Lake Pend Oreille Idaho

Pondering Pend Oreille

We departed Winchester and headed north along Highway 95 and made the climb up Lewiston Hill (4 miles north of Lewiston – 7% grade) which provided great views back to Lewiston and Clarkston along the Idaho/Washington border. We proceeded on to Moscow and Plummer and on to Coeur d’Alene.

 

Farragut State Park is about 30 minutes or so north of Coeur d’Alene near the towns of Athol and Bayview.  The amusement park Silverwood is located in that area. The good news, we discovered, is that Athol now has a big, nice grocery store. They used to have just a small store with minimal groceries which meant a run to Hayden or Coeur d’Alene for groceries. But now a Super 1 has been opened next to Hwy 95 only about 10 minutes from the state park. YAY!.

 

Farragut has 4 main campgrounds spread over a few miles with a few hundred sites some which are dry camping, some with W/E, and as of 2019 they have a new section of Gilmore Campground with full hookups. Another YAY! We managed to secure a reservation in the new campground with full hookups after weeks and weeks of being on the cancellation notification list. We were going to be at the campground for a few weeks so full hookups would be great!

 

Gilmore East is the new part of the campground which opened in the summer of 2019 and it was fantastic. All sites are large, level, with nice privacy, and full hookups.

 

Campground:  Farragut State Park – Gilmore East Campground
Location:  Athol, Idaho
Site: 366 (Pull thru)
Cost: $40
Services:  FHU
Comments:  The east Gilmore Campground is a brand new campground (operating since summer 2019).  It is a lovely, treed, level, campground with large sites and full hookups. Who could ask for anything more? Maybe a cell signal would be nice. We DID get a satellite signal though so we are not complaining.
COVID Awareness: 15 out of 10 (Ha!).  We did not have to go into the office to check in. They had employees with masks on and clip boards standing in the parking lot providing passes for vehicles and maps. It was quick and effortless.  We stayed for more than almost 2 weeks and watched the cleaning of sites daily.  The employees spent quite a bit of time at each site washing down picnic tables, wiping them down, hosing them down again, cleaning campfire grates, etc. It was a lot of work they were performing at each site. Our site (campfire grate and picnic table) was spotless!

 

We have spent lots of time at Farragut over the years as it is close to where we used to live and we hiked here for years. So this trip we, again, spent the weeks hiking the trails and enjoying the beautiful weather. We also, in previous years, had our boat slipped on Lake Pend Oreille and spent lots of time out on the lake and especially anchored in Buttonhook Bay! Home Sweet Home!

Beaver Bay sits along the southern part of Lake Pend Orielle and has a great swimming area and beach.  There is a trail from the campground which leads down to the bay (and of course then you have to climb the hill to get back up) and along the shore.

 

Highpoint Trail is an inland trail which provides some great views of the lake from high points (hence the name). A lovely little creek runs along side the trail.  The trail eventually brings you back down along the lake shore.

 

Shoreline Trail is aptly named and runs along the shore line. It offers great views of the lake and has a few benches scattered here and there.

 

The Willow Lakeview Loop Trail and the Viewpoint Trail are located to the east of the 4 campgrounds along the tip of the state park peninsula near the day use and boat launch areas.  We hiked over to those trails on the Lynx Trail which is a major non-motorized connector trail between major facilities within the park (and great for bike riding).  Willow and Viewpoint trails give great views of the lake and surrounding mountains. You can even catch glimpses of mountain goats across the bay up on the cliffs if you are lucky. Bring your binoculars!

 

Another day we hiked over to the Highpoint trail again and on up to the Bernard Peak Trail. We knew we would not do the entire trail but thought we would hike for a few hours.  The Bernard Peak Trail is 8 miles from the High Point Trailhead to the top of the Bernard Peak (5,138 feet) with an elevation gain of just over 3,000 feet. It is a 16 mile round trip hike for prepared and experienced hikers (and horse back riders) only. It was a great hike (again, only a partial) but certainly was tough in areas.

 

Tree to Tree Adventure Park is located in the State Park and provides an aerial adventure course with zip lines, nets, Tarzan swings, and other obstacles with different progressive difficulty levels. There is a separate price and reservations are required. It is located near the Disc golf area.

 

Next to the state park is the Farragut Public Shooting Range which provides year-round access to 50, 100, and 200 yard ranges plus trap and archery shooting. When you are hiking in the state park you can sometimes hear the shooting but the trails are well marked with where you can and cannot go.

 

It was great to be back in the area and enjoy all that Lake Pend Oreille and Farragut State Park have to offer. We think Pend Oreille is one of the most beautiful lakes we have ever seen! I am sure we will be back!