13 Outdoor Adventures in Idaho – Couer d’Alene & Sandpoint Areas
Our family loves to head to north Idaho every summer as there are such a wealth of activities for families in the area in any season. We love that north Idaho offers everything from adventure activities like ziplining & aerial adventure courses to relaxing by the lake to visiting local farms.
Plus, in the winter, you can add skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing & so much more! The mountains, lakes & rural scenery is so beautiful everywhere you go, you’re sure to find the perfect adventure the whole family will love!
Here are some of our favorite outdoor adventures in Idaho (most of these are focused on the summer months, but some of these you can do during any season).
Tree to Tree Adventure Park
Just a short 20 minute drive from Silverwood is the Tree to Tree Adventure Park in Farragut State Park. This popular, 4000 acre state park on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille is host to this aerial adventure course. Safety is paramount at this course as they use magnetized belays so you are never unhooked when on the course or platforms high up in the trees. There are both kids & adult courses with multiple points along the course to get off if needed. The adventure course includes over 100 aerial adventure activities with 6 color-coded courses. Activities include ziplines, wobbly bridges, Tarzan swings, tight ropes, balance beams, climbing cargo nets & much more to keep you on your toes! . You’ll find it could take anywhere from 1-3 hours on the course, providing hours of challenge & fun.
Schweitzer Mountain is the place to be in the winter as it’s located north of Lake Pend Oreille & is a winter wonderland of adventures. They are the largest ski resorts in Idaho with over 2900 acres of terrain for skiers & snowboarders. Plus, they offer night skiing, too. They also offer tubing with 2 lanes for tubing over 100 yards. You’ll then get pulled back up to the top, so no hiking back up!
If you love cross-country skiing, they offer trails for every level of expertise with over 32 km of trails. And they have guided snowshoe walks as well at the resort. So there’s plenty of snow fun even if you don’t ski/snowboard.
In the summertime, whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride on the chair lift for 360 degree views of 3 states (Washington, Idaho & Montana) & Canada, an action-packed mountain bike ride down the mountain or want some thrills on the trampoline jumper, zipline or climbing wall, then Schweitzer Mountain summer activities are the place to go! Your kids will love the Ultimate Fun Pass to try many of those activities with unlimited visits during your day. Want to try bicycling around the area but you’re up for a more leisurely ride – they now offer hosted E-Bike tours to see the area & learn about the plants & flowers along the way.
Route of the Hiawatha Trail & Bike Ride
One of the most unique experiences in north Idaho is the Route of the Hiawatha mountain bike & hiking trail, a 15 mile long trail with 10 train tunnels & 7 sky-high trestles. It is one of only 15 “Rail to Trail” trails in the country & part of the former Milwaukee Railroad line that ran between Montana & Idaho. One of the first tunnels is a 1.6 mile tunnel, which you’ll definitely need the lights on your bicycle to see thru the tunnel, which will definitely be thrilling for kids & adults alike. The best part is that this trail is a gentle, downhill trail and when you get to the end, you’ll have a shuttle ride back to your car, so you don’t have to worry about making your way back up to the top of the trail. Bring your own bicycle or rent a bike + all the supplies right at the trail (helmet, light, etc). This trail is only open from end of May thru mid September typically due to the weather, so this is a summer activity only. Definitely a bucket list activity for Idaho with the gorgeous views you’ll see along the bike ride! See a full review of the Route of the Hiawatha bike ride, too!
Timberline Adventures Ziplines
Want some excitement for your family while in north Idaho – check out Timberline Adventures for some serious fun with ziplines! If it’s your first time ziplining or you want to try a more beginner level, get an ATV tour to the first 4 ziplines & sky bridge for the TreeHopper Introductory tour. Or try the full zipline experience with 7 ziplines, 2 sky bridges, a fun-controlled rappell and an ATV ride to the top. Both options have panoramic views of Lake Couer d’Alene. Add on lunch or s’mores at the end of your tour on their treehouse deck for some relaxation after your adventure, too!
Another fantastic place to enjoy outdoor adventures (& indoor adventures at their amazing Silver Rapids waterpark) is Silver Mountain resort in Kellogg, Idaho, right near the border of Idaho/Montana. This resort area is fun for all times of year as you can ride the gondola up in the summer & enjoy mountain biking, hiking trails & more. The resort & village right there are so family- friendly with outdoor fire pits for roasting s’mores, outdoor movies, craft times & much more.
And in the winter, Silver Mountain resort offers skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing with a lift to bring you back up, snowshoeing & snowmobiling to name a few activities. And the gondola ride is absolutely gorgeous -and it’s the longest gondola ride in North America at 3.1 miles (around 20-25 minutes long).
Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
Animal visits are always very high on my family’s list of favorite activities any time of year and one of our absolute favorite farm visits we’ve ever done was at the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch in the Couer d’Alene area (about 40 minutes from Silverwood). While this is primarily an alpaca farm, they actually have quite the variety of animals you can visit on self-guided tours. We spent time petting the alpacas (it was quite the rainy day when we were there, which made them look hilarious!), but visiting with the donkeys, goats, horses & more was definitely quite the highlight as well! Plus, their tours offer quite a bit of interesting educational info about the alpacas, presented in a fun & easy to understand manner, so we felt quite knowledgeable about alpacas by the end of our group tour. The tours are quite affordable & you can stay as long as you want to enjoy the animals!
Cedar Mountain Farm
The 440 acre Cedar Mountain farm is just 2 miles from Silverwood and they offer farm visits where you can spend as much time as you want exploring their farm. Pay just $20 / carload and you’ll be able to pet & visit with their goats, bunnies, chickens, sheep, mini ponies & much more. Depending on the timing, you might even have an opportunity to feed a baby goat, a highlight for my girls!
Go at your own pace & enjoy spending time with the animals as long as you want! Plus, you can explore the farm’s many acres with hiking trails in the fields, forests, & up the mountain. Make sure to check out their delicious baked goods, too, which you can purchase to take home with you – the scones are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Lake Outdoor Adventures in Idaho
Lake Couer d’Alene
When heading to north Idaho, lake time is a must when planning your outdoor adventures. In the warm summer months, head to the City Beach for some play time, plus they have all sorts of water sports here such as SUP, kayaking, canoeing & more. If you want a bit more adventure, Tubbs Hill is a popular spot for checking out the lake – you’ll find many little swimming holes along the trail.
If the weather is cooler or you’re not up for swimming, try a Lake Couer d’Alene boat cruise. They offer sightseeing cruises with narration on the history of the lake or you can try a brunch or sunset dinner cruise for gorgeous views as you enjoy your food. You can choose between the climate-controlled boat indoors or outdoor decks to take in the sunshine.
Lake Pend Oreille
If you want to avoid the bigger crowds, Lake Pend Oreille is another gorgeous lake in north Idaho but with quieter spots to enjoy the lake. Head to Beaver Bay at Farragut State Park to be surrounded by beautiful scenic views of the lake as you swim. You can also hike along some of the lakeside trails & find some quieter swimming holes.
To be closer to town, the Sandpoint City Beach boasts gorgeous views of the lake, plus you’ll find beach volleyball courts, tennis & basketball courts, playground and more. I love that it’s easy walking distance to downtown Sandpoint when you need a break for lunch or ice cream at Panhandle Cone & Coffee.
The 22.5 acre McEuen Park is located right in the heart of downtown Couer d’Alene next to the Couer d’Alene resort and the lake. This is the city’s largest playground and includes an awesome splash pad to beat the heat in the summertime. Teens will love the basketball court & tennis/pickleball court. And bring your pup along as there is an off-leash dog park to burn off some energy. The 60 mile Centennial Trail also runs right thru McEuen Park, so you can enjoy a scenic walk or bike ride on this paved section of the trail, too, making it accessible for strollers & wheelchairs. Or head off to hike or swim at Tubbs Hill from one of the trailheads originating in the park.
Fort Sherman Playground
The Fort Sherman playground in Couer d’Alene is part of the City Beach park, located just west of the downtown area. It’s the perfect location as your kids can play hard on this fort-themed playground for awhile & then when they are hot & sweaty, walk over to the beach to cool off in the lake. There are huge trees all around the park to provide tons of shade for those warm summer days on the playground. The wooden fort playground has everything from slides, swings, tire swing, and plenty of areas for climbing. The best part for parents – this playground is totally fenced in with one entrance at the front – parents can relax & sit on one of the many benches while kids have a blast playing! Bring a picnic lunch & eat on a picnic table under one of the tall trees.
Unique Outdoor Adventures in Idaho
Crystal Gold Mine
Head east over to Kellogg and visit this authentic 1880’s underground Crystal Gold Mine tour. It is open year-round, so it’s a great activity to do in any season. Plus, it’s accessible for any age as there are concrete walkways, well-lit & no stairs. You’ll see a quartz vein where they found gold in the mine as well as wire silver in the quartz vein. There are also stalactite crystals of smithsonite visible on your tour as well. When you finish your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to pan for gold included in your admission. You’ll get a quick lesson & demonstration and then you can pan for gold flecks as well as pretty gems. If you decide to keep the gems, you can purchase a small bag to keep them in.
Sierra Silver Mine
The Silver Valley in northeastern Idaho near Kellogg & Wallace was a huge silver mining area for many years. So, touring a real silver mine is the perfect way to experience a bit of history of this area. The Sierra Silver Mine tours are given by retired miners, so you get quite a bit of history of the town of Wallace as well as this important industry. You’ll ride a classic trolley to the mine & see demonstrations of the mining machinery so you’ll get to see & hear what it was like to work in a silver mine. The tours only happen from May – mid October, but they are open 7 days a week during those months.
What outdoor adventures in Idaho are on your list to try ?
Find more Idaho posts here::
- North Idaho on a Budget
- Route of the Hiawatha Bike Ride
- 9 Things to Do with Kids in Kellogg & Wallace
- Silver Mountain Resort
- Triple Play Resort
- Silverwood Discount Tickets – where to get the best discount tickets
- Silverwood – Where to stay
- Silverwood Review of Theme Park + Tips for visiting
- Packing List for Silverwood
- Silverwood After Dark – Why we like to stay until closing
- Silverwood Vacation – Perfect for Toddlers to Teens
- 5 Reasons to Visit Silverwood with Friends
- Silverwood Road Trip – Best Stops on a Road trip from Seattle to north Idaho
- Silverwood with the Grandparents – Making it a Multigenerational trip
- 1 Day Itinerary to Silverwood
- 10 Affordable Eats & Drinks at Silverwood
- 6 Quick Bites at Silverwood
- Why a Season Pass is worth it at Silverwood
- 6 Reasons Boulder Beach is our Favorite Waterpark