A Pine-Forest-Enshrouded Gem
Glacier-gouged, forest-shrouded, and surrounded by the jagged Bitteroot Mountains on the western flank of the Rockies, Coeur d’Alene is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful locations, a gem among the many lakes that accentuate Idaho’s scenic northern Panhandle.
Meandering bike trails and 8 ½ miles of groomed hiking paths lead through pine-scented forests to Tubbs Hill, which offers the best views of the lake, most of whose 128-mile shoreline has been blessedly protected from development. Keep an eye out for birds, as the lake area is also home to the nation’s largest population of ospreys, as well as to their cousin, the American bald eagle.
Sitting stage center on 6 beachfront acres of the lake’s northern shore is the area’s primo hotel, the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Many of the rooms have balconies and windows that frame the lake’s Alp-like beauty and overlook the floating boardwalk that wraps around the resort’s busy marina. The hotel offers most of the lake-related diversions you can imagine, as well as a golf course (there are twenty-nine within an hour’s drive) whose fourteenth hole is situated on the world’s first movable, floating green.
Daytime and dinner cruises aboard the Mish-n-Nock and its fellow fleet members explore the lake’s placid steely blue waters, home to an abundance of Chinook salmon and trout. Fishing charters continue up the shadowy St. Joe River in quest of the feisty cutthroat trout.
This history-rich area of the lake’s southeast corner is silver country, dotted with peaceful late-19th-century mining towns that recall the heyday of what was once the continent’s largest silver-producing region. Wallace, a still-lively, time-stuck place listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is 35 miles away.