Endless Waters, Edges and Islands

From the shores of big lakes to the banks of winding rivers, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests create a tapestry of land and water in the handle of North Idaho. 

Recreation opportunities on the IPNF can be viewed as occuring in 5 fairly broad geographic areas, each centered around one or more distinctive features. These areas are the:

  • Priest Lake Area (Priest Lake Ranger District - flanking scenic Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake)
  • Lower Kootenai River Area (Bonners Ferry Ranger District - rugged mountains surrounding the Kootenai River as it flows through the northern panhandle)
  • Pend Oreille Lake Area (Sandpoint Ranger District - centered around Pend Oreille Lake and its major tributaries - Clark Fork River, Lightning Creek, and Pack River)
  • Coeur d'Alene River Area (Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District - comprised largely of the Coeur d'Alene river basin)
  • St. Joe River Area (St. Joe Ranger District - comprised primarily of the St. Joe River basin)

On our web site you'll find our recreation sites organized by these areas. So, note the area on our forest you'd like to stay or explore and then discover our recreation opportunites. Or, choose an activity and see where on the forest it is offered. Either way, we're sure you'll find exceptional recreation opportunities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The map below shows these areas in relation to the entire Idaho panhandle. These areas are also coincident with our 5 Ranger Districts: Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene River, and St. Joe.  Read more...

St. Joe River Area


.St. Joe River AreaCoeur d Alene River AreaPend Oreille Lake AreaPend Oreille Lake AreaPend Oreille Lake AreaLower Kootenai River AreaLower Kootenai River AreaPriest Lake Area

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Arid Peak Lookout Closed to Visitor
Emerald Creek Campground Open to Visitor
Emerald Creek Garnet Area Open to Visitor Tuesday, June 28, 2016: EARLY CLOSURE at 12:00 p.m. and will reopen, as regularly scheduled, at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 1.
Red Ives Cabin Open to Visitor
Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail for more information.
Settler's Grove Interpretive Trail #162 Closed to Visitor This area experienced significant damage from the 2015 wildfire season. In addition to damage to the trail, the area poses numerous hazards including rolling debris and large hazardous trees that are fire scarred and weakened. Crews will work on improving this area over the summer.
Shadowy St. Joe Campground Open to Visitor
Surveyors Lookout Closed to Visitor Will open as snow allows


Red Ives Cabin

Photo of Red Ives CabinRed Ives Cabin is one of our most popular rental facilities. It served as the Ranger Station for the Red Ives Ranger District of the St. Joe National Forest from the 1930s to 1984. Attractions include its location on the St. Joe Wild and Scenic River.  It is located 86 miles southeast of St. Maries, Idaho on Forest Road 218.

The cabin features 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and covered front porch; propane stove/oven and refrigerator; hot water, flush toilet, and shower/ tub. Propane/battery lanterns are provided for lights and there is a gas log fireplace for heat.  Absolutely no pets. For current conditions click here. For more information please contact the St. Maries Ranger Station at (208) 245-2531.