Lake Pend Oreille – Idaho's Largest Lake


With a surface area of about 148 square miles, Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest lake. And with a maximum depth of about 1,150 feet, it is also the fifth deepest lake in the United States. This lake is fed by both the Pack River and the Clark Fork River and it is drained by the Pend Oreille River. This lake is a great vacation destination for people of all ages and interests. Here you can find luxury lake resorts, beautiful lakefront homes and cabins as well as inexpensive National Forest Service and State Park campgrounds. Whether you want to rough it or be pampered, you will enjoy the attractions and splendor offered by Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding area.

Towns around Lake Pend Oreille

There are several towns that surround Lake Pend Oreille. The largest town, where you will find the most options for lodging, dining and entertainment, is Sandpoint, Idaho. Sandpoint is an excellent location to use as a base for your North Idaho vacation as it is the home to a lot of the local cultural attractions and events. Some of these attractions and events include: the Festival at Sandpoint, the Winter Carnival, the International Draft Horse Show, arts and crafts fairs, Lost in the 50s, the Schweitzer Ski Resort, and the Lakedance Film Festival. There are also several top notch golf courses in the area as well such as the Jack Nickalaus designed Idaho Club.

Ten miles east of Sandpoint is another lake town called Trestle Creek. This is a great little town to visit, especially if you are an RVer, as they have a great selection of campgrounds and RV parks. The next towns to the east of Sandpoint are Hope and East Hope. These are boat launch towns. If you need a deep water launch pad, this is where you will want to go. These towns also offer some great restaurants too.

Other lake towns that can be found near Lake Pend Oreille include Bayview, Lakeview, Garfield Bay and Bottle Bay. These towns each offer their own attractions and comforts. However, they are small and generally don’t offer a lot of lodging options.

Lake Pend Oreille Recreation

The size of Pend Oreille makes it a very popular recreation lake. Here you can fish, watch wildlife, go hiking, go boating, or participate in virtually any type of water sport imaginable. Obviously fishing is big on this big lake. The fish that you can catch in Lake Pend Oreille include whitefish, cutthroat, bull trout, bass, sunfish, catfish, kokanee, brown trout, mackinaw, crappie, and perch. Winter recreation focuses mainly around skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Another great place to visit is Farragut State Park. During World War II, the south end of the lake was occupied by the second largest naval training ground in the world. Built as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the training station is now Farragut State Park. Today, this 4,000 acre state park features campgrounds, boat launches, picnic facilities with pavilions, sand volleyball courts, a disc golf course, and many other great recreational facilities. Farragut also features many great hiking trails and affords excellent wildlife viewing possibilities. You may even catch a glimpse of their bighorn sheep herd!

Wildlife viewing is another popular recreation option. This lake is the home to a great selection of wildlife from birds to predatory mammals. The birds that you can spot here include ducks, tundra swans, osprey, Canada geese and eagles. The mammals that you can spot here include mountain goats, bears, deer, elk, moose, and elusive mountain lions.


If you are interested in exploring the local wilderness areas then hit the trails. The region around the lake is filled with great trails maintained by state and national forest service departments. One of the most popular trails is the trail that takes pedestrians from Sandpoint across the Pedestrian Long Bridge and along the shoreline of the lake. Mineral Point Trail 82 and Beetop-Roundtop Divide Trail also are popular trails to explore. Many of the local trails work well for both hikers and mountain bikers, however, pay attention to the restriction signs as some trails are used exclusively for hikers.

Planning a visit to Lake Pend Oreille during any season will be a hit. Activities are planned on or around the lake year round. Please feel free to contact Rhonda Sand at TMI Tours for more information on planning your visit to Lake Pend Oreille and North Idaho!