The International Selkirk Loop is an impressive loop that cuts through two states and another country. It offers year-round access to some of the most diverse and incredible terrain, scenery, and outdoor recreational activities that Idaho has to offer. It also offers the ability to explore the neighboring state of Washington to the west, and the rugged and expansive beauty of Canada to the north. With it’s changing scenery depending on the season, and the massive amount of variety for recreation, the International Selkirk Loop can offer a week of exploration and fun that changes every single time you drive it.
You don’t have to head out of Idaho to experience the wonder and beauty that this incredible loop offers, however. The loop cuts through Idaho’s panhandle, and takes you through some of the most beautiful country and terrain that Idaho has to offer. There is plenty in Northern Idaho to explore, along with Idaho’s “Crown Jewel:” Priest Lake.
A Little Detour that Pays Off Big
From the International Selkirk Loop, it’s only 19 miles to Priest Lake, and it’s a small diversion that you will want to take. Priest Lake is often called the “Crown Jewel” of Idaho, and with it’s crystal clear waters that cover 23,000 acres over 19 miles, you will soon see why. From breathtaking scenery on the east shore, to the historic resorts and opportunities on the west shore, Priest Lake is packed full of opportunities to explore some of the best that Idaho has to offer.
Priest Lake is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and playground. You fell in love with Idaho because of the great outdoors, so it only makes sense to explore one of the best outdoor recreational areas that the state has to offer. In the summer, water sports reign supreme. Hit the lake waters on a sailboat, kayak, canoe, or powerboat, and the 72 miles of shoreline, seven islands, and miles of white sand and beaches are your own personal playground (selkirkloop.org).
If you want to explore the beautiful forests and mountains of Idaho untouched by time and development, you’ll love Upper Priest Lake. You can only get to Upper Priest Lake through hiking or biking trails, or a restricted waterway that only allows canoes and kayaks. This is a paradise of nature, cut off from time, and protected by the federal government as a scenic area. Hope you brought a tent, as there are numerous camping locations around here. You won’t get closer to the purity of nature anywhere else.
You don’t have to just enjoy Priest Lake on the water, either. There are miles and miles of trails that surround the lake. Strap on your hiking shoes or grab your mountain bike, and get ready for an adventure. There is a wide variety of different terrain for you to enjoy, plus some of the best views of the lake and the nearby Selkirk Mountains. You’ll find cedar groves that are millenniums old and hidden waterfalls near crystal streams.
Don’t let the winter season deter you, either. Priest Lake is a popular snowmobiling area, with hundreds of miles of groomed trails. And how could you turn down a 500,000-acre winter playground? The terrain is varied and offers something for every skill level of snowmobiler. There are meadows and bowls where you can just enjoy riding around. Or, challenge yourself with impressive hill climbs where mountain goats are king. There are also plenty of cross-country skiing trails. Again, there are a wide variety of trails and terrain for all levels of Nordic enthusiasts.
Idaho like You’ve Never Seen
Regardless of the season, Priest Lake is worth the trip. So don’t be afraid to take that detour off of the International Selkirk Loop. Head into the wilderness of Northern Idaho, and explore mountains, forests, and lakes that have been untouched for hundreds of years. This is why Priest Lake is the “Crown Jewel” of Idaho. This part of Northern Idaho is pristine nature, with crystal clear waters, wide-open skies, and forests that are thousands of years old.
When you moved to Idaho, this is what you were looking for. It’s just been in your backyard the entire time. While all of Idaho is beautiful, you’ve never seen Idaho like this before. It’s rugged, beautiful, and untouched. This is one trip you’ll want to make, and you’ll be glad you took the time.