Where is Priest Lake, Idaho?January 31, 2022
So, where is Priest Lake, Idaho anyway? As one of northern Idaho’s most pristine and least developed lakes, Priest Lake can seem like worlds away. But its secluded location is easier to get to and explore than you might think.
Where is Priest Lake, Idaho?
Priest Lake, Idaho is located in the northernmost portion of the state’s panhandle. It rests 80 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington, with the very northern end of the lake extending within 15 miles of the Canadian border.
Priest Lake lies at an elevation of 2,500 feet and spans a total of 25 miles and up to 300 feet deep. It is surrounded by more than 80 miles of shoreline with sandy beaches and seven individual islands.
The glacially carved Selkirk Mountain Range, an offshoot of the Rocky Mountains, surrounds the body of water and is a part of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The mountain peaks rise as high as 7,656 feet in elevation, making for some dramatic scenery. The Selkirk Mountain Range begins at Mica Peak in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and extends roughly 326 miles north into Canada.
Lower Priest Lake
The main body of Priest Lake extends from north to south for about 19 miles and spans 2.5-feet wide, covering 26,000 acres. Here is where you will find most of the recreational activities available to you, plus campgrounds and year-round resorts such as Elkins Resort. It is a popular place for fishing, hiking, boating, swimming, and in the winter snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Lower Priest Lake is accessible by driving with the nearest airport being Spokane, Washington. You can access Lower Priest Lake several ways:
- From the airport, take I-90 into Spokane, WA until Hwy 2 (exit on the right), then connect with Hwy 57 North to Nordman, Idaho. Nordman is a great connector town to access the west side of the lake and Elkins Resort.
- If you are driving in from the east, take I-90 to Coeur d’Alene, ID, then 95 north to Sandpoint, and Hwy 2 to Priest River, turn right onto Hwy 57, follow 37 miles to Nordman and turn right on Reeder Bay Road. In 2.3 miles, you will see the Elkins Resort sign on the right side of the road.
- To access the west side of the lake, Hwy 57 is what you want to take. There are several roads from Hwy 57 to lead to the shores of Priest Lake. Getting to Elkins Resort, turn from Hwy 57 onto Reeder Bay Road, near the town of Nordman. Follow it all the way to the mouth of Reeder Bay where our picturesque resort sits.
Upper Priest Lake
Upper Priest Lake spans only 1,700 acres and is 3.5 miles long and less than a mile wide. It is more remote and is connected by a 2.5-mile thoroughfare to Lower Priest Lake. The only way to access the upper lake is on foot, by way of boat, or mountain bike.
What makes this remote area of the lake so special is its solitude and beauty. Boating the channel is a popular activity, where you meander through spectacular forested scenery and shallow, crystal-clear waters. It is a “no wake” zone, so it’s ideal for canoeists and kayakers.
Stay at Elkins Resort on Priest Lake
Experience the best of Priest Lake with a stay at Elkins Resort. Our year-round lodging features 30 cedar cabins situated along the lake at Reeder Bay. Whether you want a cabin on the lake or a creek-side cabin, we offer the comfort and peaceful retreat you are looking for, no matter the season. Each accommodation provides a full kitchen, bathroom, and living area, with some equipped with a fireplace and views of the lake.
Complete your Priest Lake vacation and book your stay with us today!