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The Complete Guide to Idaho's Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake, Idaho is a destination like no other. Located in the North Idaho Panhandle, Spirit Lake is a beautiful and serene location that offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a quiet getaway or an outdoor adventure, Spirit Lake has it all.


In this complete guide to Spirit Lake, you'll find everything you need to know about this amazing place, from its history and natural attractions to where to stay and what to do while you're there. So, let's dive in and explore the Spirit Lake experience!

Spirit Lake Idaho


Location and Geography

Spirit Lake is a lake located in the northern panhandle of Idaho near the Canadian border. It is in Kootenai County, Idaho, and has a population of under 2,000. It is only 25 miles from the large and often-visited Lake Coeur D’Alene.

Kootenai River
An image of the Kootenai River

Once you arrive at Spirit Lake, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the crystal blue waters surrounded by the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountain ranges.


The Spirit Lake area offers a variety of activities for visitors, including fishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, and more. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby forests and mountains which offer plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation.


The lake is pretty large, stretching to over 1,440 acres with a 12-mile shoreline. On average, the lake reaches around 40 feet in depth.



The Town of Spirit Lake, Idaho

Located in the Kootenai River Valley of Northern Idaho, the small town of Spirit Lake is an idyllic destination for those visiting Spirit Lake. Although small, Spirit Lake has plenty to offer visitors, including small-town charm, outdoor activities, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Spirit Lake is just a few miles away from its namesake lake, which offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Cabinet Mountains
The Cabinet Mountains

From fishing and swimming in the summer to snowmobiling in the winter, Spirit Lake is the perfect place for adventurers to get their fill of outdoor exploration. The town itself features a variety of shops, restaurants, and local attractions, as well as nearby trails that can be accessed on foot or by bicycle.


The town has an elevation of 2,569' and a small square mileage of only 2.46. The town borders the beautiful Spirit Lake which is an often overlooked, gorgeous recreation area.


Visitors to Spirit Lake will find a friendly and welcoming community that takes pride in its small-town roots. The town is full of friendly faces who are always happy to help visitors learn more about the area and share their knowledge of the local culture. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of events throughout the year, such as rodeos and festivals.


Wildlife

The Spirit Lake area of Idaho is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Many species of birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals are found in the area, including a variety of migratory birds that visit during the warmer months. The lake itself is home to a variety of fish species, such as rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass, and crappie.


Wildlife commonly seen in the area includes whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, moose, black bear, cougar, coyote, bobcat, beaver, and muskrat. During the winter months, bald eagles can also be spotted in the area. Whether you’re visiting Spirit Lake for its fishing or just for sightseeing, you’re sure to spot some interesting wildlife during your stay. Before visiting Spirit Lake, be sure to check out our guide on how to safely view and interact with wildlife!

Kokanee Salmon
The beautiful Kokanee Salmon


Recreation

Visiting Spirit Lake in Idaho is the perfect place to enjoy some outdoor fun. The lake is excellent for swimming, boating, and kayaking, and it's also surrounded by trails for hiking and biking. You can rent jet skis, paddle boards, and other water sports gear at a nearby marina. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a variety of lakeside activities like volleyball, horseshoes, and beachcombing.


Fishing is also a popular activity on Spirit Lake, with plenty of native species like trout, bass, and perch. With its scenic beauty and range of recreational activities, Spirit Lake is an ideal destination for outdoor adventurers.


Hiking Near Spirit Lake, Idaho

Spirit Lake is an incredible place to hike. Far less busy than its neighbor, Lake Coeur d'Alene, or even the Twin lakes to the south, Spirit Lake offers a few different hiking trails for visitors to explore in solitude. No matter where you are around the lake, there are nearby trails that are worth exploring.


The Inland Empire Tesemini Trail is one popular option. It's just over 3 miles long and should only take you between an hour and an hour and a half to complete. To the north is the Blanchard Creek Trail Loop, an easy 2.5-mile hike you might also want to check out.


We also recommend checking out Mount Spokane State Park to the west. There, you can find even more, far harder hikes to explore. Such as the Quartz Mountain Lookout Trail and the Mount Kit Carson Trail.


Fishing

Spirit Lake is a great destination for anglers looking to catch some of the best fish Idaho has to offer. The lake is home to a variety of species, including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, Kokanee salmon, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and northern pike. When visiting Spirit Lake, you’ll want to be sure to check the regulations in place before fishing.


The Idaho Department of Fish and Game provides a handy guide for fishing at Spirit Lake that can help you prepare for your trip. With its large variety of fish, Spirit Lake is a great spot for any type of angler from beginner to experienced. You can also go south to the nearby Twin Lakes to fish.


Camping

Spirit Lake in Idaho is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to set up camp and explore the area. Unfortuantly, there are many good camping options on the lake, unless you're looking for dispersed camping. Sedlmayer's Resort and Restaurant is one campground option, with spots right near the lake and boat dock.


There are a few options within 10 or so miles of the lake, like:

  • Riley Creek Campground

  • Pioneer Park

  • Springy Point Campground

  • Priest River Campground

We also recommend checking out Idaho's amazing state parks with beautiful, well-maintained campgrounds. For example, we really love Priest Lake State Park and Hells Gate State Park.


Lodging

If you're looking for a place to stay while visiting Spirit Lake, Idaho, there are plenty of lodging options available. From cozy cabins to upscale hotels, Spirit Lake has something to offer every traveler.


For a hotel, the Sedlmayer's Resort and Restaurant is a great option. Located directly on the beach, this waterfront property offers water views and a great menu. There are also recreational activities such as hiking trails and fishing spots nearby.


We also highly recommend checking out the White Horse Saloon Hotel and Restaurant, the oldest operating saloon in all of Idaho!


Other amazing food options include Salt & Pepper on Maine Street and Annie's Country Kitchen on N 5th Ave.


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