Most visitors think of Priest Lake as only a wonderful summertime getaway. However, what the natives know, and many visitors are quickly discovering, is that the lake's best season begins after the summer crowds depart. This is the time when many outdoor enthusiasts turn to game hunting as a way to enjoy the gorgeous autumn colors and quiet solitude of the Priest Lake forests.
Priest Lake is home to numerous species of coveted game animals. Whitetail and mule deer share our forests with an increasing herd of magnificent elk, monster moose and a large population of black bear. Other species of interest include cougars, an abundant supply of grouse, turkeys and waterfowl.
This vast area has one of the most abundant whitetail deer herds in Idaho. Hunters will encounter these animals on almost every square mile of land. Early winter snows virtually guarantee regular sightings, and with legal taking of either sex, even novice hunters stand a very good chance for success.
Mule deer abide in the more remote upper elevation regions, which makes for some challenging attempts to reach their homeland. Roaming the high mountain ridges, logging sites and regenerated forest fire areas will usually reward the hunter with sightings of small herds including some very respectable bucks.
A modest but rapidly increasing elk herd is also scattered across the basin. While seasons are fairly short and restrictive, perseverance will likely be rewarded for the ardent hunter. An exciting encounter with a regal bull elk will be worth the time and effort.
Idaho residents who are fortunate enough to be drawn for a once in a lifetime moose permit are virtually guaranteed success in bagging a bull moose when hunting in the Priest Lake area. These majestic animals are widespread and frequently encountered at all elevations.
Idaho Fish & Game regulates the seasons and rules regarding hunting for all game species. It is wise to check the regulations in advance of your hunting trip.
Come and join with the natives -- discover and partake in the beauty and solitude of Priest Lake's "quiet season". You will be welcomed as a friend and rewarded with a superb sporting experience in nature's wonderland.
Priest Lake is an ideal location for cyclists of all skill levels to enjoy the challenges of mountains and the beauty of forests. The rider can tackle 4,000'+ gut-wrenching, 'mountain goat' climbs to the peaks on the east side of the Lake - or enjoy a leisurely ride on the Lakeshore Trail complete with a picnic on an isolated Priest Lake beach on the west side.In between these extremes, there are biking routes and terrain of endless variety. Wherever you choose to bike at Priest Lake, you will enjoy open spaces, clean air, and friendly natives.
USFS / State forest roads are very popular biking routes. These roads range from well maintained to primitive with varying degrees of difficulty. Many of the hiking trails maintained by the USFS are also open to mountain bikes. The Priest Lake Trails pamphlet available at the USFS Priest Lake Ranger District headquarters indicates which hiking trails are open to biking. Other than this pamphlet, there are no designated mountain biking routes in the Priest Lake area. This works to the advantage of the cyclist who values running a route without competing for road/trail space with other cyclists. However, it is always wise to carry a topographic map with you if you bike into the backcountry. The best route information is often available from employees of the Priest Lake resorts and other local recreation businesses. These local riders are always willing to share trail information and provide you with tips for biking the Priest.
Try the following link to a great website that details the trails in the Priest Lake area and will put you in touch with others riding in the area: www.mtbpriestlake.com
Several good routes, to include single-track loop trails, can be accessed immediately from many of the resorts located around the Lake. Generally, the steepest terrain is to the east and north of the Lake while the mountains to the west and south of the Lake are more gradual, but still very challenging. For the occasional riders, flatter terrain routes are also readily available. Some follow shoreline segments while others track in the forests along the base of the many mountain chains. For those new riders to the area, a great way to learn the trails and have a fun day doing it, is to contact Four Seasons Sports for a guided mountain bike tour tailored to your skills and desires.
So come on up to North Idaho and BIKE THE PRIEST! - Catch some air, don't get bonked, climb a grinder, and enjoy a mach session!!