Skiing & Snowboarding
Schweitzer Mountain Resort, 11 miles from Sandpoint, offers excellent skiing and snowboarding until mid-April in typical years, with spring conditions that include plenty of sun and resort-sponsored celebrations. Schweitzer boasts two natural bowls encompassing 2,900 skiable acres, 2,400 feet of vertical drop, with 87 trails and runs served by two high-speed quads, one high-speed six-pack, one triple chairlift and three double chairlifts. There are also groomed cross-country ski trails. 208-263-9555. Schweitzer.com
Priest Lake Golf Course is a beautiful 18-hole course offering over 6,500 yards of challenging golf on a course nestled among lush forests and wetlands. Golfers will also find a driving range, putting greens and restaurant. 208-443-2525; PriestLakeGolfCourse.com.
The Idaho Club, just minutes from Sandpoint, is an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course nestled among picturesque mountains along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. 208-265-8600; theidahoclub.com.
As the days warm, Lake Pend Oreille draws more visitors anxious to test the waters. Don't miss Sandpoint City Beach, located downtown, with its sandy beaches, paved strolling path at the water's edge and panoramic scenery.
Lake cruises start up aboard "The Shawnodese," for individuals, groups and private charters from April through October, as well as jet boat tours and rentals. 208-255-5253 or 888-726-3764; LakePendOreilleCruises.com
Hiking trails in the lower elevations are accessible from mid to late spring, with a cluster of excellent choices just south of town on the lake's western shore. The easy 2.1-mile Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay, with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarchs. A bit further south is the Maiden Rock Trail, a steep 1.5-mile trail that leads down to a Forest Service recreation site on the lake. Also nearby is the Evans Landing Trail, leading 2 miles down to a beach at the landing.
Surrounded by state and national forestlands in the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitterroot mountain ranges, the Sandpoint area has countless roads and trails for mountain bikers. Popular ride areas include Mineral Point, Gold Hill, Schweitzer Mountain and Strong Creek. Visit the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce for more details and maps.
KAYAKING AND RAFTING
For paddle-sport enthusiasts, both lake and river beckon. Whitewater season on local rivers begins in April as snowmelt swells streams, and generally lasts well into June. The best whitewater thrills are on the Moyie River, 40 miles north of Sandpoint, with a nine-mile run that includes numerous Class III and a pair of Class IV at higher water. A bit easier for beginners is the Priest River, 30 miles west of Sandpoint, where there is a good eight-mile Class II-III stretch. And of course, at all times of year Lake Pend Oreille offers flatwater paddling at innumerable locations.
The International Selkirk Loop, a 280-mile driving loop through two countries (the U.S. and Canada) and two states (Idaho and Washington) traverses spectacular scenery. Brochures are available at local chamber and visitor centers. 888-823-2626; SelkirkLoop.org.
The Pend Oreille Scenic Byway – Find an abundance of recreational opportunities, plus postcard-quality scenery and historical elements, on this 33-mile route. Byways.org/explore/byways/2044/
Downtown Sandpoint abounds with rare and unique shopping opportunities. Many shops line First Avenue, which is also home to Coldwater Creek’s flagship store. Visitors will find unique crafts by local artisans at Art Works, and Pend d'Oreille Winery has an eclectic gift shop that’s not to be missed! Two miles north of Sandpoint off Highway 95 is the Bonner Mall, which includes a movie theater, restaurant, full-service grocery and several shops. Also, don't miss shopping at Schweitzer Village up on the hill, located 11 miles from Sandpoint.
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