Friday, August 14, 2009

Go Underground...

Sierra Silver Mine Tour in Wallace is guided by a retired miner as you walk through the main drift of a real underground silver mine. Your guide will share his own mining stories and will demonstrate the operation of real mining machinery while you experience and learn about historical and modern methods of hard-rock silver mining.
Your tour begins aboard a classic 18 passenger trolley. On the short trip to and from the mine you will be treated to a narrative of the colorful 125 year history of Historic Wallace, "The Silver Capital of the World." Bring your camera and a light sweater, the temperature in the mine stays at about 50° all year. 420 5th Street, Wallace. 752-5151

Crystal Gold Mine in Kellogg is the only authentic gold mine in the Northwest, dating back to the 1880s. Lost for nearly 100 years, it was rediscovered and rejuvinated in 1996. Feel like a prospector with seasonal panning for gold! Bring your camera and a sweater, the mine temperature stays at 48° all year. Easy walking and no climbing makes this guided tour fun for the whole family. The mine is open all year and offers free RV parking. Take Exit 54 off I-90 by the Sunshine Miner’s Memorial and travel two miles west on Silver Valley Road. 783-4653

Pan for gold...

A few miles up the road from Wallace you’ll discover Murray, North Idaho’s living ghost town. A.J. Prichard first discovered gold in Murray in 1881 with more than 10,000 prospectors seeking their fortunes on the Coeur d’Alene River by 1885. While in Murray, enjoy lunch in the shadow of Molly b’Damm at the Sprag Pole Inn & Museum, look over the famous Bedroom Goldmine Bar and try your hand at gold panning (with gold guaranteed every time.) Do not pan local streams without permission. 682-3901

Friday, August 7, 2009

Take a Hike or Ride Your Bike

North Idaho's parks and back country are laced with trails, many leading to lakes or streams, and most offering magnificent viewpoints. Here are just a few to explore:

North Idaho Centennial Trail is a paved course for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters. From the Washington state line, the trail roughly follows the Spokane River through Post Falls, along Northwest Boulevard through City Park and downtown Coeur d'Alene. The eastern end of the trail hugs the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene with numerous picnic tables, exercise stations, and rest stops all the way to Higgins Point. Download map

Tubbs Hill features outstanding viewpoints, woodland habitats and historical focal points. The self-guided walk follows a two-mile loop, beginning and ending at the south end of the parking lot between McEuen Park and the Coeur d'Alene Resort.

Mineral Ridge Trail is a 3.3 mile path that is an outdoor classroom in the forest. There are 22 stations numbered along the trail identifying features found naturally at Mineral Ridge. East of Coeur d'Alene off Hwy 97.

Q'emiln Trail is comprised of 14 trails starting at Q'emiln Park in Post Falls and winding through four miles of the Spokane River gorge.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a rail to trail conversion which began as a path originally used by the Coeur d'Alene Indians that evolved into a mining transportation rail line operating from 1887 until 1992. It has 72 miles of paved path that stretches from Mullan to Plummer. The trail crosses 40 bridges and goes through 13 towns. Download map

Silver Mountain Resort is an all season outdoor adventure, with a number hiking and biking trails and the world's longest gondola. The Silver Mountain Nature Trail is a 2.8 mile loop, accessed at the base of the mountain at the gondola villiage.

The Pulaski Trail is a two-mile interpretive trail that tells the story of 1910 Ranger Edward Pulaski. The trail begins one mile south of Wallace and culminates at the abandoned mine where Pulaski saved his crew.

Canfield Mountain Trail System features more than 32 miles of paths and dirt roads. This is a great trail for beginning riders and hikers.

The Route of the Hiawatha ranges from easy to difficult and takes bikers over alpine lakes and through former railroad tunnels. The route is best known for the long, dark St. Paul or "Taft Tunnel" that burrows for 1.7 miles under the Montana/Idaho state line. One of the best backpacking trails is Coeur d'Alene River Trail #20. Trailhead is at the last Coeur d'Alene River bridge 49 miles from Kingston on Forest Hwy 9. Outstanding 200-300 foot rock formations including Steamboat Rocks and Catherdral Rocks. Download map

Farragut State Park features two bike trails - The Shoreline Trail and the Northside Loop.

Priest Lake Lakeshore Trail #294 is a popular and highly used trail in the area. A simple hike, it is crossed by five streams while paralleling Priest Lake.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort has a vast trail system for hiking or biking.

Spirit Lake-Larch Mountain, a 7.1 mile loop trail that takes you high enough for panoramic views of historic Spirit Lake, both the town and the lake. North on Hwy 41 from Rathdrum. Access the trail from the public boat launch/city beach area.

Hiking & Biking Links
CDA Cycling & Fitness, 2402 Government Way, Coeur d'Alene, 208.667.BIKE
Helmet Outlet, 5648 Gov't Way, Coeur d'Alene, 208.762.3668
Two Wheeler & Ski Dealer, 9551 Hwy 95, Hayden, 208.772.8179
North Idaho College Outdoor Pursuits Program
ROW Adventures - use promo code KAGEY1
Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Idaho State Parks & Recreation
Idaho Bureau of Land Management

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On The Water

More than half of all surface waters in Idaho are here in the panhandle. Find foam-flecked river rapids that challenge the whitewater rafter to glassy, quiet lakes perfect for canoes. There are dozens of public beaches and swimming holes and a few rivers to float down.

Book a rafting, kayaking or fishing excursion with ROW Adventure Center. Mention promo code KAGEY1 to receive a discount off their many services. 800-451-6034

Looking to captain your own boat or personal watercraft for a day on Lake Coeur d'Alene? Give Vacation Sports Rental a call! Skis, tubes and wake boards are available with boat rentals. 888-665-0686

Experience Hells Canyon, North America's deepest gorge, with River Quest Excursions. They offer tours of the Snake River in a comfortable and uncrowded jet boat. Day trips and overnight packages available. 800-589-1129

Monday, August 3, 2009

World Class Golf

Greens like velvet, fairways shaded by Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs, and tees with million-dollar views of mountains and lakes. This is what's in store when you tee off at any of North Idaho's challenging and scenic golf courses.

The Highlands in Post Falls is atop a hill overlooking the city. This 18-hole public golf course is known for it's grass driving range, one of the last in the area. The Grill & Tap House, their on-site full service restaurant, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Just steps away from the pristine waters of Hayden Lake is Avondale Golf Club. The 18 hole, 6,600 yard public course is surrounded by spectacular wooded scenery. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be enjoyed at The Water Hazard Bar & Grill.

Twin Lakes Village Golf Club is adjacent to Lower Twin Lake just north of Rathdrum. On a clear day the elevated tee box at hole 3 offers a specatular view nearly to Montana! Great views can also be found at Bunkers, their full service restaurant.

The 620-acre Circling Raven Golf Club at the Coeur d'Alene Casino is one of Golf Magazine's "Top 100 You Can Play". The course is a short 25-miles south of Coeur d'Alene off Hwy 95. Inside the clubhouse is the Twisted Earth Grill, their full service restaurant.

Nestled on the north shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene is the Coeur d'Alen Resort Golf Course which features the world's only floating green. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Floating Green Restaurant and Snack Bar overlooking the 14th tee.