Some of these attractions are within Coeur d’ Alene while some are within a short drive. All are listed in alphabetical order.
Cruises depart from the Coeur d’ Alene city dock but departure times vary depending on the day and time of year so I recommend that you call ahead. Allow at least 2 hours. A Sunday brunch cruise and a Monday sunset cruise are available. Adult fare is $22.50 and those under 10 years of age are $1450.
The world’s longest Floating Wood Marina is in Coeur d’ Alene. It is over 1/2 miles long and made out of cedar planks. It starts from near the Coeur d’ Alene resort and winds around the marina where it comes out on the other side of the resort. At one point on the walkway it climbs up and forms a small bridge. Towards the middle of the walkway you will find plants and a few benches for sitting and watching the activity on the lake.
Garnet Digging at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area would be quite enjoyable. I was going to do this but just ran out of time. Did you know that Idaho and India are the only two places in the world where Star Garnets are found? These gems range in size from sand particles to golf ball or larger. Gem quality stones are also found. Expect to become quite muddy and messy when you dig for garnets. The cost of a permit for adults is $15 and for children it is $8. The permit allows you to dig in designated areas only and take up to 5 pound of garnets daily. The yearly limit of garnets per year is 30 pounds or 6 permits. You should allow at least 4 hours at the garnet site.
Allow 3/4 to a full day from Coeur d’ Alene. The garnet site is located about 60 some odd miles south east of Coeur d’ Alene. You will need to bring rubber boots or old tennis shoes, a shovel, change of clothes, a bucket for removing water, and a screen box for washing the gravel. I assume that some of this equipment can be rented on site but you should call in order to find out for sure. They are open Friday through Tuesday from 9am until 5pm. They are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. For more information call (208) 245-2531 or you can write to:
St. Joe Ranger District
P.O. Box 407
St. Maries, ID 83861
Hiawatha Rail Trail opened in 1998. This is located quite a ways from Coeur d’ Alene but could possibly be done in a day if you left early. Allow two days is more reasonable. The trail starts or ends depending on which way you ride it from St. Regis, a small town in Western Montana. St. Regis is next to the 90 Freeway and the bike ride heads west from there. There are about 60 miles of trail already in place including thirteen miles within Idaho. These thirteen miles are all nearly downhill. Plans are already in place to have shuttles pick people up at the bottom of the downhill and to return them to their vehicles.
The trail follows an abandoned rail road track. The highlight of the ride is a 1.7 mile long tunnel that winds under several thousand feet of mountain. The temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the tunnel. Sometimes you are able to see deer inside licking minerals off of the walls. So far bears and mountain lions have not been spotted inside any of the tunnels. The 13 mile Idaho portion features 11 tunnels, 9 tall steel trestles and of course the gorgeous Rocky Mountain scenery! www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/rec/activities/biking/hiawatha.html
The self guided nature trail in the HOBO Cedar Grove Botanical Area is located close to the garnet mine. This is a 1/2 mile trail that winds through old growth cedar forests. Other hiking trails are also available. Call PHONE NUMBER (208) 245-2531 for directions and more information.
Museum of North Idaho is located at 115 Northwest Blvd. This museum depicts the history of Kootenai County. Some exhibits include information about early transportation, logging and mining. Allow at least 30 minutes. Admission is $2. PHONE NUMBER (208) 664-3448. www.museumni.org
The Mountains of North Idaho are known for their excellent summer selection of wild huckleberries. Depending on the time of summer or early fall you can pick ripe huckleberries at different elevations. The first ripe berries are at the lower elevations, and the later ripening berries are found at the higher elevations. The best berry picking is found on old disturbed ground. Old logging roads sometimes produce good berry patches. Huckleberries like a decent amount of sunlight so the sweeter berries of course will be in more direct sunlight. The main berry picking season is from mid June through late October.
The bushes grow about 1 to 5 feet in height and the berries look a bit like a blueberry. If you haven’t seen a huckleberry before I would not recommend just going out into the woods and picking and eating any berries that you find. Find someone who has picked them before or find some good pictures of the berries. One other thing to mention is that huckleberries are one of the primary sources of food for grizzly and black bears. See the information in our Glacier National Park section for what to do if confronted by a bear or mountain lion. Happy berry hunting. Visit: www.northidaho.org
The Old Mission is located about 18 miles east of Coeur d’ Alene just off of Interstate 90. Admission is $6. In the early 1840’s Jesuit priests and the local Indians built a mission. The first mission was built about 35 miles south of the present mission. The location was later changed because the original building was subject to flooding. Now it is housed on top of a small hill. There are picnic tables and walking trails here. There is a visitor center. The mission is the oldest standing building in the state of Idaho. Each August 15 the Coeur d’ Alene Indians return to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption.
Silver Mountain is located in Kellogg about 25 miles east of Coeur d’ Alene on the 90 Freeway. Take exit number 49. The world’s longest gondola operates at this resort. It is 3.1 miles long and it rises 3,400 feet to the top. From the top of the gondola you can see into parts of Canada, Montana, and Washington state. This resort is open in the winter for skiing. In the summer the resort attracts mountain bikers, hikers, and mountain top dining. The gondola takes 16 minutes to the top which is at 6,000 feet. Once you arrive at the summit, take your picture with Big Ben. He is the world’s largest Clydesdale horse. He is 19 and 1/2 hands high and weighs 2,600 pounds. Tickets for the gondola for adults are $20 and children are $15. All day mountain bike riding is also offered in the summer. For more information call (208) 784-0821 or PHONE NUMBER (208) 783-1111. www.silvermt.com
Silverwood Theme Park is located 15 miles north on the 95 Freeway. This freeway crosses the 90 Freeway near Coeur d’ Alene. This park is Victorian in nature and features an antique airplane museum, steam train, roller coaster, and a log flume. They have 24 rides including the stomach wrenching, hair raising 55mph wooden roller coaster. The park is open daily for most of June, all of July, and all of August. In May, September, and October they are only open on the weekends. The closest small town to this park is Athol or Chilco. This reference will help you locate it on the map. For more information call (208) 683-3400 ext. 3. Visit: www.silverwoodthemepark.com
There are several Shopping Centers in Coeur d’ Alene. One is called the Silver Lake Mall and is located 3.5 miles north on the 95 Freeway. This mall contains an Emporium, JCPenney, and a Sears. The Factory outlets are located in Post Falls, just west of Coeur d’ Alene. Take exit number 2 in Post Falls. The Shops are located near the Coeur d’ Alene resort (which is the “home of the floating green!”. The shops near the resort are basically several shops located in a covered area in a mall like setting. These shops consist of some antique stores and gift shops. There are several clothing shops here also.
North Idaho is also a Summer bike riding mecca for many people. One ride is called Cranky Gulch. From the town of Wallace drive to King Street and then turn on Placer Creek Road. The road will turn to dirt and then drive uphill until you come to a left hand turn. Take it. This is called Dry Gulch Road and follow it uphill for about 4 miles. This will take you to Slate Creek Saddle. When you get to the first intersection head west (right) up a steep hill on a narrow road. This road will become a single track as you begin to climb. Park you car at the bottom of this hill and start you bike ride. There is a lot of climbing on this road. For trail maps and more information call (208) 777-7701. Lookout Pass Ski Area Copper Lake is supposed to be one of the best mountain bike rides in the northwest.