What to do in Priest Lake State Park

*Note: All information presented is non-seasonal, as per the wishes of the State of Idaho.

Lying at about 2,400 feet above sea level, Priest Lake State Park has an abundance of beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities. Visitors will enjoy the dense cedar-hemlock forests and the wildlife, such as whitetail deer, black bear, moose and bald eagles. The stately Selkirk Mountain Range towers nearby and numerous streams tumble down the slopes.

Noted for its clear water, Priest Lake extends 19 miles and is connected to the smaller Upper Priest Lake by a placid, two-mile-long water thoroughfare.

Steeped in a history of Jesuit priests, Indian villages, homesteaders and logging camps, Priest Lake offers park visitors great diversity ranging from boating and fishing to snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

You can RV, tent or rent a cabin camp at Priest Lake. Camping is on a first come, first served basis. For camping and cabin reservations at Priest Lake, call 208-443-6710.

Located four miles south of Coolin, the Dickensheet Unit is nestled beside the pristine Priest River. Open from May 1 through September 30, Dickensheet has become a popular entry point for raft and canoe float trips down the Priest River. This unit offers only primitive camping.

The site of a large Diamond Match Company logging camp, Indian Creek was the terminus of a three-mile-long log flume in the 1940s and '50s.

Indian Creek Unit is located 11 miles north of Coolin on the east side of Priest Lake and is open year-round. Park headquarters are located here.

Summer visitors enjoy the large sandy beach along the lakefront. Camping, fishing, boating, water-skiing, hiking and picnicking are some of the more popular activities.

In the winter, Indian Creek Unit offers access to over 200 miles of marked, groomed snowmobile trails and a myriad of cross-country skiing opportunities.

Recreation
Located 23 miles north of Coolin on East Shore Road, the Lionhead Unit rests along the northern tip of Priest Lake. Lionhead was the location of the Nell Shipman movie studio during the 1920s. Located near the thoroughfare to Upper Priest Lake, Lionhead is a convenient departure point for boaters who wish to explore those pristine waters. From May 1 through September 30, park visitors can enjoy the quarter mile of white-sand beach that extends along the campground. After September 30 water is shut off at the campground and camping rates are reduced to $7 per night. Lionhead has been developed with tent camps in mind and offers a primitive camping experience.

For group camping for up to 50 people, you can't beat this rustic, isolated retreat. The camp offers 1,000 feet of white-sand beach on the lake, kitchen and shower facilities, fire pit, and a chance to see nature at its best. Reservations taken up to 11 months in advance.

Use of the group camp area is $175 per day, including kitchen and sleeping quarters for eight. RV hookups are available for a fee. From October 1 through April 30, you can use the group camp for $100 per day. Contact the park for reservations.

The nonrefundable reservation fee and first night's fee must accompany the reservation request. A cleaning deposit of up to $50 may be required. This must be paid along with the balance of the rental fee no later than 15 days prior to your visit. The cleaning deposit will be fully refunded if the building is left in the same condition in which it was accepted.

Location
Follow the signs off State Highway 57 north of Priest River

Climate
The climate in Idaho varies with the elevation. The bottom of Hell's Canyon, Boise and other locations at low elevations receive hot summer weather. Temperatures at these elevations often reach 90 degrees or more during the summer months. At the same time the mountains will get mild temperatures with cool nights. Winters are just as extreme with the mountains experiencing extreme conditions and temperatures. An average of 500 inches of snow falls on the Idaho highlands. Temperatures are known to dip below zero degrees F on many winter nights. The lower elevations enjoy a more mild winter season with less precipitation than the mountains. The sun is a constant throughout the year. Be sure to wear sunscreen and layered clothing in Idaho's unpredictable weather.

Address
314 Indian Creek Park Road
Coolin, ID 83821

Phone: 208-443-2200

Email: pri@idpr.state.id.us
  • Priest Lake State Park Travel Q&A

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