Saturday, March 24, 2012

Priest Lake, Bonner County, Idaho



This is Idaho’s 3rd largest natural lake at 23,360 acres, with 25 miles of length, 80 miles of shoreline and a depth of 400 feet.

Upper Priest Lake is connected to Priest Lake by a scenic 2.5 mile long shallow thorofare. When traveling via the thorofare to Upper Priest Lake, take it slow as there are hazards in the thorofare such as rocks and logs and the lake can be quite shallow (2-10') in some locations.
This has to be one of Idaho’s most gorgeous lakes due to its remote location and beautiful high heavily forested mountains on all sides. The significant abundance of wildlife also add a great deal to Priest Lake's beauty, and make it an extremely peaceful and enjoyable place to be.
There are two islands on this lake for both camping and great hiking. There are also camping facilities accessible via your car. Finding a camping site on this lake can be an issue during the busy summer season, but at other times of the year camp sites are fairly easy to get.
Water skiing/Wake boarding, and fishing are all very popular activities on this lake. This is also a great sailing lake with very consistent winds year around and lots of nice locations to anchor at.

Even though this lake has a lot of rocky show, it also has many beautiful beaches. All boat launch facilities on this lake are in shallow areas so it would be very difficult to launch a fixed keelboat into this lake. Mid draft boats and keelboats with swing keels are best suited for this lake.


Pictures and info about boat launches, access points, etc. below... Fishing: Fish species info coming soon. See sign when fishing at this lake. For more fishing info call 208-769-1414.

There are 16 launch sites on this lake, from paved launch sites to beaches that are popular to launch kayaks and canoes from. On this lake fixed keel sailboats and large power boats with deep drafts can be difficult to launch from due to the shallow depth of the launch sites.
See Upper Priest Lake information by clicking here...or go to Upper Priest Lake section at the bottom of this web page for more information about Upper Priest Lake.

Priest Lake Boat Launches and Camping


1. Beaver Creek State Park, lake sportsman access via beaches - Beach, boat launch near launch beach (see #2), restrooms, running water, RV and tent campsites, benches and picnic tables, hiking trails, portage trail for kayakers to access the fairway to Upper Priest Lake. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd. / forest service road 1339, to Beaver Creek S.P.. A sign will direct you to this park. Maps: View Google Map above...


2. Beaver Creek Boat Launch - specified for small boat use only! boat launch only for small boats, beaches, restrooms, running water, RV and tent campsites, benches and picnic tables, hiking trails, portage trail for kayakers to access the fairway to Upper Priest Lake. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd./ forest service road 1339 to Beaver Creek S.P.. A sign will direct you to this park. Once at the park watch for the sign indicating the direction to launch. There is also a canoe/kayak portage launch site (go to Upper Priest Lake section to learn more). Maps: View Google Map above...



3. Granite Creek Marina and Boat Launch - Rough paved launch, Dock, small parking lot. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd./ forest service road 1339, and watch for the signs for this resort. Maps: View Google Map above...



4. Grandview Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, beach, marina with seasonal moorage available, restrooms, restaurant. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd./ forest service road 1339 and watch for the signs for this resort. Maps: View Google Map above...



5. Ledgewood Picnic Day Use Area and Sportsman Access - Beach, restroom, hiking/access trail, picnic tables. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd./ forest service road 1339 and watch for the sign for this site. This site is between Elkins and Grandview Resorts. Maps: View Google Map above...



6. Elkins Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, marina with seasonal moorage available, beach, restroom, restaurant. Directions: On HWY 57, turn Left in Nordman onto Reeder Bay Rd./ forest service road 1339 and watch for the signs for this resort. Maps: View Google Map above...



7. Kalispell Day Use Area & Sportsman Access - beach, picnic tables, access/hiking trail, small gravel parking lot. Directions: On HWY 57 after passing through the city of Priest Lake... Turn Left/east onto Kalispell Bay Rd./ forest service road 237 and watch for the signs for this site. Maps: View Google Map above...



8. Priest Lake Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, marina with seasonal moorage available, beach, restroom. Directions: On HWY 57 after passing through the city of Priest Lake...Turn left/east onto Kalispell Bay Rd./ forest service road 237. Turn right/south onto Lake Shore Rd./Forest Service Road 1337. Watch for the sign for this resort. Maps: View Google Map above...



9. Kalispell Boat Launch - Paved launch, dock, beach, restrooms, moderate size parking lot. Directions: On HWY 57 after passing through the city of Priest Lake... Turn left/east onto Kalispell Bay Rd. / forest service road 237. Turn right/south onto Lake Shore Rd./Forest Service Rd. 1337. Watch for the sign for this launch facility. Maps: View Google Map above...



10. Hills Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, marina with seasonal moorage available, beach, restroom, restaurant. Directions: On HWY 57 after passing through the city of Priest Lake...Turn left/east onto Kalispell Bay Rd. / forest service road 237. Turn right/south onto Lake Shore Rd./Forest Service Rd. 1337. Continue on this road for several miles and watch for the sign for this resort. Maps: View Google Map above...


11. Osprey and Outlet Bay Campground and Sportsman Access - Pebble and rocky beaches, access/hiking trails, picnic tables, vault toilets. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling north toward the city of Priest Lake... Turn Left/east onto Outlet Road / forest service road 237. Follow the signs to Outlet or Osprey Campgrounds on W. Lakeshores Road. Maps: View Google Map above...



12. Bishop's Bay Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, marina with seasonal moorage available, beach, restroom, restaurant. This is Priest Lake's most southern boat launch facility on the lake. The depth at the ramp is shallow but do-able to launch a mid draft boat from. This can be a busy boat launch so be prepared to load and launch quickly. A note of caution for those launching sailboats: it would be better to launch a short distance up the road (north) at the public launch where there are no power lines near by. There is a gas station, restaurant, and food and water near this launch and marina. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd, into Coolin Idaho (go down the hill to where you see the water). Across from Leonard Paul store is the launch & marina. Maps: View Google Map above...



13. Coolin Public Boat Launch - Short Paved Launch, Dock, gravel parking lot. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. Drive into Coolin Idaho down the hill to where you see the water. Drive past the Bishop's Bay Marina & Leonard Paul store and continue up the road until you see to your left/west the sign and launch facility. This is a dead end road so you can not continue driving on this road up the lake. Maps: View Google Map above...



14. Blue Diamond Marina & Boat Launch - Paved Launch, Dock, marina with seasonal moorage available, restroom, restaurant. Can only use this launch with permission from the marina. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. In Coolin Idaho turn right/east onto E. Shore Rd. A few miles up the road follow the signs to this marina. Maps: View Google Map above...



15. Cavanaugh Marina & Boat Launch - Paved launch, docks, marina with seasonal moorage available, beach, restroom, restaurant, store. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. In Coolin Idaho turn right/east onto E. Shore Rd. A few miles up the road follow the signs to this marina. Maps: View Google Map above...



16. Indian Creek State Park & Boat Launch - Boat launch, beaches, restrooms, running water, RV and tent campsites, benches and picnic tables, hiking trails. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2...Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. In Coolin Idaho turn right/east onto E. Shore Rd. Watch for signs to park. Maps: View Google Map above...


17. Lion Head State Park Boat Launch - Boat launch, beaches, restrooms, running water, RV and tent campsites, benches and picnic tables, hiking trails. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. In Coolin Idaho turn right/east onto E. Shore Rd. Watch for the signs to park. Maps: View Google Map above...



18. Lion Head State Park Beach Sportsman Access - Sandy beaches like in Florida, restrooms, running water, RV and tent campsites, benches and picnic tables, hiking trails. Directions: On HWY 57 traveling from the city of Priest River Idaho on HWY 2... Turn right/east onto Coolin Rd. In Coolin Idaho turn right/east onto E. Shore Rd. Watch for the signs to park. Maps: View Google Map above...



Picture of old remains of steam power tug boat near Lion Head boat launch.

BOATING LINKS

For current Priest Lake info go to the City of Priest Lake website at http://www.priestlake.org

PARKS

Idaho National Forest Service boating sites
There are 14 boating sites on this lake; too many to keep up with. So go to the following link to get current info - http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/rec/yourplace/cgguide/map.html
State Park info here http://www.idahoparks.org/parks/priestlake.aspx
There are no BLM lands on Priest Lake.

RESORTS

MARINAS

RECREATION, GUIDE & RENTAL SERVICES

Map: To view a map click on http://www.mapquest.com and type in Coolin, Idaho; you will see the Lake easily.

Phone: Dickensheet 443-6710; Indian Creek 443-6710; Lionhead 443-6710; Kalispell Bay 443-2512; Hills Resort 443-2551; Indian Creek Marina 443-2292

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