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Northern Exposure: Discovering Priest Lake, Idaho

Hop in the car and head north. No, a little further. Yes, further still! That's where we discovered the incredible natural beauty of Priest Lake.

Welcome to northern Idaho, Priest Lake at Elkins Resort

The Idaho Panhandle

Way up in northern Idaho, 80 miles northeast of Spokane, at nearly the very end of Highway 57, you'll find a gorgeous oasis called Priest Lake.

It's very big at nineteen miles long, well over 300 feet deep, and home to 6 different resorts and multiple campgrounds.

Map of Priest Lake

Priest Lake is located in the northern Idaho Panhandle, at almost the very tip. In fact, it's just fifteen miles from the Canadian border!

Those mountains in the distance? That's Canada.

On the Lake

With a lake this big, there are a lot of activities available no matter what season. Biking, hiking, golf, fishing, paddle boarding, and boating is in the summer months. In the wintertime, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are very popular.

Paddle boarding on Priest Lake

We rented a pontoon boat and spent two days exploring the lake. I would recommend this! What an excellent way to explore the many different areas of the lake and see beautiful scenery, animals, and all the lakeside homes.

The view from our rented pontoon boat, Priest Lake


There are a lot of hiking trails, and so much to see! Like this mushroom, which dwarfed any mushroom we'd ever seen.

We had to get a photo with our dog next to it for scale. Yes, our dog is pretty small, but still, this is just a mushroom we're talking about!


You'll see a lot of wildlife here, such as deer, bear, and moose.

During our time visiting, we saw deer quite often. We were very fortunate and saw a moose from the road. So amazing!


As I mentioned earlier, there are six different resorts around this vast lake, as well as many campgrounds that accommodate tent and RV campers.

We're partial to Elkins Resort! It's a beautifully maintained property and has a great history. It was built in the 1930's by Ike Elkin, and in addition to the main lodge and adjacent public buildings, it also has 32 private cabins available for nightly rental.

Elkins Resort offers impressive food too. Not that you need to stay at the resort to enjoy it, but hey, it's sure nice to leisurely walk home from dinner. Read Great Food with a Stunning View: What to Eat at Priest Lake.

From a great distance across the lake, those signature red Adirondack chairs are easy to spot!

So many red chairs! Elkins Resort
Path to the boat dock, Elkins Resort
Evening view from Cabin #32, Elkins Resort
Dusk on the beach, Priest Lake at Elkins Resort

Priest Lake, Idaho, is genuinely such a natural beauty. We are confident we will be back for future visits. If you have the opportunity to explore Priest Lake, good for you! I'd love to hear about your visit.

Happy travels!



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