In Downtown CdA, the Festival of
Lights starts off with a bang on November 27th, with Fireworks and a
Parade. Best to get to the parade for a good spot in the mid afternoon,
but get a place to watch the fireworks by about 5 pm. Many
Tubbs Hill for the best vantage point. This is a bit of a small hike,
and be aware of the weather. We like to skip the parade, and get a good place at Whispers in the
Coeur d'Alene Resort, with a toddy or two, and take in the sights with
video camera, all nice and cozy. Good, clean windows, and higher up for
really cool shots, both down the gullet and off the camera.
weekend, the Coeur d'Alene Resort hits the light switch with it's Holiday
Light show. All during the holiday season you can experience America's
largest floating holiday light show and laser extravaganza. Cruise boats
take you on Lake Coeur d'Alene to view the animated light displays and
holiday scenes along the Coeur d'Alene Resort shoreline, and then a
special visit to Santa's workshop.
Other events include
breakfasts with Santa, Sunday brunches with Dickens Carolers and Mrs.
Clause, Santa Cruises for the very young, a downtown Christmas lighting
ceremony, fireworks shows and a lighted parade.
The parade starts at 5 pm at 8th and Sherman Ave, downtown Coeur d'Alene.
27-29: Coeur d'Alene - Festival of Trees
The incredible event is something the entire family will never forget! The
Coeur d'Alene Plaza Shops are transformed into a Christmas Wonderland with
carolers, gingerbread houses, and of courses, beautifully decorated
Christmas Trees by professional designers. All trees are auctioned off at
the end of the event, with the proceeds going to a local charity. Coeur
d'Alene Plaza Shops located on Sherman Avenue, downtown Coeur d'Alene.
Info: Kootenai Medical Center Foundation 208-666-8733 or
a half day drive of Sandpoint are five great resorts: 49º North, Mt.
Spokane, Silver Mountain, Lookout Pass, and
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. If you are in Sandpoint,
Schweitzer looms right above the city, and if you drive the speed limit,
you can usually reach the slopes in about a half hour. We are so spoiled.
Most ski resorts afford spectacular mountain views when weather permits.
Unlike other resorts, when skiing Schweitzer, you can see not only the
mountain views, but the city of Sandpoint, and the 148 square mile giant
Lake Pend Oreille. Schweitzer has garnered many accolades over the years,
and has oft been considered one of the great 'undiscovered' ski treats.
Then, last year, Skiing Magazine named Schweitzer to its Top 25 Ski
Resorts. Schweitzer is also #3 for tree skiing. So, way up here in tiny
Sandpoint, Idaho, on majestic Lake Pend Oreille, we have one of the best
ski resorts in the world: Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort.
Lake Pend Oreille
from Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort
it is nice to have variety, and
Idaho gives winter sport enthusiasts great opportunities to live the
perfect ski life of Idaho's noble winter, be it skiiing developed ski resorts and a groomed
trails, or off in the hinterlands of Panhandle backcountry. Silver Mountain
is fine for downhill, but also added a very cool feature this year: an
indoor water park. It is the home of the world's longest single stage gondola.
To learn more about each resort, visit Skiing in the Inland Northwest.
country skiing is a great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors at a
leisurely pace. A wide variety of terrain awaits, including a
well-maintained trail system at Farragut State Park. A catalog of Nordic
trails is available from the Idaho State Department of Parks & Recreation.
Call 208-769-1511 or www.idahoparks.org.TheCentennial Trail,
which runs from the east end of Lake Coeur d'Alene to Spokane, through
Post Falls is a favorite for local enthusiasts. Over 8 miles of trails are
ready for exploration at Schweitzer Mountain Resort who also hosts two fun
Nordic races annually - the Cougar Gulch 10K/5K and the Great Scott
10k/5k. Each winter the Priest Lake Golf Course becomes The Nordic Sports
Center at Priest Lake offering some of the finest groomed trails in the
area. Plus, Priest Lake is renowned for snowmobiling, and has a fantastic
dog sled race.
State Parks Annual Passport is $25 (plus tax) and is good for day use at
all of Idaho's state parks. Cross country skiing at Priest Lake, Round
Lake, Farragut and Winchester Lake state parks is offered at no additional
charge. Passes are available at any state park or locally at 2750 Kathleen
Avenue, Coeur d'Alene.
The Park N' Ski Pass is $25
(plus tax) and allows you to park and ski at 11 back country sites across
the state. Passes can be purchased at regional offices of the Idaho
Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as most cross country ski
There a many places in the US that have restricted snowmobiling, and for a
short while, we had some issues.
Idaho has the perfect snow and terrain to offer some of the best
snowmobiling in the world.
Snowmobiling is one of the area's fastest growing sports. SnoWest Magazine
recognized The Silver Valley's thousands of miles of snowmobile trails as
"one of the best full service snowmobiling hot spots in the world,"
and Priest Lake has some of the best views that can be seen from the seat
of a 900cc. Contact the Priest Lake
Trails & Outdoor Recreation Association at 208-443-3309. To learn more
Snowmobiling Priest Lake. However, you can find places for
snowmobiling off Rapid Lightning Creek, Trestle Creek, and so many other
Seventy-five miles north of
Coeur d'Alene atPriest Lake find an additional 400 miles of groomed trails.
Trails are mostly on forest service roads ranging in elevation from 2,500
to 6,500 feet. Ample snowfall and marked and patrolled trails along one of
the world's most pristine lakes make this a winter wonderland. 443-3191. A
history of timber and mining in the Coeur d'Alene area has left an
extensive network of trails through the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
offers survival training and avalanche training, but their forte is Cat
Skiing. Very cool stuff here.
As mentioned before, the
Selkirk Powder Company
offers great guided tours. This the snowcat-skiing and snowmobiling
outfitter takes you to the best locations in the Rockies and Pacific
Northwest. With it's headquarters right on the summit of Schweitzer
Mountain Resort, SPC skis and snowmobiles in 4,000 acres of epic terrain
directly behind the burgeoning 3,000 acre ski resort. Prompt access to
your full day of guided skiing begins at or before 9am. You can expect up
to 8 runs and 10,000 to 14,000 vertical.
Boundary County has ample
snowmobiling opportunities. There are many well-groomed trails higher than
7,000 feet. The two major areas include Roman Nose in the Selkirk
Mountains and Canuck Basin in the Purcell Mountains. Visitors to
Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint can enjoy guided snowmobile
tours through the backcountry.
Kellogg offers thousands of
miles of groomed trails with a vast choice of lodging and tourist
services. Wallaceencourages driving snowmobiles inside the city limits and has a
number of annual snowmobile events. 753-7151.
Snowmobiling regulations and
trail maps are available from U.S. Forest Service offices throughout the
region. Machine and equipment rentals are available locally. With the
eminent success of snowmobiling projects throughout North Idaho, here's a
recommendation: Make plans for your visit before the rest of the world
thirty-five years the US Pacific Coast Championship Sled Dog Race has been
held at Priest Lake. Each year 75 to 100 teams from around the country and
as far away as Alaska and Canada gather on the west side of the lake for
the competition. 509-447-5744 or
Inland Empire Sled Dog
Association Last year we had them on my radio show: North
Idaho Arts & Adventure. Having owned Samoyeds, I was particularly
interested in the teams with Sammies. We have one team from Athol, and
though Sammies aren't perhaps the best pulling dogs, they sure are the
most beautiful. Anyway, great event to attend.
There are few places that are
groomed well enough to venture out without some help to walk on the snow.
However, there are a few. For instance, off Brisboys is a trail at the
second entrance off Lakeshore that is not known to most, but is fabulous.
Others that don't always require special gear are the 2-miles of path on
the Pedestrian Long Bridge that runs alongside the Long Bridge (Highway
95). This is one of the best because of the views of Lake Pend Oreille.
Dover Bay resort has nine miles
of fabulous paved paths, and many are groomed in the winter. These are
free to the public, and the scenery is outstanding. Here is a map of their
One of our favorite charities
was the forming of the Bonner
Healing Garden. We sponsor their website. Even in the dark of winter,
it is a place to sooth the soul.
The new Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail
was donated much by the Ross Hall family, and goes approximately two miles
to a place called Black Rock along Lake Pend Oreille. Park next to the
water treatment plant next to Seasons at Sandpoint. You don't have to use
the trail. The railroad often plows the roads along the tracks for service
purposes, so you can walk the small peninsula between the lake and Sand
Try some of the area parks. City
Beach isn't bad, but there are many to choose from. To learn more about
area parks, visit our
on a pair of snow shoes and making first tracks in fresh snow on a sunny
winter day is as good as it gets for North Idaho outdoor recreation. If
you're a novice or enjoying an outing with younger family members, the Centennial Trail
is ideal. Park at the trailhead on Northwest Blvd. at I-90 Exit 11 in
Coeur d'Alene and hike a flat trail along the Spokane River, through Coeur
d'Alene City Park along the lake. Another popular route begins at Silver
Beach on Lake Coeur d'Alene Road, I-90 Exit 15 at Sherman Avenue, with
parking, year 'round restroom facilities and a stunning view with no
changes in elevation.
d'Alene's Tubbs Hill is a
short loop trail (3.2 miles) accessible from downtown that winds through a
120-acre natural park jutting out from the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Start your hike at the south end of 3rd Street by the Coeur d'Alene
Falls Park in Post Falls is
right in town. Exit 5 off of I-90, south a block to 4th Avenue and west
two blocks. The park has family friendly trails and scenic overlook
platforms to best view the wide open gates of the hydroelectric plant at
the Spokane River falls.
For more advanced snowshoers,
the following offer a backcountry hike. The winter wonderland scenery of
North Idaho makes it worth your while. Don't forget to bring a camera!
Gold Hill - 2 miles
south of Sandpoint on US 95. turn east on Bottle Bay Road, 4.8 miles to
the trailhead located on the right.
Length-3.7 miles one-way
Highest elevation-3400 feet
Elevation gain/loss-1200 feet
Trail to Chimney Rock
- a popular climbing destination. Getting to the trailhead in winter may
require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. From Sandpoint-north on US 95, 13 miles
to Pack River Road, turn west onto Road 231, 16 miles to West Branch Road
2653. Turn left and then a half mile to trailhead at bridge.
Length- 5 miles one way
Difficulty-last 2.5 miles are most difficult
Highest elevation- 6720 feet
Elevation gain/loss 1820 feet
The first 2.5 miles are along an old road, the last 2.5 miles are somewhat
Moose Lake - from
Sandpoint head east on Hwy 200 then 12 miles to Trestle Creek Road, turn
left onto Road 275 then 16 miles to Lighting Creek Road 419, turn left and
then 1.5 miles to Moose Creek Road 1022, turn right and 2 miles to the
trailhead. This is also a trailhead for Blacktail Lake Trail 24 and Lake
Estelle Trail 36.
Length- 1.6 miles one way
Highest elevation-6160 feet
Depending upon snow
conditions, accessibility may be limited to the backcountry areas. There
are no restrictions to snowmobiles for both Moose Lake and Chimney Rock.
The local sledding hills of yesteryear are
still part of the fabric of North Idaho small town life. Some are
maintained by local parks departments, some are just part of the
neighborhood. For a fun family day in the snow, here are some local
Coeur d'Alene - Cherry Hill Park is
located at 15th Street and I-90. Generations of children have enjoyed this
popular sledding hill which is now part of the park. For all ages, paved
parking lot adjacent.
Post Falls - Black Bay Park, just
north of the main parking lot off of E. Third Ave., has good sledding
hills in the winter months.
Kellogg - Locals enjoy sledding and
tubing at Silver Mountain and at Kellogg City Park, across from the
Sandpoint - Schweitzer Mountain is
a great place to sled or tube. Great Northern Park is a new 7-acre park
which is slated to have a sledding hill shaped by the time the snow flies.
For the younger children, Hickory Street Park has a small hill.
Priest River - Right in town is a
sledding park off of Highways 2 and 57.
Clark Fork - Locals bundle up for
sledding at the ball park on the north side of the pond.
Traditionally, Sand Creek was the place that Sandpoint locals skated,
though last year many could be seen by the Long Bridge on Lake Pend
Oreille. There are many places to skate, such as the smaller lakes. To
learn more about area lakes, check out our
Guide. For streams and rivers, go our
Gliding across frozen lakes
and ponds on ice skates is postcard perfect in North Idaho, when
temperatures are cold enough for long enough to freeze the water to safe
Smaller lakes, such as Fernan
at the east end of Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene are the best bet most
years. Lake front homeowners often create a groomed skating area near the
public docks. Twin Lakes and Spirit Lake are also likely to freeze solid
enough for skating.
In Bonners Ferry, Mirror Lake
is similarly swept for skaters, weather permitting, as is Dawson Lake. In
Sandpoint, Sand Creek, just below the Cedar Street Bridge, is popular with
the locals and near the city beach, a skating area is often cleared for
The winter of 2007/2008 saw
the opening of a public outdoor skating rink on the grounds of the Coeur
d'Alene Resort. The rink opened in conjunction with the Festival of Lights
and operated through the holidays. 765-4000
KYRO (Kootenai Youth Recreation
Organization) Ice Arena in Coeur d'Alene is open to the public for indoor
recreational ice-skating and lessons; adult and youth hockey leagues and
lessons; and competitive and recreational figure skating. The facility is
also available for group and business functions. 3519 W. Seltice Way.
Sotheby's International Realty
200 Main Street
& host of the radio shows North Idaho Business
as well as North Idaho Arts on KSPT & KBFI in
Sandpoint & Bonners Ferry. When you need your real estate questions