Tove and I love to travel. We’ve been all over the world, visiting more than 20 different countries combined. Our experiences range from going on safari in Tanzania to surfing the waves of Costa Rica. With that said, there’s nowhere else on the planet we would rather be vacationing right now than Priest Lake, Idaho. In our minds — it’s heaven on Earth.
Located nearly six hours from Seattle on the Idaho Panhandle, Priest Lake is the gem of Idaho — a state known for its incredible lakes (there are literally hundreds on the map). And believe it or not, Priest Lake is still a hidden gem to many folks. The first question we get when we tell people we visited Priest Lake is, “Where is that?”
Priest Lake, which is nestled at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains, is 19 miles long and goes as deep at 300 feet. The water is crystal clear thanks to the streams that flow down from the mountain peaks. That makes the lake ideal for fishing (bass and trout are common in the lake), but it’s also prime for water sports like wakeboarding, water skiing and tubing. The water temperature is typically perfect in the summer time: cold enough to cool you down, but warm enough that you’re not afraid to get in.
It’s quiet on Priest Lake. There are resorts like Elkins and Hill’s, plenty of camping, and there are also cabins, but the cool part about Priest Lake is that it’s not overdeveloped. Most of the land around the lake is state-owned, so you’re surrounded by trees — not houses and buildings. That also means boat traffic — for a lake this size — is pretty minimal.
The weather is usually perfect at Priest Lake in the summer months. There are average temperatures of 74 degrees in June, 82 degrees in July and August, and 71 degrees in September. The lake can be prone to wind at times, especially early in the day. My friend Eric, who I’ve gone to the lake with for the last four or five years, says Priest Lake isn’t always the best for boating (because the wind makes the water choppy). From our experience though, the breeze usually calms by the late afternoon (right around dinner time) — if it gets windy at all.
Just when you thought this place couldn’t get any better, nights are amazing on Priest Lake as well. You can see a million stars (or at least that’s what it feels like) when it’s clear. It really is something you have to see to believe. Shooting stars sling across the sky like you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve even seen the Northern Lights at Priest Lake, which was easily one of the most incredible moments of my life.
You can choose what type of experience you have at Priest. You can get in the mix at the resort bars (there’s usually live music in the summer), chill out with your family and/or friends at a cabin or campground, or make it an outdoor adventure full of hiking and fishing. We personally like nothing more than sitting on a boat, listening to country music (not typical for us — it’s just a product of the environment), drinking Coors Light and diving into the water. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer day.
Just fair warning — it only takes one trip to become addicted to Priest Lake. Trust us…we know from experience. Our summer isn’t complete without a visit to the lake now.
Have you ever been to Priest Lake? What do you think of it? We would love to connect with you. Leave a message right here or find us on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. We’re always down to hear a good story or two from Priest. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great Seattle getaways.