|Early winter snows combined with trail elevations in excess of 6,000 feet create the ideal conditions for a snowmobiling paradise at Priest Lake. A 400+ mile groomed trail system that surrounds the lake coupled with 523,000 acres of public land provide a wide range of snowmobiling opportunities. If you are a muscle machine aficionado, Priest Lake has innumerable off-trail bowls, ridges and 'mountain goat' hill climbing challenges that will test the mettle of man and machine. On the other hand, if you are a trail rider who enjoys fantastic views from high mountain trails and the beauty of Mother Nature's winter wonderland of snow laden tree branches arching over a groomed trail deep in forest, Priest Lake is a dream come true --and don't be surprised if moose, whitetail deer and an occasional elk are observed along your route. Open snowfield playgrounds suitable for family fun also abound in the area. All of these factors combine to make Priest Lake a snowmobilers delight where overcrowding is never a problem and complete snowmobile services are readily available.
To compliment Mother Nature's masterpiece of snowmobiling paradise, the INN at PRIEST LAKE offers an ideal location and superb amenities for a snowmobile weekend or vacation. Start with location --is snowmobiling from your doorstep appealing? If so, you will have it at the Inn. Simply stated, exit your richly appointed room, jump on your sled and GO!!! The Inn's location provides direct access into the groomed trail system and is also centrally located between major trail attractions on both sides of the lake. When staying at the Inn, you are within minutes of snowfield playgrounds and bowls ideal for families as well as the most challenging terrain suitable only for expert riders.
Go north from the Inn to the portion of the trail system that parallels the east side of the lake. Along this route, enjoy high mountain trails with the very best vistas of the lake and the Selkirk Mountains, then traverse down deep canyons along such scenic creeks as Soldier Creek, Indian Creek, and Two Mouth Creek. Side excursions to the top of 6,298-foot Sundance Mountain or into Lost Creek Bowl, an easily accessible bowl that is extremely well suited as a family fun area, are within a short ride from the Inn. A bit further north, but still within a few minutes ride from the Inn, the playground at Camels Prairie provides great fun for riders of all skill levels. The roaring fire inside the Camels Prairie warming hut is often a welcome respite from the rigors of hard riding or playing in this popular area. Camels Prairie is also the gateway into Echo Bowl which provides some of the most challenging sledding terrain in the area. It's a superb play area for expert level 'high markers', hill climbers, and all those who enjoy the thrill of riding 'on the edge'. As you continue to travel north and begin your descent into Indian Creek canyon be sure to stop and gaze at the close-up sight of a Priest Lake landmark, Chimney Rock. Then continue towards the far northern area of the trail system to enjoy more playgrounds and scenic views. Along the trail leading to the Mollies, stop and enjoy the awesome sight of the massive granite cliffs along Caribou Creek canyon, and shortly thereafter as you ascend from the canyon, magnificent views of Lookout Mountain and other mountain peaks along the Selkirk crest will beckon for your attention. As you enter the Mollies area, you will be greeted by more off-trail snowfields, powder bowls, hill climbing challenges, etc. From the Mollies, you may continue west into the Granite Pass area trails and then south on the trails that continue along the west side of the lake and eventually back to the Inn in Coolin. Alternatively, you may return back to the Inn along different segments of the east side trails.
If you prefer, the west side trails are also easily accessible from the Inn's doorstep. As you head west from the Inn, you will cross Jack Pine flats and may want to take a short side trip to the top of Whitetail Butte before crossing Priest River on the newly constructed recreational vehicle bridge. From here you have several trail alternatives. You may head west into the the Pyramid Pass / South Baldy Mountain region where you will undoubtedly enjoy a few playful hours on the expansive snowfield atop South Baldy. Its grand panoramic vista also make it an idyllic setting for a picnic lunch (which the Inn can prepare for you), or for simply pausing to reflect, marvel and appreciate Mother Nature. You may choose to go north into the Lamb Creek-Bismark Mountain-Indian Mountain portions of the trail system. These trail segments are characterized by deeply forested areas as well as many excellent observation points. From this area, you can continue to the Granite Pass area, on to the Mollies area and complete the circuit back to the Inn via the east side trails described above. A new route alternative for the 2001-02 season is a groomed trail between Coolin and Schweitzer Mountain Resort. This 25-mile (one-way) trail affords the unique experience of sledding to a Schweitzer Mountain Resort ski lift, riding the lift to Schweitzer Mountain village to enjoy the many amenities located there, and then returning to Coolin. These are but a few of the many, many trail route combinations you can choose when you make the INN AT PRIEST LAKE your snowmobiling headquarters. The friendly staff at the Inn is fully knowledgeable on all aspects of snowmobiling in the Priest Lake Basin. Each staff member stands ready and willing to assist you in making your snowmobiling experience a truly memorable one.
Bring your own sleds and park your trailer free in the Inn's spacious parking lot. This level blacktop lot is the largest of all parking facilities at area resorts and is plowed as required throughout the winter season. Rental sleds are available from local rental businesses and arrangements can be made to have your rental sled delivered to the Inn, ready to ride by 8:00am. Full services to include gas, sled repairs and parts service, groceries, a gift shop and a US post office are located within two blocks of the Inn.
As each day of your snowmobiling excitement dwindles into the stillness and beauty of dusk in the Selkirks, your return to the Inn can be greeted by a relaxing dip in the outdoor pool that is maintained at spa temperature. Then, top off your day's adventure with a get-together with friends in front of the massive fireplace in the Great Room or in the casual atmosphere of Kimberly's Lounge where stories of the day's wildlife sightings, postcard quality vistas, and perhaps, a few slightly embellished stories of extraordinary snowmobiling feats are exchanged with great humor and vigor. You can make it all happen for you, your family and friends with a simple telephone call or e-mail to the INN AT PRIEST LAKE. Don't be surprised if your snowmobiling experience with the INN AT PRIEST LAKE becomes an annual family tradition --as it has for many others. The Inn also offers special discounted club and group packages, substantial mid-week discounts, sled rental discounts, guided tour arrangements, and trail maps..
|NEW FOR 2002-2003: Three self-guided loop tours, as described below, originate from the Inn and lead to some of the best snowmobiling terrain at Priest Lake. Color-coded loop route maps are available at the front desk for your convenience.
|THE SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT LOOP (The Purple Route) is a spectacular day trip to one of the finest ski resorts in North Idaho. Sweeping vistas of the Selkirk Mountains and Priest Lake, pristine snow covered trees, and well groomed trails are your companions on the 80-mile round trip loop. At the top of Schweitzer Mountain, you can survey the mountain peaks extending into Canada and Montana. Park your sled in the reserved parking area amd ride the chair lift to Schweitzer Village for lunch, shopping or a quick day of skiing. NOTE: This loop tour must be made in the morning as the chair lift from Schweitzer Village closes at approximately 2:30pm. Please ensure you check with the lift operator for the departure time of the last chair lift to the snowmobile parking area at the top of the mountain.
|Big and Bad!!!--BOWL BOULEVARD LOOP (The Green Route) is a powder hound's dream. Four of the premier "Eastside Extreme" powder bowls await your high mark expertise on this tour. With elevations up to 7,000 feet, these bowls range from easy access to skilled riders only. Echo Bowl is probably the most famous powder bowl at Priest Lake and is accessed from the Camels Prairie warming hut. Those not quite as adventurous can ride several miles of groomed trails leading from the warming hut or sit by the fire while the bold tour Echo Bowl. North and South Lost Peak Bowls and Billy Bowl offer superb open play areas and are easily accessible. the range of terrain is ideal for those just learning the 'religion' of powder boon docking. Round trip of approximately 55 miles depending on the number of bowls visited --and memories for a lifetime!
|The BALDY LOOP (The Blue Route) features forested country to ride through and massive open areas at the summit to play in. Incredible panoramic views of the Selkirk mountains, Priest Lake and Inland Empire basin. Enjoy the amenities of the "Ritz" warming hut between treks. Round trip of approximately 100 miles.
|SECOND GROOMER!! What could make snowmobiling life at Priest Lake even better? The addition of a second groomer to keep your favorite trail in tip top shape. A great addition for the 2002-03 season.
|For even more information on the superb snowmobiling opportunities at Priest Lake, see the article entitled Priest Lake Paradise -- Lakeside Sledding Mecca in the December 2000 issue of SnoWest magazine--or click on the SnoWest icon to view a web site reproduction of the article.
In addition, the following publications have carried recent feature articles on the superb snowmobiling opportunities at Priest Lake--
|uSouth Dakota Sno-Plainsman||uMinnesota Snowmobiling|
|uISSA Snow Biz||uWSSA SnoFlyer|
|uCal-Neveda Snow Assoc Snow Tracks|
| All photos on this page courtesy of Jon Stanley
|For the latest Priest Lake Groomed Trails update, click here:|
|Inn at Priest Lake
PO Box 189
5310 Dickensheet Road
Coolin, ID 83821
FAX (208) 443-4205