I stood on the edge of Hell’s Canyon, and even though it sounds like the beginning of a murder mystery, it is one of the major tourist pulls in the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho area. After boarding a 29 ft. boat with Snake Dancer Excursions, we traveled fifty miles upriver even though we were heading south on Snake River. Although it’s in Idaho, straight across the river is Washington, with another entrance from Oxbow, Oregon. Famous explorers, Lewis and Clarke crossed this river at Lewiston and mention it in their journals often. The deepest canyon in North America, word from the locals is that it’s so deep, it goes to hell, and so wide, you can’t see the upper edge from the bottom and you can’t see the top from the bottom.
After zipping along the river looking for wildlife, we devoured a delightful catered lunch underneath blossoming apple, fig, plum and pecan trees at Cash Creek 40 miles up Salmon River . The sides of the river are noticeably lined with granite and basalt with deep fissures on rock faces. In a small inlet that is named Buffalo Eddy, we stopped to photograph ancient Petroglyphs from hundreds of years ago. Idaho, Oregon and Washington all merge at one spot on the river making it a major tourist attraction.
A visit to nearby Nez Perce Historical Park Visitor Center and Museum, located on a 750-acre reservation, was where the original Nez Perce tribe met explorers Lewis and Clark in 1806. A short documentary film is essential viewing to get a feel of the history of the origin of the reservation and the people who live there reminding us all to “remember where you came from and remember who you are.”
We stayed at Coeur d’Alene Resort, and if they had been condos, I would have purchased one on the spot. Every day that I woke up in my lakefront room, I clicked a button on the night-table to open the curtains to a fabulous lake view. Mist was rising, and the sun peeked through to another beautiful day in Idaho.
Hiking is another popular activity, so we drove to the trailhead to hike a steep and rugged three-mile trail on Mineral Ridge. Dense forests with tweet worthy views which was designed as a National recreational trail in 1982 and offers an invigorating hike up to 700 ft. elevation with a beautiful view of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The oft mentioned Lewis and Clarke came through Mineral Ridge a few 100 years ago as well.
While you are in the area, you shouldn’t miss checking out Lindsay Creek Vineyards. Overlooking verdant green rolling hills with the sun setting, surrounded by vineyards, glass in hand, I glanced around not quite believing that I wasn’t in California, but the arid dryness of Lewiston has grapes absolutely flourishing and have been since 1872. Recently the vineyard competed against California wines and won numerous awards. 720 feet above sea level makes for a long growing season.
After a fabulous meal, and a tour, we drove from Lewiston to C’oeur D’Alene while the sun continued to set in a way I had never witnessed before with watercolour smudged hues of purple, pink, orange and blue.
Idaho is an absolute haven for outdoor activities including hiking, white water rafting, kayaking and fly fishing with an outdoor scene all year round. With lake and snow topped mountain views from most angles, it’s a very special place indeed.
For more information on Visit Idaho, EXPLORE HERE.