Access: Getting on the big lake

This summer, probably the best way to recapture a sense of the glory days of lake travel will be aboard the Shawnodese, a 40-foot-long riverboat-style cruise boat that will be docking at the Lakeside Inn off of Bridge Street in downtown Sandpoint. The Shawnodese will have regular departures (although the schedule wasn't set at press time) with boarding taking place 15 minutes prior to the cruise. Make a reservation to guarantee a spot; call 263-5539.

If muscle-powered craft is more your style, Full Spectrum Kayak Tours offers classes, rentals and tours on Lake Pend Oreille, Priest Lake and rentals on the Pack River. They also have brochures describing a canoe and kayak trail in the Clark Fork Delta. Call 263-5975 or see them at 218 Main St.

Several fishing charter boats are available as well. There are also several marinas in Sandpoint, Hope, Garfield Bay, Bottle Bay and Bayview. Check the phone book or contact local chambers of commerce.

Public lake access for folks who just want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing, or for those with their own boats, includes the following parks and recreation areas:

  • Sandpoint City Beach ­ Boat launch and docks, sandy beaches, volleyball, tennis, playgrounds. From First Avenue in downtown Sandpoint turn right on Bridge Street.
  • Trestle Creek ­ Boat launch and picnic area 12 miles east of Sandpoint on Highway 200.
  • Sam Owen Park ­ Boat launch, dock, beaches, camping 17 miles east of Sandpoint off Highway 200 on Hope Peninsula.
  • Johnson Creek ­ Boat launch and dock. Drive 25 miles east of Sandpoint on Highway 200 to Clark Fork, turn right to the National Forest entrance, cross the Clark Fork Bridge then turn right on Johnson Creek Road.
  • Bottle Bay - No public park, but the Bottle Bay Resort Marina has docks and swimming. A half mile south of Sandpoint, turn east off Highway 95 onto Bottle Bay Road, drive another eight miles.
  • Garfield Bay ­ Boat launch, beach, picnicking, campground. Six miles south of Sandpoint, turn left
  • on Sagle Road then take Garfield Bay Road.
  • Riley Creek ­ Boat launch, dock, picnic area. Located at Laclede on the Pend Oreille River, 12 miles west of Sandpoint on Highway 2.
  • Springy Point ­ Boat launch, dock, picnic area and campground. Turn west off Highway 95 at south end of the Long Bridge, drive four miles down Lakeshore Drive.
  • Talache Landing ­ Boat launch, cobblestone beach. Drive six miles south of Sandpoint, turn left on Sagle Road then turn right on Talache Road.
  • Farragut State Park's Beaver Bay ­ Part of a big state park with sand beach and swimming area with showers and changing rooms, docks, nearby boat launch, camping, hiking trails. Located 25 miles south of Sandpoint on Highway 95 and few miles east of Athol on Highway 54.

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