Priest Lake, Idaho, USA – May 1999

Many folks in the northwest United States know about the beauty and isolation of Priest Lake, Idaho. However, if you have not heard about it – and you love deep woods, a huge lake with secret little coves, and most fabulous summers…Priest Lake could be your next great discovery!

Located just south of the Canadian border in the Idaho panhandle, Priest Lake offers something for absolutely everyone. Bring your Boots’n’all for hiking the back hills and mountains. Bring your flip-flops for beachin’ and boating.

When To Go

From Memorial Day (May 31st) to Labor Day (September 6th), Priest Lake campgrounds, resorts, restaurants, lake-front bars, and locals haunts are all open and hopping. Luckily, Priest Lake is large enough to get away from everyone but small enough to run into old friends at the local gin-joints.

Wintertime brings lots and lots of snow, with Priest Lake businesses finally taking advantage of the snowmobile market. The lake area sports 400 miles of groomed snowmobile trails now, which is great for northwest winter getaways.


Priest Lake is at it’s best by canoe or boat. Canoe rentals are cheap . . . or bring your own!

How To Get There

Pull out your trusty atlas and locate the state of Idaho. Way, way up towards the top of the state, just north of Coeur d’ Alene you’ll see Sandpoint and Priest River. The lake is located 33 miles north of Priest River on Highway 57.

Where to Stay

You can camp with a tent, camper, or motor home. Or, stay in a lodge or a fancy resort. There is a variety of lodging choices at Priest Lake.

Priest Lake State Park offers several choices to campers – Dickensheet and Indian Creek campgrounds are the two most popular areas. Kaniksu Resort at the far north of the lake offers camping spots, RV hookups and a lodge.

Three most excellent resorts are the Elkins Resort, Grandview and Hills Resort. They are a bit pricey, but have wonderful cabins and suites – many at the edge of the lake. During the height of the season expect to find only weekly packages. A group of 6 to 8 people can rent lakeside cottages from $750 to $1,000 a week.


Quiet mornings at Priest Lake. Photo from Elkins Resort.

About the Lake

Elevation of 2,500 feet in the Selkirk Mountains. Priest Lake stretches 19 miles with 7 islands – perfect for exploration, hiking and boating. The surrounding mountains rise above 7,000 feet.

Activities at Priest Lake

Fishing (the largest Mackinaw trout in the United States was captured here!), swimming, boating, water skiing, huckleberry picking, hiking. Lounging and snowmobiling in the winter.

Priest Lake is known for it’s perfectly clear and clean water. There isn’t any pollution . . . which is a rare find these days!

Boat rentals are easy to find, and we highly suggest that you spend what it takes to get out on the lake for exploring.

Upper Priest Lake

There is a second and more isolated lake called “Upper Priest Lake.” The only access is by boat or on foot.

This is our favorite hauntÂ…it’s not unusual to motor up the channel separating the two lakes and be right next to a lazy moose making his (or her!) way across the channel.

Upper Priest Lake is pure beauty and isolation. I believe

that from the upper lake you can reach Canada if you have

good spitting abilities.


Priest Lake offers many coves and islands to explore. Photo from Grandview Resort

Here are some great web sites and sources for more information:

Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce

Priest Lake State Park websites –

Park Search

Idaho State Guide

Hills Resort

Grandview Resort

Elkins Resort

Â…Priest Lake – forested beauty of the Pacific NorthwestÂ…

Richard & Patti Redd

Traveler Article

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