8.1. OVERVIEW: Boundary County is endowed with public lands unparalleled for unstructured outdoor recreation, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, bicycling, hiking, climbing, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, rafting, etc. Idaho Panhandle National Forest offers many recreational opportunities, including camping and picnicking, cabin and lookout rentals, fishing and hunting, mountain biking and all-terrain vehicle riding. There are many high country lakes, spectacular peaks, waterfalls and other beautiful places to visit. There are also more than 1,000 miles of roads available in the area. Additional recreational facilities to meet the needs of the community have been built by private enterprise and by volunteer effort. Recreation has and will continue to be an important part of local commerce.
8.2.1. Idaho Panhandle National Forest campgrounds and picnic areas:
188.8.131.52. Robinson Lake Campground: Offers 10 camp units (three handicap accessible), potable water, handicap access pit toilets, a boat ramp and day use area with two picnic units. The lake is on 60-acres and offers fishing, hiking and swimming opportunities. The lake is seven miles south of Eastport on Highway 95.
184.108.40.206. Copper Creek Campground: Offers 16 camp units (three handicap accessible), potable water and accessible pit toilets. Attractions include Copper Falls, the Moyie River, hiking and fishing opportunities. The campground is one mile south of Eastport.
220.127.116.11. Smith Lake Campground: Offers seven camp units, potable water, pit toilets, a boat ramp and day-use area with three picnic units. The lake offers swimming, fishing and boating opportunities. The location is five miles north of Bonners Ferry, then two miles west on Smith Lake Road.
18.104.22.168. Meadow Creek Campground: Offers 22 camp units, potable water, and pit toilets. Meadow Creek and the nearby Moyie River offer fishing opportunities, and huckleberries can be found nearby. Located 11 miles north of Highway 2 on Meadow Creek Road.
22.214.171.124. Brush Lake Picnic Area: Offers four picnic sites, pit toilets, and a day-use area with recreational fishing opportunities. The area is 18 miles north of Bonners Ferry on Highway 95, then three miles southeast on Forest Service Road 1004.
126.96.36.199. Stampede Off-Highway Vehicle Park: Offers trails which are popular with both motorized users and horseback riders.
8.3. PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS AND PICNIC AREAS: Several private camping and picnicking areas are located within Boundary County.
8.4. IDAHO PANHANDLE NATIONAL FORESTS CABIN AND LOOKOUT RENTALS: (For information, contact the Bonners Ferry Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, (208) 267-5561.)
8.4.1. Shorty Peak Lookout: Located 45 miles northwest of Bonners Ferry off Forest Service Road 282. Requires a 2.5-mile hike. Breathtaking views of the Creston Valley and surrounding mountains are offered. There is a four-person maximum, with sleeping accommodations for two. The peak is at an elevation of 6,515 feet, and is in a grizzly habitat area.
8.4.2. Snyder Guard Station: Located 22 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry on the Moyie River Road. It sits on the banks of the Moyie River, and was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1982. Accommodations include one double bed, two cots, and a set of bunk beds. A corral is available for horses.
8.4.3. Deer Ridge Lookout: Located 24 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry off Highway 2. The 40-foot lookout tower offers a panoramic view of the Moyie River Valley and the Selkirk Mountains to the west. There is a four-person maximum, and seating/sleeping accommodations for one.
8.5. BOUNDARY COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION: Boundary County is committed to providing safe recreational opportunities for the citizens and visitors in our community, and maintain, through a Parks and Recreation Board, two public parks and two public boat launch facilities, offering an array of structured activities for youth and adults alike.
8.5.1. Boundary County Fairgrounds: Managed by an appointed board, the Boundary County Fairgrounds are located immediately west of downtown Bonners Ferry. The fairgrounds holds a multitude of annual events, including the Kootenai River Rodeo, motocross, demolition derby, 4-H and open horse shows, and, of course, the Boundary County Fair, complete with a family fun night event.
8.5.2. Memorial Park: Located by the Boundary County Fairgrounds, boasting a playground, a covered pavilion for family or group functions, picnic facilities, a dump station for recreational vehicles and one of the best skateboard parks in North Idaho. In addition, there are four softball fields, a soccer field and lighted tennis courts.
8.5.3. Riverside Park: Located just off the District 2 Road at the north end of the Kootenai River Bridge, featuring two softball diamonds and bleachers to allow spectators to watch either game. A number of local and regional tournaments are held at Riverside Park each summer. In addition, the park features a natural area developed by local Boy Scouts and volunteers, featuring a pond, native flora and a beautiful habitat for birds and other animals.
8.5.4. Boat Launches: Boundary County owns and maintains two public boat launches on the Kootenai River which also provide docks for fishing. The Deep Creek Boat Launch, located on Riverside Street between Bonners Ferry and the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, features restroom facilities and picnic tables. The Copeland Launch, located on Copeland Road north of the Mt. Hall Junction, has restroom facilities and enters into one of the smoothest parts of the river.
8.6. TRAILS: HIKING, BICYCLING AND EQUESTRIAN:
8.6.1. The spectacular beauty of Boundary County can often best be seen and experienced when traveling by foot. Hikers can choose easy walks on a well-established trail or multiple-day treks in the wilderness. There are more than 300 miles of trails open to foot, stock, bicycle and some motorized traffic in the Panhandle National Forest land contained in Boundary County. Many of these trails lead to high mountain lakes, where other recreation, such as fishing and camping, can be enjoyed.
8.6.2. Bicycles are also becoming a more popular form of recreation in the county. The local Rotary Club helps organize the Kootenai River Ride in the fall that offers scenic views along county roads. Old Forest Service roads make perfect mountain bike trails when logging is no longer taking place. The Forest Service suggests seeking closed roads to avoid motorized traffic. Mountain bikers are still discovering new trails to cruise that offer a wide variety of backcountry stops. A few areas suggested for exploring are the Snow Creek/Myrtle Creek Loop, Boulder Creek, Clifty Mountain or Katka. Exceptions are any restricted hiking trails developed for foot traffic only or for handicap access.
8.6.3. Boundary County’s rural character offers the opportunity for horse ownership and many areas for horseback riding. Local trails can be ridden to provide scenic, camping and hunting opportunities. The Kootenai River Rodeo is held annually at the Boundary County Fairgrounds. The Back Country Horsemen of Idaho – Selkirk Valley Chapter is a non-profit organization with 15-chapters spread throughout our beautiful state. The Back Country Horsemen are dedicated to perpetuating common-sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness. They work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use and assist the various government and private agencies in maintenance and management of those areas.
8.6.4. The following is a partial list of some of the area’s favorite hiking trails:
188.8.131.52.Roman Nose Lakes Trails: #160 and #165 located 23 miles southwest of Bonners Ferry via Snow Creek Road #402, Road #1007 through Caribou Pass and Road #2667. Vehicle access to Roman Nose Lake #3, limited camping and picnicking, day hikes to other lakes one to two miles away. High mountain vistas of the Selkirk Crest, including the Sundance Fire area.
184.108.40.206.Pyramid-Ball Lakes Trails: #13 and #43. Located 43.23 miles northwest of Bonners Ferry. From Highway 1, turn west on Copeland Road, found in the Trout Creek drainage via Road 2667. Vehicle access to trailhead on Upper Trout Creek. Easy 1.3-mile hike to Pyramid Lake, one-half mile further to Ball Lake.
220.127.116.11.Queen Lake and Mountain Trail #152. Fifteen miles northeast of Bonners Ferry via Meadow Creek Road #229 and Queen Mountain Road #2542. Moderate half-mile hike to lake from trailhead, over mountain is three-quarters of a mile further. Excellent views of the Moyie River valley and the Purcell Mountains.
18.104.22.168.Two Mouths Lake Trail #268. Fifteen miles west of Bonners Ferry in the Myrtle Creek drainage via Road #633. Vehicle access to trailhead in Upper Myrtle Creek. Moderate 5.5-mile hike to lake.
22.214.171.124.Clifty Mountain Trail #182. Eighteen miles southeast of Bonners Ferry via Twenty Mile Road #408 and Black Mountain Road #274.Vehicle access to trailhead is at saddle east of Black Mountain. Moderate 1.5-mile hike to Clifty Mountain. Outstanding views of Bonners Ferry, the Kootenai Valley, the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.
126.96.36.199.Red Top (Hidden Lake) Trail #102. From Highway 1, turn west on Copeland Road to Smith Creek Road #281 to #2545 to trailhead. Short hike to high elevation lake with good views and opportunities for spotting wildlife. Watch for bears!
188.8.131.52.Long Canyon Trail #16. From Highway 1, turn west on County Road 18 to the Westside Road trailhead. Remote, roadless drainage from the Kootenai River Valley to the Selkirk Crest with excellent views of Long and Parker Canyons and walks through old-growth forest. The full loop is 32-miles miles long and makes a good four- or five-day backpacking trip.
8.7.1. Fishermen can choose from a variety of fishable waters in Boundary County from 290-miles of streams and rivers to sub-alpine, high mountain and other lakes. The range of species includes rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass, crappie, brook trout, sunfish and whitefish. Small lake fishing with boats is best at Brush, Solomon, Perkins, Smith, Dawson, Bonner and Robinson Lakes. Recommended high mountain lakes include Roman Nose, Bottleneck, Snow and Cooks, Two Mouth, Myrtle, Hidden, West Fork and Caribou Lakes. Creeks most suitable for fishing include Snow, Myrtle, Deep, Grass, Cow, Parker, Long Canyon, Deer, Canuck and Boulder Creeks.
8.7.2. Fly fishing is recommended on several rivers including the Kootenai River and Moyie River, where wild trout will challenge and delight the fly fisherman. Other fly fishing waters include Smith, Ball, Trout and Caribou Creeks.
8.7.3. For specifics on fishing waters, contact local sports shops or call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 769-1414, or the department’s wildlife biologist at (208) 267-3115.
8.8. HUNTING: With more than 400,000-acres of National Forest lands in the county, Boundary County offers many promising hunting grounds. Hunters can take advantage of seasons for elk, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, moose, cougar and other big game as well as several species of birds. The Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, just a few miles west of Bonners Ferry, is a popular site for bird hunting.
8.9. WATER RELATED RECREATION:
8.9.1. The Kootenai River provides both recreational rafting and power boating opportunities. The river north of Bonners Ferry is suited to rafting, river boating and fishing. South of Bonners Ferry, the river is deep and wide enough for sports such as water skiing. Private launch points include Twin Rivers Canyon Resort.
8.9.2. The Moyie River provides abundant rafting/kayaking opportunities. The river above Meadow Creek Campground provides mostly recreational rafting, while the river below provides more whitewater rafting opportunities. The river can be accessed south of Eastport on Highway 95 at County Road 211. There are five bridges where the river can be accessed for put in and take out. A good place for recreational rafters to land is at Meadow Creek Campground, open for day use to picnickers and fishermen. Local outfitting and guide services are also available in the spring.
8.9.3. Many local creeks and lakes are available for swimming in the warm season.
8.10. OFF ROAD VEHICLES, ATVS:
8.10.1. The Stampede Lake OHV area offers multi-use recreation and is popular with motorized users for activities such as dirt-biking and four-wheeling.
8.10.2. Boundary County’s backcountry wilderness is full of wide open play areas and has miles of groomed access trails that can take you from elevations of 2,000-feet to over 7,000-feet. The Boundary County area offers more than 100 -miles of marked and groomed snowmobile trails. Some of the most popular areas include:
184.108.40.206. The Roman Nose area just southwest of Bonners Ferry in the Selkirk Mountains. Includes the famed Roman Nose peak, standing at 7,200 feet and one of the top destinations for backcountry sledders. The Sundance forest fire of 1967 left a wide area open that today offers challenges for every riding ability. Access is made from Naples, ten miles south of Bonners Ferry on U.S. 95, via Ruby Creek or Fall Creek Roads, or take Snow Creek Road four miles southwest of Bonners Ferry. The Lloyd Hughes Snowmobile Park provides approximately 44-miles of trails in the Fall Creek/Ruby Creek/Snow Creek trail system.
220.127.116.11. About 13 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry in the Canuck Basin are the beautiful Purcell Mountains, where grand vistas of Canada and Montana can be seen from the high ridges. The best time to snowmobile on Copper Trail is from November to April; access is by Deer Creek Road or from the Copper Creek Campground near Eastport.
18.104.22.168. The Smith Creek/Cow Creek area in northern Boundary County. On Highway 1, turn west at Copeland, cross the Kootenai River and follow the Westside Road north to Smith Creek Road. The Smith, Cow and Grass Creek drainages have wide open bowls and high-running ridges.
8.11. WINTER SPORTS: When snow covers the backcountry of Boundary County, a whole new world is opened up for anyone wishing to venture on cross-country skis or even snowshoes. Hiking trails can be explored in the Canuck Basin in the Purcell Mountains or the Boulder Creek areas in the Cabinet Mountains, or the magnificent Selkirk Crest. While the Forest Service doesn’t currently groom or maintain cross-country ski trails, they recommend trying roads plowed for on-going timber sales on the weekends when there’s no commercial traffic. For groomed trails, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is located 37-miles south of Bonners Ferry near Sandpoint. There are also several low-lying lakes that are excellent for ice skating and ice fishing in mid-winter.
8.12. PARKWAYS AND SCENIC DRIVES: The beauty of Boundary County can also be enjoyed with a scenic drive. Important areas open to vehicles include the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Elk Mountain Farms and the McArthur Wildlife Management Area. Outstanding views of the Kootenai River valley, Bonners Ferry and the Selkirk Mountains can be seen from the Katka overlook. The Black Mountain lookout can also be reached by vehicle. Waterfalls that can be viewed from nearby roads include Copper Falls, Myrtle Creek Falls, Smith Creek Falls and Snow Creek Falls. Other popular attractions include the Boulder City Ghost Town, the Moyie River Overlook and Bridge, which also has a picnic area.
8.13. OTHER RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES/FACILITIES: Additional recreational opportunities in Boundary County include:
8.13.1. Golf – Mirror Lake Golf Course is owned by the City of Bonners Ferry and located just south of town on U.S. 95.
8.13.3. Athletic clubs
8.13.5. Berry and mushroom picking
8.13.6. Snow camping.
Chapter 9, Population a