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Ride Idaho

Day 5: Troy, MT to Sandpoint, ID

Click to enlarge the route map and elevation.



DISTANCE: 72.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3,235.2 ft.

Leaving Montana, we’ll cross into Idaho and pass through Bonners Ferry, a city that boasts “a population of about 2,500 of Idaho’s friendliest people.” With a quaint downtown and pretty riverside views, you’ll be glad to have a chance to see this Idaho town on our tour of this wonderful region.

Then, we pedal on to Sandpoint! Sandpoint was literally named the “Most Beautiful Town in America” by USA Today and Rand McNally. We certainly agree--out of all the towns we’ve ever seen from our handlebars, Sandpoint is always a Ride Idaho favorite! Set beside the stunning Lake Pend Oreille, this city has great views, great food, great people, a great downtown area, and lots to explore. In Sandpoint, we’ll be camped right on the city beach. With the lake beside us and one of the most charming downtown areas you’ll ever see just a block away, there will be plenty for us to see and do. Sure to be a highlight of your Ride Idaho experience, the community of Sandpoint and its shops, bars, and entertainment never disappoint--we can’t wait to share them with you!


  • Elevation:  2,074 ft.
  • Population:  8,100
  • Average high in August:  82° F
  • Ride IdahoAverage rainfall in August:  1.11”
Sandpoint is located on the Northern shore of the 43 mile-long Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho. It is a thriving community, abundant with recreational, cultural and other municipal opportunities.

Before Sandpoint officially became a village in 1901. It was part of the home of the Kalispel Tribe of Native Americans. Their ancestral lands extended across Northern Idaho, into Canada, and as far East as Montana. Fur traders were the first outsiders to establish a relationship with the indigenous tribe, around 1809. In 1880, Robert Weeks opened a general store in the village. By 1882, Northern Pacific began building the stretch of railroad that runs between Montana and this tiny community. The settlement grew slowly over the next decade, during which time it was named Sandpoint.

The forests and rich mineral deposits in the region also attracted settlers to the area. Timber became the main industry, and farming was becoming a popular activity on the cleared forest land. These farms primarily grew hay, because the short growing season in Northern Idaho made it difficult to grow other crops. The village of Sandpoint was incorporated in 1901 and named a city in 1906.

The 1940s brought Farragut Naval Training Station to the area with about 300,000 new servicemen. In 1963, Schweitzer Basin ski area opened, and North Idaho's recreation opportunities began to attract many more to the region by the 1970s. A growing arts-oriented population helped form and support the Pend Oreille Arts Council in 1978. Between the 1980s and present day, Sandpoint has transitioned from a resource-based economy to a more balanced, diversified one with manufacturing and recreation amenities.


  • Cruise Lake Pend Oreille by boat: Learn about its vivid history, view wildlife or watch the sunset. Lake Pend Oreille Cruises has several options from 1 to 1.5 hours in length, starting at $15. View the schedule and book your reservation with them at http://www.lakependoreillecruises.com/index.html.
  • Seaplane Tours: Flights range in length from 20 min. to an hour. Tours of Lake Pend Oreille can include many of the area's geographical highlights, nearby Priest Lake, Upper Priest Lake, Kootenai Falls, Bull Lake, and other wilderness areas. http://www.sandpoint.com/seaplane/
  • Paddleboard and kayak rentals are available from several nearby vendors.
  • Fishing: There’s a plethora of local outfitters. With a little research on the internet, you’re sure to find one that sounds great to you!
  • Shopping & Antiquing: Stroll the downtown Sandpoint Shopping District and enjoy a unique environment featuring historic buildings and locally owned shops.
  • Bonner County Historical Museum 609 S. Ella St. Features the history of mining and logging in the county, pioneer and Native American life, railroading and more, 208-263-2344.
  • Pend d'Oreille Winery 220 Cedar Street, right in the heart of downtown. Tasting room, gift shop and Bistro Rouge Cafe.
  • Laughing Dog Brewing 1109 Fontaine Drive, Ponderay, ID. 2.5 mi. via Sandpoint Byway Trail. Craft Brewery & gift shop. 208-263-9222.
  • MickDuff's Brewing Company 312 N First Ave., 4 blocks from camp. Craft brewery and restaurant. 208-255-4351.


Transportation is your responsibility when booking accommodations away from camp.

LaQuinta Inn
415 Cedar Street
Sandpoint, ID 83864
(208) 263-9581

Best Western Plus Edgewater
56 Bridge St
Sandpoint, ID 83864
(208) 263-3194


Lake RV - Hi Dee Ho RV Park
2.6 miles N. of City Beach / RI campground
1200 Fontaine Dr.
Ponderay, ID 83852

City Beach - 15 RV spots
Operated by Best Western Plus Edgewater
(208) 263-3194

City Beach - 15 RV spots
Operated by Best Western Plus Edgewater
(208) 263-3194

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