Located in the pristine wilderness of northern Idaho, Priest Lake offers 23,000 acres of aquatic fun, as well as gorgeous vistas of the surrounding Selkirk Mountains. Book a Priest Lake vacation rental to take advantage of easy access to year-round outdoor recreation, including swimming, hiking, fishing, and biking, as well as winter sports such as snowmobiling and skiing. The wide selection of family-friendly dining and entertainment makes Priest Lake an ideal destination for kids and adults alike.
1. Go Ride a Bike
Priest Lake and its surrounding wilderness are known as an awesome place to take a two-wheeled ride. If you have younger kids in tow, tackle one of the lighter trails around the lake – these offer a low elevation gain and many options for short single-track loops. Older kids and experienced bikers can head out on one of the more advanced trails in the area to get a unique and exciting view of the rocky terrain and lush forests. Bring your own bike, or rent one from a local sports shop. Strap on your helmet, and get ready for an active day of adventure.
2. Get a Taste of History at the Priest Lake Museum
Housed in a heritage cabin dating back to the 1930s, the Priest Lake Museum offers a collection of area artifacts and vignettes. Head to the museum during the summer months to learn from first-hand accounts what life was like in the pioneer days of Idaho. Experienced museum staff are on hand to answer questions and offer information about both the human and geological history of the area. Take a tour of the museum grounds to discover some of the antique machinery on hand, or explore the many species of plants and animals that call the surrounding area home.
3. Spend a Day Fishing
Priest Lake is a great spot to reel in the catch of the day. Cast your rod in Priest Lake itself to fish for mackinaw, which is known to reach massive sizes in this large body of water. If trophy fishing isn’t your thing, take a drive to the Alpine Lakes or to Priest Basin, both of which are home to a diverse range of fish species. Hire a fishing guide for the day to ensure you’re fishing in the right spot, and be sure to read up on local fishing licenses and regulations before heading out on your adventure.
4. Ski Cross Country
Book a Priest Lake vacation rental during the snowy season to experience the local cross-country skiing trails. The Indian Creek Unit within Priest Lake State Park offers roughly five miles of trails that traverse the forested area surrounding the lake. Cross-country is a great way to experience the wilderness when it’s covered in a blanket of snow, and it makes a fun afternoon activity for kids of all ages. Bring your own skis, or find a pair from one of the many rental shops in the area.
5. Experience the Local Art Scene
Priest Lake’s natural beauty fosters a range of creative talents. A number of independent art galleries are located along the lake’s shores. Spend an afternoon walking or driving from gallery to gallery to get a feel for the local artistic community, and help grow your kids’ interests in the arts. Some galleries offer special events and artists’ demonstrations on a seasonal basis.
6. Play a Round of Golf
The area around Priest Lake offers several picturesque golf courses. Play 18 holes at the Priest Lake Golf Course for a taste of pro-level golf that’s open to all ages and skill levels.
7. Hike Mount Roothan and Chimney Rock
A vacation rental in Priest Lake puts you just a few miles away from one of the most well-known landmarks of the Selkirk Mountains – Chimney Rock. Get up close to this impressive rock formation by hiking Mount Roothan Trail, a four- to five-hour route through rocky, mountainous terrain. Pack a snack and strap on supportive hiking shoes to tackle the trail properly, which pays off with some incredible views of Gunsight Mountain, Hunt Peak, Sundance Mountain, and, of course, the aforementioned Chimney Rock.
8. Satisfy Your Need for Speed on a Snowmobile
A wintertime vacation rental in Priest Lake or Priest Basin is an excellent opportunity to get outdoors on a snowmobile. The system of trails surrounding Priest Lake offers about 400 miles of groomed track through wooded areas and mountainous vistas, and the frequent early snowfall and relatively mild winter weather in the area ensure that the snow pack is ideal for sleds. Visit one of the numerous local businesses that cater to the sport for rentals, information, and guidance. If you’re staying at a resort in the area, some rental shops even offer snowmobile delivery services so you can be ready to head out on the trail of your choice.
9. Walk Through the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars
Located just a few miles’ drive north of Priest Lake, the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars is a protected area of forest that is home to ancient cedar trees, some of which are up to 2,000 years old and 150 feet tall. Foster your kids’ love of nature by letting them wander through this picturesque area of forest. A short distance from the grove, a one-mile loop trail offers two vista points for viewing Granite Falls. These high waterfalls, originating from Granite Creek, are an exciting way to experience the majesty of nature.
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