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Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene

Lakes in IdahoThe largest city in the county of Kootenai as well as in northern Idaho Panhandle is Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The population is approximately 44,137 and just 30 miles west of satellite city of Spokane. These two cities are the key piece of the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Combined Statistical Area. Coeur d’Alene is located directly on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene which is 25 miles in length and is known as the Lake City.

Over the most recent years, Coeur d’Alene has gotten largely bigger, part of which was due to the solid growth in tourism brought to Coeur d’Alene by many resorts in the area. Many call it a little piece of heaven and find it a fascinating place to visit. In 2007 it was on Good Morning America as it’s festive lighting ceremony is among the largest in the US. The downtown of Coeur d’Alene is full of a 165-acre natural area call Tubbs Hill. Also, close by to it is Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort north in Sandpoint.

Coeur d’Alene is named after the Coeur d’Alene Native Americans who occupied the land along the rivers and lakes in the area of 5,500 square miles covering into Washington and Montana. The Coeur d’Alene natives called themselves Schitsu’umsh meaning “The Discovered People” in Salishan languages.


The area was explored by David Thompson which worked for the North West Company that started in 1807. The Oregon boundary dispute came along due to the competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the 19th century. Trading ties extending from Canada to the British and the British had started to settle in the present-day British Columbia, in addition to the Fort Astoria on the Pacific coast by the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Treaty of Oregon in 1846 ended the disagreement and joint occupation of the area in present-day Idaho when Britain gave up rights to the land south of the 49th parallel to the US. General William T. Sherman gave an order for a fort to be built on the lake in the 1870s and named it Fort Coeur d’Alene. The name of the fort then changed to Fort Sherman in honor of the general. The community college of North Idaho now sits on the land of the former fort site.

Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene — Activities and Geology


There are several activities to entertain your time in Coeur d’Alene, some planned to encourage the urban escapist looking for extreme adventure, other activities that are great for vacations, fun, and relaxation. There are a lot of festivals and fairs that bridge the range of fun to elegant. Some of the events are things such as Art Walk feature through seven block streets. Downtown you can find a six-block area that has over a hundred merchants where you can find unique, eclectic treasures. Along with shopping, there are also adventures like Whitewater Rafting, Fishing, Kayaks, Stand up paddle boarding, motorboats and more for rent, Lake Tours and lessons, bike rides, horseback riding and much more.

Snuggled between three mountain ranges on the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, with a broad diversity of outdoor recreation, arts and cultural events that happen often. The largest city in the county of Bonner County Idaho is Sandpoint. It has a population of approximately 7,365. It economic benefactors come from light manufacturing, tourism, forest products, recreation and government services. The two northern Idaho counties of Bonner and Boundary have the largest service centers and has an active retail sector. Sandpoint has the headquarters of Coldwater Creek, headquarters of Litehouse Foods, a national women’s apparel retailer, national salad dressing manufacturer and Quest Aircraft.

Idaho’s largest lake is Lake Pend Oreille which is 43 miles long and Sandpoint lies on its shore and is surrounded by three major mountain ranges, Bitterroot, Cabinet, and Selkirk. Home to Schweitzer Mountain Resort which is the largest ski resort in Idaho. It is also on two different byways, the Wild Horse Trail and Pend Oreille Scenic Byway. The Salish Natives constructed camps on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille each summer where they fished, made baskets and collected huckleberries and then returned to Washington or Montana in the fall. This ended in 1930.

Much like Coeur d’Alene, David Thompson explored Sandpoint in 1807. The Oregon dispute and treaty also expanded to Sandpoint. The European and Chinese settlers came by Northern Pacific Railroad in the 1880s. Theodore Roosevelt at the age of twenty-nine visited Sandpoint on a caribou hunting trip to the Selkirk Mountains. Theodore Roosevelt documented what a rough terrain Sand Point was at the time. Sandpoint was then officially appointed a town in 1898.

There are community organizations who put on a several regionally known annual events. Some of which are Sandpoint Winter Carnival, the festival at Sandpoint summer music festival, and The Idaho State Draft Horse International show.

Along with the many festivals that Sandpoint offers, it also offers several other opportunities such as Silverwood Theme Park, Boulder Beach Water Park and Scarywood which is the Northwest’s largest theme park. Other activities such as art and film events, Northwest Wine Fest, Panida Theater, Biking on various trails such as the Gold Hill Trail, Mineral Point Interpretive Trail. If you are looking to stay overnight there is camping both RV and tent camping. For winter sports there are the ski slopes such as Farragut State park, Priest Lake Nordic Center, Schweitzer XC Trails.

If you are looking for a few differences in the two cities here are a few. If you are looking to be a little closer to the mountainous areas and the laid-back feel, you want to reach for Sandpoint. Sandpoint is the perfect day trip venture. For those who are looking for more Coeur d’Alene is the way to go.

Both Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint you will find some of the most amazing recreational activities offered all four seasons. Both have a great historically history, watersports, boating fishing, skiing, etc. Whether you are taking a trip to Idaho and looking for a place to explore, looking for a day trip in the Northern part of Idaho or moving to the beautiful Idaho Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint are worth the consideration.

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