Idaho has 30 official scenic, historic and back country byways. In addition to the Selkirk Loop, we took three of these drives while spending the week in Sagle, ID, a small community centrally located for our drives.The campground, Travel America Plaza, is very comfortable with shaded sites and clean facilities. It’s far enough from the road to limit traffic sounds, and for a change, is not next to the railroad.
Our next scenic drive was south to the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway. The road winds alongside the lake, which happens to be home to the largest population of nesting osprey in the Western states. As it curves along the bank, the road rises with several pull-outs for viewing the lake below. At one such pull-out, a paved trail led us upward to a viewing platform.
The local visitors center had recommended a restaurant in the small community of Carlin Bay, so we stopped there for lunch. The breakfast menu sounded so appetizing, we had breakfast for lunch. Hotcakes an inch thick! I’ll have more photos of the lake in the slideshow at the end of the post.
Our next drive was westward on the Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage to Priest River. The route travels about 28 miles along the northern shore of the Pend Oreille River between Sandpoint and the Washington State line on US Highway 2. The river was first canoed by trapper and explorer David Thompson in 1809 as he searched for a passage to the Columbia River.
Our last scenic drive of the area was arguably the most scenic. It was the Pend Oreille (pronounced “pond-a-ray”) Scenic Byway. The words "Pend Oreille" are French for an ear-hanging or pendant. Ear pendants were characteristic of the Kalispell tribe, native to the area. The lake is shaped much like a human ear when viewed from above or on a map.
With a surface area of 148 square miles, and a length of 65 miles, it is the largest lake in Idaho. 1,150 feet deep in some regions makes it the fifth deepest in the United States.
The water was still as we drove along the lake, creating a mirror landscape. The Cabinet Dam Gorge lies at the border of Idaho and Montana. A scenic overlook has been provided. Glenn decided the view from here was worth the whole drive.For more photos from the drives, click on the image: