priest Lake two of the best hikes are into Upper Priest Lake or along the lake shore on Priest Lake. Snow should be gone. The web pages for those hikes are fs.fed.us/ipnf/…d8navigation291.html fs.fed.us/ipnf/…d8lakeshore294.html

There is also a short natural trail at Hanna Flats through and old growth Cedar grove near the Priest Lake USFS Ranger Station

Nice drive from Priest Lake would be on highway 41 to Spirit Lake and then east on Highway 54 towards Athol where you can continue south into Coeur d' Alene on US95. At Athol you could also continue east on highway 54 to Bayview and Farragut State Park. Bayview is a very small town at southern end of Pend Oreille Lake (great views of the lake) and Farragut is a large state park with Picnic areas, hiking trails, and a Museum / Visitor Center with information on its history as a Navy Base during WW2. If you get lucky from one of the picnic areas with binoculars or a spotting scope you can see the Mountain Goats on the side of Bernard Peak .

If you come into Coeur d' Alene two close hikes are Tubbs Hill right in downtown Coeur d' Alene and Mineral Ridge east of town off of Highway 97 in Beauty Bay. If you do a web search for Mineral Ridge Trail you should find several web sites with information.

As KirkandMimi said Memorial Day is a good weather time to visit, its the beginning of the summer tourist season so things should be open. If you have any more specific questions on route or places just ask.

3. Re: Trip activity advice sought

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