The creation of Farragut State Park is an unintended result of a compact between Adolf Hitler and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. The intent to invade the United States and divide its land between them led to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The U.S. response to this attack included the building of the Farragut Naval Training Station inland, along the shore of Lake Pend Oreille, so that it would be protected from coastal invasion.
Named after the first Admiral of the Navy, David Glasgow Farragut, the station operated from 1942 to 1946 and had 293,381 men from across the nation train there. Carved from the remote forests of North Idaho, it became the largest city in Idaho with a population over 50,000. By thelate 40’s the U.S. government put the land up for sale. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game bought parcels along the shoreline, and the remaining land was given to the State of Idaho as the Farragut Wildlife Management Area. A 20- acre parcel was retained for an acoustic research detachment, which is still in operation today for the U.S. Navy.
The park museum offers history about the park including its beginnings during WWII. The park is open all year & offers a well-developed system of paths for hiking, biking and equestrian with over 4,000 forested acres. Summer facilities include swimming, boating, fishing (the world-record kamloops (37 pounds) was caught in Lake Pend Oreille!), hiking, camping, and a shooting range. To get to Farragut, drive 95 North at Athol, turn east on Hwy 54 (Idaho’s shortest highway).
Follow Hwy 54 east to Bayview, the “Southern Gateway” to Lake Pend Oreille offering a friendly port for fishing, power boating, sailing, and relaxing. Bayview still houses a small Navy base involved in acoustical and research attachment and model submarine units are currently used for research and development.
For a spectacular view of the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille, drive about a mile up the Cape Horn Road. It’s a great view of the community of Lakeview (a few miles across the lake) and the Coeur d’Alene, Cabinet, and Bitterroot Mountain ranges. You can also enjoy a beautiful view of Bayview and Farragut State Park.
Follow Hwy 54 back to Hwy 95. Drive north to Lake Cocolalla, which offers great trout, perch and bass fishing. In the winter when the lake freezes over, ice fishermen can be seen dotting the shoreline.
Round Lake State Park is located just north of Lake Cocolalla and two miles west on the Dufort Road, and is excellent for camping, hiking, swimming and fishing. While at the lake, check out the wildlife flourishing among mixed forests and clear waters and don’t forget your binoculars to spot birds of a feather.
Continuing north on Hwy 95 to Sagle. Turn right on Sagle Road and go 7 miles to Garfield Bay Road taking the fork to the right. Go 1.5 miles to a left on Garfield Bay Cut-Off Road, then .4 miles to a right on Mineral Point Road 532 and go 4.5 miles to the end of the road. A hiking trail will get you to Lost Lake, a forgotten treasure hidden amongst the trees.
Still heading north on Hwy 95 visitors will enter Sandpoint by traveling over the Long Bridge. The original wooden bridge was built in 1910 on 1,540 cedar pilings and was almost two miles long when completed making it the longest wooden bridge in the world. The current bridge is the 4th replacement.
Sandpoint offers an array of fine shopping including the nationally acclaimed catalog company, Coldwater Creek on main street. Just a few doors down you’ll find the picturesque Cedar Street Bridge Public Market. Sandpoint is alive and vibrant with year-round theatre performances, art events, fairs, movies, plays and festivals including the Festival of Sandpoint in August. Visit the restored historic Panida Theater at 300 N. First Street. Summer activities include golfing, fishing, cruises, sea kayaking , swimming, mountain biking, hiking, boating or for something different visit the local winery.
On the North shore of Lake Pend Oreille and just 12 miles from Sandpoint is Hope, home to incredible sunsets and sweeping lake views. Hope was once a bustling railroad hub. Be sure and ask the locals how to find Beyond Hope, really there actually is a Beyond Hope. Continue on to Clark Fork or head back to Sandpoint. Drive north on Hwy 95 for a few miles to the Schweitzer Mountain Resort turnoff. Schweitzer, in Swiss, means “Swiss man.” In the summer, the resort offers a host of recreational opportunities such as hiking and mountain biking trails, scenic chairlift rides, horseback riding, special childrens programs, rental services and music festivals. In the winter, experience the energy and excitement of the mountain by skiing, tubing, snowboarding, snowmobiling or taking an old-fashioned sleigh ride. You’ll also find restaurants, cafes and a general store.