priest lake state park

Priest Lake State Park: Explore Idaho

Located in the stunning Selkirk Mountains of Northern Idaho, Priest Lake State Park is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its crystal-clear waters, dense forests, and abundant wildlife, this park is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or simply want to relax in a picturesque setting, Priest Lake State Park has something for everyone.

As one of the many beautiful state parks in Idaho, Priest Lake State Park offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region. With its pristine 19-mile-long lake and diverse range of activities, this park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Key Takeaways:

  • Priest Lake State Park is located in the Selkirk Mountains of Northern Idaho
  • The park features a stunning 19-mile-long lake with crystal-clear water
  • Abundant wildlife, including deer, bear, moose, and osprey, can be found in the park
  • Activities at the park include boating, fishing, hiking, and more
  • There are a variety of accommodations available, including campsites and camping cabins

Essential Information

Priest Lake State Park offers a variety of amenities and facilities to enhance visitors’ experience. Whether you’re planning a camping trip or a day visit, here is some essential information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay.

Park Amenities

The park provides several amenities to cater to visitors’ needs. The showers and flush toilets offer a convenient way to freshen up after a day of outdoor activities. For those in need of supplies, the camp store offers a selection of essentials. Additionally, the boat ramp provides easy access to the lake for boating enthusiasts.


Priest Lake State Park offers various accommodation options. With 151 campsites, visitors can choose between tent camping, RV camping, or staying in trailers. If you prefer a more comfortable camping experience, five cozy camping cabins are available for rent. For larger groups, the year-round group camp is ideal.

Accommodation Type Capacity Reservation Required
Campsite Varies (tents, RVs, trailers) Yes
Camping Cabin 4-6 people Yes
Group Camp 40 people Yes

Reservations and Regulations

Due to the park’s popularity, it is advisable to make reservations for campsites and cabins in advance, especially during peak seasons. Reservations can be made online through the park’s website or by contacting the park office. It is also essential to familiarize yourself with the park’s regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. Information on park regulations can be found on the park’s website or obtained from the park office.

Park Highlights

park highlights

Priest Lake State Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and offers a plethora of must-see spots and top attractions. The main highlight of the park is undoubtedly Priest Lake itself, a breathtaking 19-mile-long lake with crystal-clear waters and majestic mountain views. The lake is perfect for a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

For those seeking a more secluded and serene experience, a visit to the remote Upper Priest Lake is a must. Accessible only by foot or boat, this hidden gem offers a tranquil escape amidst pristine wilderness. Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted by the park’s scenic trails, which wind through dense forests and offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the park’s abundant wildlife, including whitetail deer, black bear, moose, and osprey. These majestic creatures add to the park’s natural charm and provide unique opportunities for wildlife spotting and photography.

Must-See Spots Description
Priest Lake A 19-mile-long lake with crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain views.
Upper Priest Lake A remote and serene lake accessible only by foot or boat.
Scenic Hiking Trails Trails that wind through dense forests and offer panoramic views.
Abundant Wildlife Opportunities to spot whitetail deer, black bear, moose, and osprey.



When visiting Priest Lake State Park, you’ll find a wide range of activities to keep you entertained and immersed in nature. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking to relax and enjoy the surroundings, there’s something for everyone at this beautiful park.

Hiking and Nature Trails

One of the main attractions of Priest Lake State Park is its scenic hiking and nature trails. Lace up your boots and explore the park’s diverse trails that wind through lush forests, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the lake. From easy walks to more challenging hikes, there are options for all skill levels. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings along the way!

Water Activities

With a pristine 19-mile-long lake right at your doorstep, it’s no surprise that water activities are a popular choice at Priest Lake State Park. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the crystal-clear waters, or take a refreshing swim on a hot summer day. Fishing enthusiasts will also find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines and try their luck at catching trout or kokanee salmon.

Winter Wonderland

During the winter months, Priest Lake State Park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a variety of snow activities. Strap on your snowshoes or hop on a snowmobile and venture out into the snowy landscapes. Cross-country skiing is also a great way to explore the park’s trails while enjoying the peacefulness of the winter season.

Activity Description
Hiking Explore the park’s scenic trails and enjoy stunning views
Water Activities Kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming in the pristine lake
Fishing Cast your line and try your luck at catching trout or kokanee salmon
Winter Activities Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing



When visiting Priest Lake State Park, there are several accommodation options available to suit different preferences and needs. Whether you prefer camping under the stars or a cozy cabin, the park provides a range of choices.


The park offers 151 campsites that can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers. These campsites provide a great opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the beauty of the park. Amenities such as showers, flush toilets, and a camp store are available for campers’ convenience.

Camping Cabins

If you’re looking for a camping experience with added comfort, the park offers five camping cabins for rent. These cabins provide a cozy and comfortable retreat after a day of outdoor adventures. Each cabin is equipped with basic amenities to ensure a pleasant stay.

Group Camp

Priest Lake State Park also features a year-round group camp, perfect for larger gatherings such as family reunions or group outings. The group camp provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the park’s beauty and recreational activities together.

It is important to make reservations in advance, as accommodations at Priest Lake State Park can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. By planning ahead, you can secure your preferred accommodation and ensure a memorable stay at this beautiful park.

Exploring the Area

Priest Lake State Park

When visiting Priest Lake State Park, take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and discover its many attractions and points of interest. One of the nearby attractions is the town of Coolin, which offers a glimpse into the area’s history. You can visit the historic general store and immerse yourself in the charm of this quaint town.

Another must-visit destination is the Priest Lake Museum, where you can delve into the rich cultural heritage of the region. Explore the exhibits and learn about the Native American history, the Jesuit Priests, and the early settlers who shaped the area.

The surrounding area also offers natural wonders to explore, such as the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and visitors can enjoy scenic beauty and nature trails. It’s a perfect opportunity to spot birds, mammals, and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

If you’re looking for scenic drives and breathtaking views, the International Selkirk Loop is a must-do activity. This driving route takes you through the picturesque Selkirk Mountains, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Take your time to appreciate the beauty of nature and capture some memorable photos along the way.

Table: Nearby Attractions

Attraction Description
Coolin Explore the historic general store and immerse yourself in the charm of this quaint town.
Priest Lake Museum Learn about the cultural heritage of the area and the history of the Native American settlers and Jesuit Priests.
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge Discover a diverse range of wildlife and enjoy scenic beauty and nature trails.
International Selkirk Loop Experience breathtaking views of the Selkirk Mountains and the surrounding landscape on this scenic driving route.

Exploring the area around Priest Lake State Park will enhance your visit and provide a deeper understanding of the region’s history and natural wonders. Whether you’re interested in cultural heritage, wildlife, or scenic beauty, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Services and Facilities

Services and Facilities

Priest Lake State Park offers a range of services and facilities to enhance your visit and ensure a comfortable stay. Whether you’re looking for amenities to make your camping trip more convenient or seeking recreational opportunities to enjoy the park’s natural beauty, you’ll find everything you need at Priest Lake State Park.

Here are some of the services and facilities available:

  • Showers: Clean and well-maintained shower facilities are provided for campers, allowing you to freshen up after a day of outdoor activities.
  • Flush Toilets: Conveniently located flush toilets are available throughout the park, ensuring comfort and hygiene for visitors.
  • Camp Store: The camp store offers a variety of essential items and supplies, including groceries, firewood, and camping equipment.
  • Boat Ramp: A boat ramp provides easy access to Priest Lake, allowing you to launch your boat and explore the pristine waters.
  • Dump Station and RV Hookups: For visitors with recreational vehicles, the park offers a dump station and RV hookups, making it convenient for RV camping.

Additionally, Priest Lake State Park features picnic areas and playgrounds, perfect for family outings and gatherings. You can also participate in interpretive programs organized by the park, where you can learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Services and Facilities Table

Service/Facility Description
Showers Clean and well-maintained shower facilities for campers.
Flush Toilets Conveniently located flush toilets throughout the park.
Camp Store A variety of essential items and supplies are available for purchase.
Boat Ramp Easy access to Priest Lake for boating and water activities.
Dump Station and RV Hookups Convenient facilities for dumping waste and RV camping.

Park History

park history

Priest Lake State Park has a fascinating history that spans centuries, reflecting the region’s rich cultural heritage. The park’s name itself pays homage to the Jesuit Priests who established a mission in the area during the 1800s. These priests played a significant role in the development of the region, and their influence can still be felt today.

Exploring the park’s history allows visitors to connect with the cultural significance of the area. From the original Indian settlers to the arrival of European missionaries, there are countless stories to discover. The park serves as a living testament to the interactions between different cultures and the preservation of traditions.

Preserving the park’s historical significance is a priority for the management, who work diligently to maintain and protect historical landmarks. Visitors can explore these landmarks, such as the original mission site or interpretive trails that provide insights into the rich history of Priest Lake State Park.

“The history of Priest Lake State Park is a tapestry of human endeavor and natural beauty intertwined, creating a unique and captivating destination for visitors.”

Cultural Heritage in Focus

The cultural heritage of Priest Lake State Park is not limited to historical landmarks. The park also celebrates the traditions and customs of the local Native American tribes who have inhabited the region for centuries. Through educational programs and events, visitors can learn about the indigenous peoples’ connection to the land and appreciate their contributions to the area’s cultural fabric.

As visitors explore the park, they may come across artifacts and remnants of the past, such as ancient petroglyphs or remnants of old settlements. These serve as reminders of the deep-rooted history that exists within the park’s boundaries.

Year Historical Event
1800s Jesuit Priests establish a mission in the area, leading to the park’s name.
19th – 20th century Settlement and development of the region by European settlers.
Present Park management focuses on preserving historical landmarks and celebrating the cultural heritage of the region.

Planning Your Visit

Planning Your Visit

When planning a visit to Priest Lake State Park, it is important to consider several factors to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. First and foremost, it’s essential to check the park’s website or contact the park office for up-to-date information on park conditions, closures, and any specific guidelines or regulations. This will help you prepare adequately and be aware of any restrictions or changes that may affect your visit. It’s also advisable to check the weather forecast for the area to pack appropriate clothing and gear.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the time of year you plan to visit. Priest Lake State Park is busiest during the summer months, especially on weekends and holidays, so if you prefer a quieter experience, it may be best to visit during the shoulder seasons or weekdays. Camping reservations should be made well in advance, as the park’s campsites and cabins can fill up quickly, particularly during peak seasons.

Lastly, make sure to obtain any necessary permits or passes required for the activities you wish to participate in. For example, if you plan to fish, you may need to have a valid fishing license. Similarly, if you intend to bring a boat, you will need to comply with any boating regulations and have the required permits. Being prepared and informed will help you make the most of your visit to Priest Lake State Park.

Key Considerations for Planning Your Visit:

  • Check the park’s website or contact the park office for up-to-date information on park conditions, closures, and guidelines
  • Monitor the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing and gear
  • Avoid peak seasons and weekends for a quieter experience
  • Make camping reservations well in advance
  • Obtain any necessary permits or passes for desired activities

With proper planning and preparation, your visit to Priest Lake State Park will be a memorable and enjoyable experience. Take the time to research and gather all the information you need before your trip, allowing you to make the most of the park’s stunning natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities.


Priest Lake State Park is undeniably one of the most breathtaking destinations in Idaho. As you explore this hidden gem nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, you’ll discover a world of natural beauty and endless opportunities for adventure. With its crystal-clear waters, picturesque landscapes, and abundant wildlife, the park offers a truly immersive experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re camping under the starlit sky, hiking through dense forests, or enjoying water activities on Priest Lake, every moment at this park is a chance to connect with Idaho’s pristine wilderness. With 151 campsites, 5 cozy cabins, and a year-round group camp, you’ll find the perfect accommodation to suit your needs.

So, why wait? Come and explore Idaho’s crown jewel, Priest Lake State Park. Whether you’re seeking solitude or a thrilling adventure, this park offers a slice of paradise that will leave you in awe. Discover the wonders of Idaho’s state parks and make unforgettable memories in the heart of nature.


Where is Priest Lake State Park located?

Priest Lake State Park is located in Northern Idaho, just 30 miles from the Canadian Border.

What is the main attraction of Priest Lake State Park?

The main attraction of Priest Lake State Park is the stunning beauty of Priest Lake itself, with its crystal-clear water and mountain views.

What amenities does Priest Lake State Park offer?

The park offers amenities such as showers, flush toilets, a camp store, and a boat ramp for easy access to the lake.

Are reservations required for camping at Priest Lake State Park?

Yes, it is recommended to make reservations in advance for campsites and cabins, especially during peak seasons.

What activities are available at Priest Lake State Park?

Visitors can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and winter sports like snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

What accommodations are available at Priest Lake State Park?

The park offers 151 campsites, 5 camping cabins, and a year-round group camp for larger gatherings.

What are some nearby attractions to explore while visiting Priest Lake State Park?

Nearby attractions include the town of Coolin, the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, and the International Selkirk Loop scenic driving route.

What facilities and services are provided at Priest Lake State Park?

The park offers showers, flush toilets, a camp store, a boat ramp, picnic areas, playgrounds, and interpretive programs.

What is the history of Priest Lake State Park?

The park has a rich history dating back to the time of the original Indian settlers and the Jesuit Priests of the 1800s.

What should I consider when planning a visit to Priest Lake State Park?

It is important to consider factors such as the time of year, weather conditions, and any necessary permits or reservations.

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