Priest Lake, ID

Super nice campground!

Wow, this was an all-time favorite campground. We stayed three nights and would happily have stayed longer. We’d also love to come back and explore the West and South sides of the lake too.

Standard Richard’s rear shot, climbing up to the lake.

Driving up, we got off Highway 95 and took Dufort Road along the southern side of the Pend Oreille River until we crossed at the town of Priest River. Richard was checking out the route for possible future rides and decided that 95 would never be a fun thing to do; there is just too much fast-moving traffic and nothing but bike gutters filled with crap. Dufort was narrow but not very trafficked and could have been nice if it were not raining. We took 57 up from there, and that would be ok bike riding, but mostly views of trees. I let him out at the information center right where we left 57 and he rode the rest of the way to the campground. It wasn’t until East Shore Road that the view became spectacular, but oh boy, was it ever.

Priest Lake relief map

I waited for him in the parking lot at the campground, where there is some cell service, some WIFI, and lots of ice cream. We were both deliriously happy when he rolled in. Dory got a great solar charge and Richard got a free Father’s Day root beer float. There is a cute little visitor center with a relief map and lots of trail information.

Fun with electricity

We got ourselves situated and spent a bit of time with electrical projects. Richard had his, where he worked on testing things with a multimeter and taking a possibly bad GFCI outlet out of the mix. We plugged in and had success! The Xantrex converter/inverter charged up the batteries just like it was supposed to, and we verified functionality of everything except the AC. As it happened, the batteries were already pretty charged from the solar panels, so it didn’t take long to get to “float” mode, which means they were as good as they were going to get. We were very, very happy to see that. We’re still not 100% sure we’ve isolated the problem, so we’re not going to leave Dory plugged in without us there and watching closely. But this was super good news. My electrical projects involved changing batteries on all the string lights, LED candles, and flashlights. We each have our areas of expertise.

Beautiful sandy beach

After dinner, we took a walk to the beach, and I got a good look at the boat launch. The beach is sandy, which is unusual for lakes, and there were lots of things for campers to do, like play volleyball, or partake in one of the ubiquitous disc golf courses we are finding in campgrounds now.

Richard is a butterfly magnet.

The next day we did some trail hiking around the campground and up to a stunning view point. A visit to the ice cream place happened between hikes too. It rained some, but we came prepared with good gear. Richard’s rain kilt was on standby but was not needed. We can only hope there are more opportunities for that to come out soon.

Took advantage of the break in the rain.

For our last day, I got my boat on the water and Richard got in a ride to the upper end of the lake. He found that the last mile of road was not paved, but he got most of the way. I had a much better time setting up my boat, due to the critically important addition of a key piece of equipment: a hair band. I get ridiculously annoyed when my hair falls in my face every time I bend over. Hair bands are my friends and I have stashed them in every possible pocket where I might find myself needing one.

Hidden waterfall only visible from the water

The paddle was wonderful, and the lake is just beautiful. I hugged the shoreline and discovered several hidden waterfalls cascading down the banks. They were hard to see, hiding behind trees and bushes, but easy to hear. The water was clear and cold, but I was nice and warm with my layer of inflatable floor. After an hour and a half, I simply turned around and let the afternoon wind blow be back to shore.

Vista at Viewpoint Trail

This lake has everything. We absolutely loved it here. Though there was rain, we think we hit it at a good time because it was not too crowded. We found the sites to be close, but fine. Other negative reviews state they are too close with not enough privacy. I suppose it depends which site you get. Ours was close to our neighbors on one side, but totally private on the other. In our site, we could hit cell service for Verizon. It didn’t seem like there would be any cell service as you move farther from the visitor center. Also, we saw two sites completely flooded out: 27 and 30. Perhaps best not to reserve those, just in case. The bathrooms were all new and very clean. Out by the boat launch there is a vault toilet, but it too was clean. All the volunteers and people working the campground were very friendly and as we left, one of them called out saying, “Hope you enjoyed your stay!” We sure did!

Total miles from Farragut: 78.6, 19.0 mpg, 2 hours 50 min. Site 2. Good dump. Verizon got cell, but not ATT. From the parking lot, ATT can hit 5g for 1 bar and Verizon can get good strong 5g. There is also WiFi at the Visitor Center. Cute campground store with groceries and ice cream!

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