Driving through an area of mountains and lakes filled with an array of wildlife makes an ideal RV vacation to take this summer. On the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway the traveler will discover a summer playground that outdoes most others. As you drive from the junction of I-90 and Idaho Highway 97 along the eastern shore of the lake, you will spot elk, moose and deer roaming and grazing. This will be a trip to remember.
The byway is a two-lane affair, winding through the forests. Access is simple in the summer months and RVers will just have to be confident in their driving abilities. When you reach Wolf Lodge Bay this is where bird watching is at its zenith. Find raptors, waterfowl, upland birds and songbirds galore. The Western tanager is likely the most colorful bird you see. Learn to listen for the call of the loons and the soft hooting of the owls.
Before moving on you will find RV camping is excellent at Lake Coeur d’ Alene Camping Resort with full hookups and direct access by boat to the lake. Stay awhile here then drive on. Obtain some of the best views of Lake Coeur d’ Alene from around Beauty Bay. You can take one paved trail to a deck that overlooks the water. There are other unpaved trails in the area as well. This day-use area is a great place to stop for a picnic among the trees.
More panoramic views and wildlife spotting at the Mineral Ridge Trail! Wander through the Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs as you admire the natural beauty surrounding you. The lake glistens and the sun shines as you make your way to the viewpoints and stop to take in the magnificent scenery. Take the short trail to the west to see an abandoned mine.
The Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail invites you into the wilderness at any time, but the summer season is the best. In five miles of hiking you can go from around 2100 feet to 4400 feet in elevation. Some parts of the trail are just gentle strolls, so just choose your expertise level. Get a view of the lake in the distance and go all the way to summit – just to say you did it.
For boat access to Lake Coeur d’ Alene, head for Blackwell Island Recreation Site. There are plenty of launch sites, parking spaces and picnic areas to sit and enjoy a quiet lakeside lunch. Walk along the boardwalk that follows the path of the Spokane River. Wildlife viewing decks are the favorite attraction along the way.
One of the best trails in the West is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. You can find access near Lake Coeur d’ Alene, although the entire trails spans some 72 miles from Plummer, Idaho to Mullan, Idaho. This is a paved trail which is ideal for hikers, bikers, skaters and even those in electric wheelchairs.
When you end your journey at Idaho Highway 3, you may wish to carry on exploring on the White Pine Scenic Byway. Otherwise, you can now head home with memories that will last a lifetime.