The world is full of gorgeous bodies of water, though none quite compare to the grandeur and stunning views of Lake Coeur d'Alene. With over 109 miles of shoreline, and sitting at over 25 miles long, Lake CDA is the second largest lake in all of Idaho, and the most popular recreational lake in the Pacific Northwest.
Lake Coeur d'Alene is a popular scenic attraction all year round, though especially so during the summer when the water is warm and the sun hits the lake for weeks on end. Surrounded by stoic mountain ranges, winding rivers, and forests for hundreds of miles, it's easy to see why so many people call Lake CDA home, and many more are booking trips to get a taste.
With so much to do on and around the lake, it can be a daunting task to figure out where to get started. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations to get you started on your Lake Cd'A journies!
Where is Lake Coeur d'Alene Located?
Coeur d'Alene is a lakeside city nestled near hills and mountains and surrounded by beautiful scenery in North Idaho and the Inland Northwest. This, though small, is big in terms of stories and history to tell. The ever-growing city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is famous for its the pinnacle of a lake-side resort, summer experiences, and being a destination for Ironman competitions. Lake Coeur d'Alene is easy to spot on the map for its iconic shape and outlines and is located in North Idaho.
What's Summer Spent on Lake Coeur d'Alene Like?
Coeur d'Alene Lake is chock full of activities for groups, families, and individuals alike. The area is most popular in the summer due to the gorgeous weather and moderate climate. Although, even in the winter, it provides exciting activities like bald eagle watching! There are lots of trails surrounding the lake for cycling, jogging and walking too. There are two trails, though, that is the most well know. They are the North Idaho Centennial Trail, following the lake's northern shores, as well as the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes - along the southern end. There are also hundreds of hiking trails all around the area found on various mobile apps and websites as well! (We like to use alltrails.com in particular!)
6. Enjoy Some Watersports - No question!
With the lake being such a massive part of local culture, it's no surprise that water sports have made their way to being some of the most popular things to do. The list of options is long enough to ensure almost everyone can find something to do that they enjoy! From boating to diving, there are plenty of options for you to do as the main event on a trip, or as a bonus activity to other plans- like camping and hiking!
Local Business Shout-Out! Row Adventure Center:
ROW is a local part of a big whole! Since they started in 1979, they've taken locals on hundreds of guided adventures, giving people experiences they'll tell their family and friends time and time again! And with a mission statement like "Sharing Nature – Enriching Lives," we can't help but feel the need to mention them!Row Adventure Center Website
5. Rock Jumping off Tubbs Hill
Tubbs Hill is one of the area's most prized nature destinations - And did we mention, It's only minutes from Sherman Ave, aka Downtown Cd'A. This hill rises ever so gently above the surrounding urban landscape with a diverse forest scape, numerous trails, and wrap-around views of Lake Cd'A.
Over the years, Tubbs Hill land has been at risk of being sold off in favor of private living and commercial land use. Thanks to some of the area's earliest activities defending and public outcry, these attempts were mostly eradicated leaving Coeur d'Alene with public ownership since 1974.
This beautiful area has offered locals and tourists a must-see destination, offering as a hot spot for swimming spots and hiking trails.
Consider learning more about Friends of Tubbs Hill, the non-profit association widely responsible for defending public access to the hill and continuing to keep it natural and healthy.
4. Dive Deep into Lake Coeur d'Alene
Since the early 1900s, Lake Coeur d'Alene has seen a variety of usage happening on its surface and shorelines. From logging to hydroplane racing, and everything in-between, the lake is no stranger to the activities and laboring of humanity. As such, Lake CDA is home to a vast array of sunken ships, cars, old construction, and many more hidden treasures!
One of the many unique finds at the bottom of Lake Coeur d'Alene is the massive amount of Model-T Fords, which were often driven out on the lake's ice during winter, and subsequently sunk over thin ice.
Watch scuba divers explore remnants of a Coeur d'Alene past at Beacon Point in Lake Coeur d'Alene in this neat YouTube video:
3. Take Your Shot at This Famous Floating Green
A marvel of engineering and golfing fun. Coeur d'Alene wasn't always a premier tourism destination, nor even a golf destination. That is, until the Hagadone Corporation, a leading founder of the infamous Coeur d'Alene Resort, extended their luxury resort to include a golf course and a now world-famous "Floating Green."
A 22,000-ton floating golf course, sitting right atop Lake Coeur d'Alene. This marvel of engineering is world-famous now and helped secure a spot on the map for Cd'A as one of the world's finest places to golf and ways to enjoy Coeur d'Alene.
Over the years, we've seen this famous floating green in Cd'A be featured by outlets such as USA Today's Golf Week, with mentions from prominent figures like former PGA tour professional Chip Beck, who once proclaimed the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course as one of the finest he's ever seen. It's really no surprise to us to see this staple attraction play such a significant role in exposing Coeur d'Alene to the world, even before the internet's prominence in our all lives!
Consider watching this older video produced by the Hagadone Corporation where Duane Hagadone himself and team members tell-all about the history and show inside (ya, inside!) the green's mechanical room.
2. Take a Walk On The World's Longest Boardwalk
I'd say this is my personal favorite, though It's a short-lived excitement, some may say. I'm talking about the Coeur d'Alene resort boardwalk. This 3,300 feet long boardwalk was built in 1986 by the Hagadone Corporation and is an icon found only in our growing mountain town. Unlike anywhere else, the Cd'A boardwalk is known as the longest in the world. Though technically a part of the famous Coeur d'Alene resort, this boardwalk remains open throughout the year to anyone visiting and locals alike.
In the summer, I like to enjoy extra-long walks around the downtown area, taking in downtown's many unique characteristics. My routes almost always include taking a walk on this awesome boardwalk, usually taking a break at one of the many built-in picnic benches available halfway through the boardwalk. Another ritual I like to share is taking a moment atop the floating staircase, where boats from the marina pass-thru underneath, stop, and take in the views of beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene and independence point.
Locals' Tips for The Boardwalk
You can expect to see some high foot traffic and congestion on the staircase during busy summer days. There are many slower days, so we recommend checking out this boardwalk earlier in the morning or later in the evening close to dinnertime. On a hot summer day, Once done, consider stopping at this full-service lakeside bar, the Boardwalk Bar, located at the west entrance nearest Independence Point. In the winter, the boardwalk is occasionally closed for general safety.
1. Hike This Ridge Trail to Overlook Lake Cd'A
We're talking about the Mineral Ridge hiking trail located roughly 11 miles east outside of downtown Cd'A. I love this trail because It reminds me of fond family memories growing up in Coeur d'Alene and taking the journey as a family to hike this trail. At the time, It felt so surreal to hike the 3.3-mile loop, and once we'd reach the top seeing the stunning view of Lake Coeur d'Alene like I rarely ever got to see. As a youngling, this moderate loop-back trail would feel like this crazy intense hike, but as a "full" grown adult, I'd describe this trail as the perfect opportunity for persons of all skill levels to get out and enjoy some time with the Ponderosa pines.
Locals' Tips for Hiking Mineral Ridge
This trail has gained popularity over the years for many good reasons. The parking lot is rather small with limited spots available and no nearby roads to park on. With that being said, we'd recommend checking Google Maps for busy times and trying to avoid typical busy hours, especially on summer days. If you plan on enjoying this trail in the winter, take a lesson from my friend, don't wear flat shoes. You'll likely slip your way to the top!
This trail was first built in 1962 by the Bureau of Land Management as the first developed recreational site in Idaho, according to Visit North Idaho. Further amenities include two picnic shelters with tables, pit toilets, drinking water, trash bins, and is accessible to visitors with disabilities. Furthermore, a boat launch lies below the trail as well as down the road near the exit you take to get to this trail.
How do you plan on spending time with Lake Coeur d'Alene?
We'd love to hear about your next planned adventure, as well as your past experiences with any of the adventures we talked about in this article! We welcome and look forward to your feedback in the comments below. Happy adventuring from the Live Coeur d'Alene team!