Wednesday, August 11, 2010

North Fork Coeur d'Alene River, Shoshone County, Idaho

Backroad Destination- North Fork Coeur d'Alene River, Shoshone County, Idaho

North Idaho was home for several years.  There are lots of areas to explore outside of the big lakes that get all the press.  The only problem is those pesky landforms tend to limit the amount of boondocking locations.  However, the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River has a paved two lane road running for miles and miles.  Off the pavement there are boondocking locations along the river.  You do have to get to the upper river to find most of the campsites.  The Forest Service does has a 14 day dispersed camping limit and it is posted.

To get to the area take Exit 43 off I-90 and head north.  You will quickly cross the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.  There is a trailhead for the bicycle trail heading both east and west.  See the previous post for additional details on the bicycle trail. 

Directly across the road from the trailhead is the SnakePit.  An Idaho institution since 1880 which is a very long time for Idaho.  Here is the link to the  Snake Pit.  Do not let the name put you off, there are no snakes, but lots of good food.  Susie had the Malibu Chicken and it was good.  However,  Malibu Chicken in Idaho and at the Snake Pit!!

.The lower river is a "second home" for many residents of the Silver Valley and their RV's are parked along the floodplain all summer long.   The lower stretch of the river is perfect for an inner tube and a long float down river.  So do not forget to bring your favorite floating water toy for a perfect trip down the river.

The river offers good fly fishing for cutthroat trout which is catch and release only.  The upper river has few people floating so the fishing might be better up there.  However, during the summer bikini hatch the scenery might be better at the lower end.

As you get higher up there are Forest Service facilities.   At the old Shoshone Work Center there is a dump station with a $7 fee.  Kit Price Campground is $16 night with fairly long spurs.  I did not measure them, but it appears you can get a decent sized trailer into them.  Big Hank Campground has shorter, but wider spurs.  I would stay away from Devil's Gulch since those spurs are fairly small.  All campgrounds are on the river and wonderful locations.

Farther up the river is the Coeur d' Alene River trail.  Here is the link:Coeur d'Alene River National Recreation Trail.  Farther up is the Independence Creek Trail System, but I definitely think the Coeur d'Alene River Trail is better.  I wrote the nomination reports for both trail systems so no bias there.  The Independence Creek Trail system is close to Magee Ranger Station and the upper meadows.  The Ranger Station is under the rental program and if you have friends that do not camp this is a wonderful spot to spend a few days.  Magee Ranger Station rental

As you go up the Coeur d'Alene River you can take the right fork to the town of Murray and Thompson Pass.  There are boondocking locations along the road here.  Directly opposite the town of Murray down a paved road for about a mile will bring you to the cemetery.   Here some of Shoshone Counties pioneers are buried, including some of the original naughty girls. 

It looks like Molly is still getting tips even though she died well over a hundred years ago.  I guess working girls are always working.

The cemetery is worth the visit.  You might have to ask directions in Murray since it is unsigned.

The cemetery is on BLM managed land, but it is both a historic and working cemetery.  The Silver Valley does things just a little bit different than the rest of the USA.

There is lots to see and explore in Shoshone County.  In much of the west the natural history overwhelms the history of the early settlers.  In Shoshone County the settlers and current residents are the story. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I plan to ride my street motorcycle on this river road in June. Thanks for the info on it.