Idaho is a northwestern USA state that’s known for its beautiful landscapes. Surrounded by mountains and home to beautiful water bodies, the view here is breathtaking. But of course, that’s not all the state has to offer. With different cultural and recreational activities taking place throughout the year, this place is the perfect vacation spot for everyone. From the Shakespeare festival that stages different plays to the potato drop that happens every New Year’s eve, there’s a sight to see at every turn. And if we’re talking about Idaho, we definitely cannot forget the many beautiful lakes in the state, ones that make this a premium place for whitewater rafting, a sport that will fill you with adrenaline. So, check out this list of the most gorgeous lakes in Idaho, USA.
1. Lake Pend Oreille
Idaho’s biggest and deepest water body, Lake Pend Oreille is located between three frontal ranges of the Rocky Mountains, making it not only a place with a rich history but also one with a breathtaking view. A family-friendly place, it is surrounded by multiple parks, such as Farragut State Park, which facilitate picnics and other activities. Whiskey Rock, which is located on the southeastern source, also has a camping site. Apart from that, one can always go boating as there are multiple boat launches around the lake, but that’s not the only watersport to enjoy as many rental companies offer options like jet skiing, kayaking and more. If you’re into bird-watching, you’ll spot many birds like bald eagles and ospreys diving into the lake to catch fish. There’s really something for everyone to do here.
2. Priest Lake
Located in the northern part of the state, right under the Selkirk Mountains, Priest Lake is known by many as ‘Idaho’s Crown Jewel’. With many resorts, vacation rentals and RV Parks, people from all over flock to this lake, not just for the azure blue view but also the many activities offered. Whether you want to experience thrilling watersports or go for a hike around the surrounding area to take in the beauty of the lake, anything is possible. Rock climbing, golfing, and biking are other options as there are many trails and even rentals around the lake. And in the winter when snow falls, people can experience different Nordic sports, something that’s not available everywhere.
Address: Bonner County, Idaho, United States
Website: Priest Lake
3. Lake Coeur d'Alene
Surrounded by mountains, Lake Coeur d'Alene is the second largest lake in Idaho, fed by two primary rivers, the Coeur d’Alene River and St. Joe River. While this is a naturally formed lake, its water is controlled by the Post Falls Dam. There are multiple boat ramps around the lakes giving people an opportunity to go boating or fishing, and if they prefer to admire the view from afar, they can either head down to the many parks that surround the lake or down to the beach for a wonderful day under the sun. Every winter, bald eagles flock around the lake while in the migration process, a sight that can be so rarely seen.
Lake Coeur d’Alene
Address: Kootenai / Benewah counties, Idaho, U.S.
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4. Bear Lake
With turquoise blue water, Bear Lake is often called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” and it is a hotspot for activities like jet skiing, sailing, fishing, swimming and many more. Surrounded by resorts, rental cabins, camping sites and RV parks, people from all over the world come to visit this lake. Because of this, there are tons of activities in the area, such as go-karting, dance halls, adventure parks, and theatres. Those who want to admire the view can always go down to the beach for a nice picnic or go hiking along the many trails. The lake is also a good spot for bird-watching as many migrating birds pass through the area during winter. And finally, when the water freezes over, you can always go ice-fishing!
Address: Bear Lake County, Idaho; Rich County, Utah, U.S.
Website: Bear Lake
5. Lake Cascade
Once known as Cascade Reservoir, Lake Cascade is the fourth largest lake in Idaho, and it is famous among people who love going camping because of the many beachfront camping grounds around the lake. Other than camping, people also come down to the lake for fishing, as there is a wide variety of aquatic species living within its water. With boat ramps all around, the lake is also popular for those who love boating, water skiing, and other watersports.
Address: Valley County, Idaho
6. Henrys Lake
A high mountain lake, Henrys Lake is famous, not only among the people who live in Idaho, but also others, because it is one of the few places where they can find the best cutthroat trout, cut-bow hybrid, and many other species, making it the best spot for those who love fishing. There are multiple boat ramps in the area. But that’s not the only thing Henrys Lake has to offer as people go there for other activities like camping, hiking, and horse-riding.
Address: Fremont County, Idaho, U.S.
7. Redfish Lake
An alpine lake, Redfish lake is located in central Idaho, at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. Surrounded by natural beauty, people come down to this lake for so many different activities, from picnics to paddle boating across the blue water. Since the mountains surround the lake, there are multiple hiking trails for those interested in mountain climbing. There are separate trails for those who want to go biking. And of course, fishing is also popular along with swimming. People can also go horse-riding, an activity offered by the many resorts and lounges that border the lake.
Address: Custer County, Idaho
8. Stanley Lake
Another alpine lake, Stanley Lake is also located at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, right in the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreational Park. Unlike the other lakes, this one is a lot quieter with not too many people coming by, and those who do, they prefer to sit back and admire the beautiful natural view. Go boating or kayaking to get a good view of the mountains and become a temporary photographer, because this is a sight you’ll want to remember.
Address: Custer County, Idaho
9. Alice Lake
Another lake located at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, Alice Lake is known for its stunning beauty as the water is crystal clear, reflecting the sky and making one feel as though they are floating among the clouds. Unlike the other lakes, to reach Alice Lake, people have to hike for a bit, but that’s not a bad thing when greenery is involved. And once you reach the lake, everything feels worth it because a view like this can’t be found anywhere else. So, get your workout and then enjoy a picnic by the lakeside!
Address: Blaine County, Idaho, United States
10. Alturas Lake
Another alpine lake, Alturas Lake is located in Sawtooth Valley and it is a part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Much like its sister lakes, people come here for activities like fishing and boating. The view, especially in winter, is too beautiful to ignore. There is also a campsite but it’s only open from June to September before it begins to snow. Other than that, there are multiple hiking trails, some leading into the Alturas Lake Creek, while others go around the lake itself. And while this isn’t an official trail, it’s worth exploring.
Address: Blaine County, Idaho, United States
Website: Alturas Lake Inlet
An all-seasons vacation spot
Whether it’s sunny outside or the ground is covered with snow, lakes are something that you can visit all year long. Not only are they a hub of natural beauty, surrounded by either dense forests or mountain ranges, but they’re also places where you can do activities that you can’t on dry ground, like fishing, swimming and so much more. Sometimes it’s important to just sit back and enjoy nature, so take this opportunity to go down to the lake, take a dip in the cool water, or just hike down the many trails around. It’ll be worth it.
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