Upper Priest Lake

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 What:  Kayaking, canoeing, hiking, camping, and biking (though this page focusses on the great kayak/canoe potential). Huge quantities of willow-like trees by the water easily allow construction of frames for sweatlodges, but you must then bring a large enough tarp to cover such. This is my favorite near to Spokane lake for kayaking/camping although I only go in early spring, or fall, or when weather is forecasted as bad since it is fairly crowded. Early spring when all the nearby mountains are snow covered is great, but bring cook stove as wood is soaked. Paddle down the thoroughfare while raining and you may see bear & cougar. The white sand beaches that abound up here are a delight. Can you find the giant huckleberry patches in early July? Explore the river that feeds the upper lake for even more fun, isolation, wildlife, and old growth areas. The Selkirk mountains around the lake are home to the only known group of woodland caribou in the United States. They eat the the arboreal lichen that greenish-gray mosslike plant that you have seen hanging from the branches of conifers. This lichen tends to grow only on trees that are a century old. These caribou are on the edge of extinction. Here is a whole web site on Priest Lake with some good weather/history/maps. Here is a map.
 Where:  From Spokane, take Hwy 2 north 40 miles to Newport, and from there head on through town staying on the main street which will take you across the Pendoreille river and then after a few miles to Priest River the town. Right away in town take a left as signs clearly indicate on Hwy 57 and go about 30 miles to Nordman. At Nordman take a right turn on a small road to Beaver Creek campground and go down to the boat ramp for boating, or up the the portage for hiking. At the boat launch, paddle out to the left and hug the shore if you want and keep turning left and this will lead you upstream the thoroughfare as the river is called to the Upper part of the lake. There is no development allowed on this lake. The thoroughfare is about 2 miles long, but it is worth it. Canoeing it can be tiresome unless one is proficient. In a Kayak there is no problem even when spring flows peak. The campsites are spread evenly around the lake side, though you must paddle close to see them hidden behind the trees. Most of the good ones have white sand beaches making them visible.
 Cautions:  Mt lions, black bears are around, but just be loud if hiking, and be clean with food handling. (call the ranger to see if they have plowed the road yet as the altitude precludes entry until then.
 List:  There is lots of fresh water, but you do need a good filter as in a sweetwater type. Lots of wood so bring hatchet/axe. Email Us