175 Priest Lake, Idaho
Priest Lake, Idaho
Characterized as Idaho’s “crown jewel,” Priest Lake is situated in the northern section of the Idaho panhandle and is wrapped in an abundance of amazing scenery. A towering Selkirk Mountain Range rises some 7000+ feet and has numerous streams with beautiful clear water cascading from its peaks. Eighty miles of shoreline, seven islands, and beautiful sandy beaches helps shape the landscape of Priest Lake. Additionally, the dense hemlock forest that envelops Priest Lake adds to the majestic picturesque backdrop which makes the region a place not easily forgotten. The community of Priest Lake has a relatively small resident population, but increases tremendously during the summer. The natural beauty of Priest Lake is preserved largely through ownership of extensive parcels of land by either the State of Idaho or the Federal Government. These public lands are designated as scenic areas for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The native Kalispel Tribe settled in the area many, many years ago, but nearing the mid-1850s, the first white settlers came to the region. Jesuit priest Pierre-Jean DeSmet, formed a bond with the natives and named the lake Roothaan Lake. The lake was renamed Lake Kaniksu in 1865 by U.S Army Captain John Mullan, but as is obvious, that name did not stand and was renamed Priest Lake as homage to the Jesuit priests that settled in the region. Today Priest Lake is a scenic and recreational paradise that keeps on giving.
All year round in Priest Lake, there is no shortage of activity in which to indulge. You can explore the wildlife of the region; whitetail deer, moose bald eagle, and black bear can be spotted. Summertime is filled with activities such as hiking, boating, kayaking, camping, biking, fishing, and huckleberry picking, July through August. Lake trout fishing, cutthroat fly-fishing, and fishing for a trophy-sized mackinaw can be enjoyed on the lake. Hanna Flats Nature Trail offers short walks through a cedar grove that has survived a 1926 fire. Hughes Ridge Lookout will take your breath away with panoramic view from 45-ft above the shores of Priest Lake. Roosevelt Grove of Ancients Cedars Scenic Area gives one a unique view of some of the oldest and tallest cedars that are thousands of years old and reaching heights of up to 150-ft. Still, winter offers up opportunities to enjoy some 500 miles snowmobiles trails, dog sled races, and even snowshoe softball. Priest Lake is a magical place year in and year out.
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