Recreation Overview

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. The Forest has been and continues to be the lifeline for local communities. Silver, gold and large timber drew settlers to the area. Remnant roads that once led to work now lead to play, and treasures sought are now recreational - water-based activities, winter uses and the traditional hiking, hunting, fishing and gathering.

More than half the state’s surface water is on the Forest. These vast lakes and miles of rivers support a world class fishery. Rich in wildlife, the Forest is home to large game such as elk and deer, as well as species such as grizzly bears, wolves and caribou that add to the sense of “wildness”. From lush evergreen mountains to the shores of big waters, the Idaho Panhandle National Forest has a rich history that continues to link families and forest. Historic cabins and lookouts dot the landscape, while significant places such as Hiawatha Trail, Marble Creek Historic District, and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail add depth to the heritage. Fire has, and continues to play an important role in the landscape’s evolution. Forest roads and trails trace the past of American Indians, mining, logging, and Forest Service History. Today these roads provide easy recreational access.