The community of Sandpoint came to life as an intercontinental
rail hub. Today, it is a departure point for a wealth of outdoor excursions.
The only international scenic byway in North America, the International Selkirk Loop, winds 280 miles through Washington, Idaho and Southern British Columbia, with its valley-bottom route circling glacier-carved lakes and the lofty peaks of the Selkirks.
The dramatic landscape belies a lightly traveled, well-paved road system that attracts road-trippers from around the World. Wildlife watchers can scout for bighorn sheep, mountain goats and birds, and history buffs can tour the many interpretive sites showcasing
the pioneer history of the region. All will admire the sky-scraping Selkirks mirrored in the myriad of lakes and rivers on the loop.
Closer to home, residents and visitors alike pick huckleberries—the signature harvest of Northern Idaho—at Schweitzer Mountain, or visit the sandy, cedar-shaded shores of Priest Lake to the West.
Cradled by the intersection of four major subranges of the Rocky Mountains —the Selkirks to the North, the Cabinets to the East, and the Coeur d’Alenes and Bitterroots to the South—Lake Pend Oreille is less than an hour from some of Idaho’s classic high-country routes and temperate rainforest wanderings along the Upper Priest River. Among these mountains, hikers can dip their feet in
infinity-pool alpine lakes, pick a water bottle full of purple huckleberries or meander along the granite peaks.
Beginning in Sandpoint, those who appreciate nature can relish a drive or bike ride on the International Selkirk Loop, which features a spectacular 280-mile scenic route encircling the Selkirk Mountains in Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and Southeastern British Columbia.
The area also offers numerous close-to-home trails, many of which are of only moderate difficulty but with immense payoffs—either expansive lake views from on high or waterfront views at trail’s end. Gold Hill Trail, McKinnick Trail and the many Schweitzer Mountain trails provide the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or sunset trek.