Day Trip Ideas
(35 mi / 45 min)
45 mi / 55 min
Digging (63 mi, 1hr, 20 min) (about the same mileage via Pullman-Deary)
River Recreation Area
(106 mi, 2 hrs) (via Pullman-Deary side, 63 mi / 1 hr 20 min)
(20 mi / 45 minutes via Moscow-Troy
A relatively short drive from Pullman will bring you deep into the
nature of Idaho, changing quickly from the farmland of eastern Washington,
to the forests of north central Idaho.
our charter, we meet at Ireland's Cafe near the 'Y' junction in Potlatch,
Idaho. From Pullman, head north on WA27 to Palouse, then east on WA27
/ ID6 the remainder of the way to Potlatch. Ireland's Cafe has been there
for many years, and is one of the best breakfast spots in the region,
reasonably priced too.
(20 total miles from Pullman)
we will proceed to take a loop through north central Idaho. This is an
easy day trip if you don't spend too much time at one spot. But that takes
some fun out of it! So come back often, each time concentrating on one
destination. By the way, these destinations are inexpensive, and only
require casual wear. It is advised to bring extra water, a camera, compass/GPS,
suncreen, and cash (not always plastic friendly in the back country).
Park, St. Joe National Forest
After topping off at Ireland's Cafe, head east on ID6. You will soon approach
Potlatch, ID (2 mi). Note the Scenic 6 Park to your right, home of
the former Potlatch Corp. lumber mill (1903-1983). Proceeding through
Potlatch, you will next come to the very small towns of Princeton, ID
and nearby Harvard, ID. Continue on heading northeast about 4 more miles
until you see the Laird Park/St. Joe National
Forest sign. Drive another mile or so until you see the Laird Park entrance.
Laird Park is a very popular picnic spot with an old fashioned swimming
hole. There is also camping
in the park. Bring a picnic lunch, pack the cooler and enjoy a lively
day hearing the mountain water pass by. There are plenty of rest rooms
in the park - no worries. Once you leave the park, you may decide to head
deeper into the forest. Many find suitable camping spots along side the
creek/river further upstream. The many dredged piles of rocks make it
a popular spot for ATV's as well, but really isn't a big problem/distraction.
This is also a popular spot in the later summer for huckleberry pickers.
It's beautiful country. I highly recommend your adventuring here.
(15 total miles from Potlatch)
Divide, Idaho Panhandle National Forest Nordic/Hiking Trails
Returning to the main highway from Laird, head northeast on ID6 another
10 miles. As you crest the grade, you will note a wide place in the road
marking the Palouse
Divide and entrance to Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The Palouse
Divide Lodge, formerly known as North-South Ski Bowl, is now a popular
cross-country ski or day hiking spot, depending on the season. Groomed/marked
trails weave over the crest of this beautiful lookout. I am not aware
of any facilities, so pack/prepare sufficiently.
(10 miles total from Laird)
Digging at Garnet Creek
After that invigorating hike, head northeast and take a right at the
'Y" on ID3 and continue for 11 miles passing through Santa and Fernwood,
ID. You will see signage on your right for Garnet Creek, a popular spot
for garnet digging (7 miles). Camping (2 miles) is also available nearby.
Permits are required for garnet digging. Visitor
information is available, courtesy of the Idaho Panhandle National
Forest. Additionally, you might enjoy reading about a Moscow family's
(18 miles total from Palouse Divide to garnet dig)
Returning to the main highway, head east 23 miles on ID3 traveling past
Clarkia, ID and through Bovill, ID. When you come to the Bovill-Elk River
head east on ID8 for 15 miles. You will note signage for Elk
Creek Falls on your right (in 2.5 miles and requires a small hike).
Back to the highway, continue to Elk River (another 5 miles). Head downtown
and stop at Huckleberry
Heaven for some soft serve huckleberry ice cream! Or for almost anything
else in huckleberry flavor! The entire area around Elk River is known
as the Elk River Recreation Area, with beautiful scenery, widespread snowmobiling
opportunity in the winter, fishing and camping in the summer, and hunting
in the fall. Personally, a mention of sleigh rides caught my attention.
While at Huckleberry Heaven ask directions to Elk River Reservoir, on
the skirts of town. Elk Creek Reservoir is a stocked reservoir, and popular
fishing spot. If you were to continue further on this gravel road, you
would 'dead end' at Dworshak Reservoir's northeast side (which also has
a very nice campground).
(40 miles round trip from junction to Elk River)
From the junction, head southeast toward Deary on ID8. In 3-5 miles
you will see a sign for Moose Creek Reservoir on your right. From ID8,
continue southeast toward Deary. In another few miles you will notice
the Helmer Store on your right. Don't blink, or you'll miss it.
This is a GREAT place to eat! Great lunch and dinners. Try the bite-size
steak! Yum! They also sell bear and wine. Just across the way from the
Helmer Store is signage for Little
Boulder Campground, a very nice campground within very reasonable
distance from the Pullman area (only 36 miles). Continuing southeast on
ID8, you will travel through Deary. Continue southeast toward Troy about
7-8 miles and you will see signage for Spring Valley Reservoir. Located
5 miles in from the highway on a decent gravel road is a wonderful reservoir,
with plenty of docks and fishing pads, a swimming area, a rest room, a
group picnic shelter, a volley ball area, and an area to let in a small
boat (electric trolling motors only), or a canoe. It is truly a wonderful
place to relax. You can walk around the reservoir too. I don't think there
is any camping allowed. This is a very popular fishing spot for young
and old, and only about 20 miles from Pullman.
(19 miles total from the Bovill/Elk River junction to Spring Valley Reservoir).
to ID8, head to Troy, and then east to Moscow/Pullman.