Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Idaho Panhandle National Forests

Idaho Panhandle National Forests

Region in Idaho, United States
United States Map

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests offer unlimited opportunities to indulge in your recreational interests. Since 1973, the Kaniksu, Coeur d'Alene, and St. Joe National Forests have been jointly administered under the umbrella of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF). Comprising over 2.5 million acres of wilderness in the 'panhandle' of Northern Idaho, a small portion of the forest extends into eastern Washington and western Montana. While not the largest National Forest in Idaho, the IPNF is diverse and dramatic.

Characterized by countless crystalline lakes, old-growth cedar groves, beautiful creeks and rivers, and impressive mountains and meadows, the topographic variety is pleasant. Home to several mountain ranges, including the Selkirk Mountains, Cabinet Mountains, Purcell Mountains, Coeur d'Alene Range, and the Bitterroot Range, there is no shortage of alpine climbs in the IPNF. Nestled amongst the soaring crests are hundreds of idyllic lakes, those of merit being Lake Coeur d'Alene and Lake Pend Oreille—the largest lake in the state.

With over half of the state's waters concentrated in the 'panhandle', the Idaho Panhandle National Forests boasts premier fishing and water recreation opportunities. The rushing rivers tempt white water rafters, and the calm lakes attract paddlers, boaters, swimmers, and fishermen. Additionally, the IPNF offers a diverse repertoire of maintained backcountry trails that beckon the exploration of off-roaders, mountain bikers, and of course, hikers and backpackers.

While winter exploration is possible, many roads and trails become impassable, though a few do remain accessible. The off-season sees cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling pursuits. Adventure is not hard to come by in the 'panhandle' of Idaho. No matter how you choose to indulge in this natural sanctuary, the beauty and variety will render you speechless.

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