Idaho State Route 97

I did this road in July 2008. While not exactly a stellar summer by even Puget Sounds standards, Northern Idaho seems to have been blessed with much nicer weather. No trace of rain to speak of while I was there, even though Seattle was getting a mid-July drenching.

Halfway through this ride, I dubbed it “The Long Way Around the Lake”. And while this a good description on paper, the whimsical title would completely ignore the somewhat intense reality of this extremely tight and somewhat hazardous roadway.

I have not in my entire life seem so many construction zones, new houses, boat slips, blind corners, and scenic overlooks packed into one place. The road ascends from lake level on either end up to the top of the bluff near Powderhorn Bay. In between these three points, it precariously hugs the side of the ridge with a steep uphill slope on one side and a nasty drop-off on the other in many places.

It’s also very busy as one might expect of such a scenic road in close proximity to Coeur d’ Alene. The road is rapidly filling up with fancy houses, and in a few years this road will probably have to be pulled from the list for no longer being suitable for anything beyond blue-hair riding speeds.

One thing it’s got in spades is scenery.

West across Wolf Lodge Bay:

North across the Lake from atop the bluff at Powderhorn Bay:

No chance of crappy scenery here. No sirree.

The south end of the lake is a little less intense but still moderately curvy. And as long as you don’t get behind a logging truck, you’ll enjoy Idaho 3 down into St. Maries.

  • County: Kootenai, Benewah
  • Length: 48 miles
  • Towns: Beatty, Eddyville, Harrison

Google Map: