What was once an expansive inland naval base integral to the nation's World War II effort is now arguably Idaho's finest state park. With its spectacular setting, Farragut State Park offers summer recreation that includes biking, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, boating, picnicking, camping or strolling through the park's museum.
For bikers, a network of easy to moderate trails wind through a diverse forest habitat with flat stretches and hill-climbs and drops. Since the trails are multiple-use, bikers must yield to other users. Meanwhile, horseback riders can unload and set out for a nice ride at the Thimbleberry Area on the north side of Highway 54, just east of the park headquarters.
On weekends, model airplane buffs guide their remote-controlled crafts through skies above the former WW II parade ground. And there's plenty of room for solitude for hikers or joggers as they wind among the other outdoor vestiges of World War II history.
Deer roam the park, while wild goats wander the hillside across the swimming hole at Buttonhook Bay. The Rocky Mountain goat herd is one of only four in Idaho's Panhandle. Idaho Fish and Game wildlife specialist Jim Hayden says the herd of 40 was established in the area during the 1960s. They're congregated in a two-mile radius and are fairly easy to see.
Hayden advises visitors to view the herd from afar rather than trying to get up close to them. With the area serving as both their summer and winter habitat, it's important that the animals don't expend a lot of energy trying to get away from people.
More than 200 sites at half a dozen campgrounds can be reserved for overnight use. In addition, two day-use areas are available for picnickers. Fee for park day use is $2 per vehicle or $30 for a season's pass, which is good in all of Idaho's state parks. Campers pay$10 for nonhook-up units and $13 for hook-up units per night.
Park officials encourage campers to call 208-683-2425 and reserve early for a campsite during summer. All campers should check in at the park headquarters, where personnel will answer questions, provide information on park regulations and detailed maps.
The Headquarters doubles as the Farragut museum, where visitors can enjoy both historical and nature displays. Historian Al Leiser is often available to share poignant stories about the area.
For World War II buffs, the 50th anniversary of Farragut's decommissioning will take place from Sept. 6-10. Several hundred veterans are expected to participate in the weekend of special tributes, story telling and numerous recreational activities. More information about the reunion will be available at the museum during the summer months.
To get to Farragut State Park from Sandpoint, drive 23 miles south on Highway 95. Turn left at the signal light in Athol and go approximately five miles down Highway 54. Restaurants, fishing and boating facilities are available at picturesque Bayview, neatly nestled on the hillside northeast of Farragut's boundary.
Farragut Caught in Time
Back to Contents Page -- 1996 Summer Sandpoint Magazine