Sample Day Trips
Palouse Falls
Inside Idaho

Other Day Trip Ideas


Point to Point:

  • Pullman-Laird Park
    (35 mi / 45 min)
  • Pullman-Palouse Divide
    45 mi / 55 min
  • Pullman-Garnet Digging (63 mi, 1hr, 20 min) (about the same mileage via Pullman-Deary)
  • Pullman-Elk River Recreation Area
    (106 mi, 2 hrs) (via Pullman-Deary side, 63 mi / 1 hr 20 min)
  • Pullman-Spring Valley
    (20 mi / 45 minutes via Moscow-Troy

Inside Idaho
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.

To begin 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)

From here 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).

Laird 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)

Palouse 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)

Garnet 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 garnet digging experience.
(18 miles total from Palouse Divide to garnet dig)

Elk River Recreation Area
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 junction, 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)

Spring Valley Reservoir
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).

Backtrack to ID8, head to Troy, and then east to Moscow/Pullman.









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