Once a route between the US and British Columbia’s flourishing fur trapping and gold mining areas, Bonners Ferry evolved from being simply a way to get from here to there, to a burgeoning supply town, providing the miners and traders with the necessities of mining and trapping. Today, it is a transportation hub for US-Canadian travelers, and is surrounded by forests, rivers and lakes, including the Kootenai River which provides ample opportunities for motor boaters, kayakers and canoeists to travel the 66 river miles from Bonners Ferry into Colorado. There are very few places along the river to put a boat in, but Bonners Ferry is one of them, with 2 such locations!
Bonners Ferry is also host to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, whose 2,774 acres located beside the Selkirk Mountains provides habitats for many species of migrating and breeding wildlife including large and small mammals, insects, birds and fish. A dog-friendly park, the refuge contains 4 trails that meander through wetlands along the river, uplands with 2 scenic overviews and around the 11 ponds that exist in the park. Some trails are wheelchair accessible, and the park provides 5 convenient parking areas and restrooms. Set out with Spot or Fido on the short Myrtle Falls Trail overlooking Greenwind Pond, or Ole Humpback Trail that leads to the Island Pond Overlook. Your fur-baby will love the sights and scents along the way!Bonners Ferry is your gateway to some pawsome outdoor fun with your pup!
Bonners Ferry is home to 5 dog-friendly trails. The Snow Lake Trail is a 9.5-mile former logging road that leads to the quiet and pristine solitude of Snow Lake. The Pyramid and Ball Lakes Trail takes you and Fido into wilderness where an encounter with elk and the occasional bear dictate keeping your pup on leash. Upper Priest River Trail will take you and Fido about 8 hours to complete its 16-mile length. Grizzlies and caribou live here as well, so be aware, but the thick forest of huge trees will provide quiet serenity just the same. The Deep Creek Trail travels through wetlands, meadows and forests. The West Fork Lake and Mountain Trail requires 6-7 hours, and will provide deep shade and lake water to beat the summer heat for both you and Fido. There are lots of mosquitoes, so don’t forget the repellant!
Clark Fork is a town near Bonners Ferry that is home to the dog-friendly Kaniksu National Forest, which spans through Idaho, Montana and Washington. Idaho’s portion is about 225,000 acres of forested land with 10 trails for you to hike with your furry bestie. Best of all, on this public land, she can be off-leash! This park is popular with hikers even in winter when they might have to slog through feet of snow if they forget to bring their snowshoes. Priest Lake Trail overlooking the lake that is its namesake is an 8-mile loop for hikers with moderate skills and is most easily walkable from March until November. Crossing creeks and traversing heavy forest tracts, the trail boasts many primitive camping sites. Your pup will love all of the wildlife sights and smells, and you will love the scenery.
Moyie Springs is the town just north of Bonners Ferry, and it is host to Queen Mountain and the Queen Mountain Trail. This trail welcomes dogs to join their human buddies on a hike here, but pups must be on leash. This is a 3-mile out-and-back trail that is relatively easy and boasts beautiful wildflowers in the summer. Reaching its end will reward you with a lovely view of Queen Lake. Numerous birds and ample wildlife make the hike even more fun for Fido, and you might even encounter something big like an elk or deer. Be sure to keep the water bottle handy as the trail provides no amenities. Woofderfful!
Sandpoint is a town just to the south of Bonners Ferry, and its Town Center is host to Dog Beach Park just above the Route 95 causeway on Serenity Lee Trail. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the beach, but well worth it for both you and your fur-buddy! Clear shallow water flows next to the sandy beach, with grassy areas surrounding it. It’s off-leash because of its relative remoteness, so Fido can cavort, swim and socialize with the other doggos to his heart’s content. There are no amenities here, so be sure to bring water, waste bags and a towel for your wet fur-baby! Pawrrific!
Sagle is a town a few miles south of Bonners Ferry and home to the Mineral Point Trail, a 3.5-mile out-and-back trek that follows along the shore of the Pend Orrielle River, and leads to the secluded Lost Lake. Your pupster is welcome here, and the terrain’s mild ascents and descents will provide a challenge that you’re both more than capable of handling. The forestland and wildflowers make this a pleasant hike on a well-maintained trail. The beaches at Lost Lake and on the river provide great opportunities for both you and your fur-pup to cool off, and the camping area at the river beach can be a woofderful spot to overnight between hikes! Try it!