Four Days in the Idaho Panhandle

Boondocking on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho

Idaho, a state as rich in produce as it is in generosity, was a very special experience for us. While we only had the opportunity to explore the panhandle, it was enough to tell us we need to come back!

The night before our first day, we drove in from Montana and made a beeline for Clark Fork River, where we had read about a great boondocking site at a Wildlife Management Area right on Lake Pend Oreille.

We camped there overnight and awoke to a spectacular launch site for our kayaks to explore the labyrinthine canals of the Clark Fork delta.


Next, we packed up and headed south through Coeur D’alene, where we wish we could have spent more time. During our quick visit, we stopped by Treaty Rock Park, where the Coeur D’alene Native Americans and the founder of the town reached a peace accord in 1871.


That afternoon, we spent time exploring Old Mission State Park, home of Idaho’s Oldest Building, a church built by both Jesuit missionaries and the local Native Americans. Dogs are not allowed in the buildings, but the ranger at the gate said “unless they are service dogs…and how can I really tell the difference? (wink)”

The park also contains a few limited hiking trails with views!

For the evening, we continued south and spent the evening camped at another boondocking site on Round Lake in the Coeur D’alene Wildlife Management Area.

On our second day, we spent the morning at the nearby Heyburn State Park, hiking along the Indian Cliffs Trail. The trail was well maintained and the top provided pretty views of the lake below.

We actually lost time in the afternoon as we had planned to hike a trail called Sand Mountain Lookout Trail in the St. Joe’s National Forest, but found the area overrun with hunters at the beginning of elk season. We opted instead to head further south to Moscow, Idaho where we stayed at a sub-optimal RV park for the evening. We do not recommend camping in Moscow.

On our third day, we took advantage of our time in Moscow by exploring one of their rails to trails paths, the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail. Our dog Chip needed a good run after not having hiked the day before, so we went for a 6 mile skate over the Washington state line and back!

Then we headed further south to Lewiston, where we set up to camp at the Lindsay Creek Vineyards for the next two nights! This place was a slice of heaven! The staff welcomed us warmly, gave us a tour, and even opened up shop to provide us a tasting even though they were closed. We were particularly fond of the Tempranillo if you’re in the area or want to buy us a gift :).


After our tasting, we enjoyed a game of Bocce Ball on their court for a bit of fun!

Though full of good cheer, we didn’t want to waste the day, so we headed to the nearby Hells Gate State Park for some sandy hiking along Hells Canyon. The hiking is very pretty, but watch out for rattlesnakes!


That evening, we returned to the empty winery and enjoyed our purchased wine with stunning sunset views and more bocce ball!

On our fourth day, we remained in Lewiston but decided to explore Hells Canyon by water instead. On our previous day’s hike, we noticed the perfect launch spot on the Washington side for our kayaks and headed for it!

We began by kayaking upstream and were able to make it about 3 miles before the current and rapids got too strong to paddle up. The views were stunning!


We ended the paddle with a much needed swim in the clear, cool water!


We spent a second night at the vineyard and headed out along the Washington-Oregon state line next.

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