Idaho Mountain Camping Vacation
Written April 26, 2013 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Resort Areas
Every summer I take the family on a camping trip. Last summer we stayed in the State of Idaho. We made a counter clockwise route from Sandpoint to Stanley, and back through Missoula, Montana. We were also able to visit a ghost town on the way, and see some rustic building techniques, maybe a little too rustic for some.
Rustic Log Rail Fence in Lower Stanley, Idaho
Except for the southern central section of the state, there are not a lot of flat places in Idaho. In fact, percentage-wise, Idaho is more mountainous than any other state. And where there are mountains, there are rivers. About ¾ of our trip was along some very beautiful rivers, and much of these where along Idaho “Scenic Byways”. Many parts of these rivers are popular for rafting, and hot springs are abundant.
Our first day was spent driving down Highway 95 from Sandpoint, through Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston, along the rivers to McCall, and down to Lake Cascade. The drive down into Lewiston is pretty dramatic. The highway towers above as it weaves down into the city, which is hugged by the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. We then drove up the Salmon River towards Riggins, and then up the Little Salmon River towards the beautiful town of McCall. We finally arrived at Amanita Campground on Lake Cascade as dusk was setting in.
Coho salmon spawning near our campsite
The next morning we saw coho salmon spawning in the stream next to our campsite. After trying some fishing on the lake, we took a side trip to visit Tamarack Resort, a golf and ski community nearby. In addition to the golf and skiing, they have a couple of nice amenities including the lodge, a fun little chapel, a ballroom building and a meeting building disguised as a barn and schoolhouse respectively. The golf course is a signature Robert Trent Jones II design. A village is in a long standing state of construction as they have been in and out of foreclosure. However, I can see that once it gets resolved they could be in good shape. That afternoon we went swimming in the lake, and finished off the day around the campfire.
The next day we continued on our way, driving south along the Payette River towards Banks. We had lunch at a restaurant in Banks, just south of Banks Lowman road, which overlooks the Payette. We sat back and relaxed, while below us was a bustle of activity as Bear Valley Rafting was beginning their half-day trips down the river. After lunch we drove up the very windy, yet scenic Banks Lowman Road. I had to stop and get out, looking down into the South Fork of the Payette River, which is known for its white water. It just so happened that at that spot, far below, a rafting expedition was currently carrying their rafts a short ways down the river to avoid a more dangerous stretch.
Rafting on the South Fork of the Payette River
We made our way east past Lowman towards Mountain View Campground, where we stayed the night. This campground doesn’t exactly have a mountain view, other than the hills on the other side of the Payette River, but it does have some great spots on the river. There weren’t any mosquitoes, but in the evening the no-see-ums were so horrendous that we didn’t last long around the campfire.
The Salmon River in Lower Stanley with the Sawtooth Mountains to the South.
The next day we drove up Highway 21 along the “Ponderosa Pine Scenic Route”, and down into Stanley as we got our first glimpses of the Sawtooth Mountains. The jagged panorama of the Sawtooths is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I’ve ever seen. Nestled in the valley below is the Salmon River and the town of Stanley, Idaho. Hardy folk live in this town, which has the honor of being ranked #1 for having the “most days with the coldest temperature” in the lower 48 states.
The Salmon River north of Stanley
We were there in late August, so other than a few semi-cold mornings it was t-shirt and shorts weather. On our first night we stayed in a hotel so we could take showers and enjoy soft beds (we’re tent campers). The next four nights we stayed south of town at Casino Creek Campground, along the Salmon River. It was a nice spot. The sites were fairly open and close together, but because it was late summer the campground was only about 20% full.
Looking NW at the Sawtooth Mountains from Galena Summit, between Stanley and Ketchum
On one of the days we drove over Galena Summit to the Sun Valley and Ketchum areas, about 75 minutes south of Stanley. On another we took a short drive north to the Bonanza and Custer ghost towns. Being an architect who designs mountain homes, I get a kick out of seeing these old, rustic buildings.
A home in the ghost town of Bonanza
Bonanza is spread out with various buildings and a cemetery. Custer is in better shape and has a nice self-guided tour, starting with panning for gold outside a schoolhouse, the first building on the tour.
The Empire Saloon in the Ghost Town of Custer
One of the homes had an interesting roof material. Flattened tin cans covered the whole roof, and were in great shape after 100+ years. So if you’re willing to take the time to collect and flatten them, start saving your tin cans. Just make sure you use a good underlayment.
This tin can roof in Custer has lasted many years.
I also found an innovative way to make a double powder room, OR double toilets in the master bathroom!
Double toilets - too rustic?
All kinds of ideas flow when looking at this master bathroom.
Simple and Rustic Master Bath: Tub and Sitting Area
We also experienced Sunbeam Hot Springs. Here, the hot springs mingle with the Salmon River, and there are several man-made pools, built with moveable rocks. Temperatures vary depending on your proximity to the river. This would be a fun thing to design into a house. Hmmm……
Sunbeam Hot Springs merges with the Salmon River
On our last day we caught several trout in the morning, and in the afternoon we went to beautiful (and popular) Redfish Lake, just south of Stanley. Campgrounds and Redfish Lake Lodge and marina surround the north end of the lake. To the west, the Sawtooths loom overhead. A ferry ride from the lodge takes you to the base of the mountains, where there are numerous hikes and backpacking excursions to alpine lakes. At 6457 feet above sea level, Redfish Lake is at the top end of Idaho’s Columbia River sockeye salmon migration. The salmon enter the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean, then up the Snake and Salmon Rivers, before traveling up Redfish Lake Creek. After traveling about 900 miles from the Pacific, the salmon finally arrive at Redfish Lake. See a map of the quest.
Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains
We had a visitor on our last night after enjoying a nice trout dinner. Apparently the smell was pretty good, as in the middle of the night I woke up to some rustling around the campsite. I got up and sat there listening, trying to figure out what it was. I heard the small huffing sounds that bears make, and came to the conclusion that there weren’t grizzlies in the area. In most cases I would have just stayed there and let it pass. However, my daughter, who didn’t want to sleep in our big tent, was in a small tent about 30 feet away, and I didn’t want the bear getting close to her tent.
I decided I would quickly get out of the tent, make a run for the minivan, jump in, and start the engine to scare it off if it hadn’t already bolted. Just then, it brushed against the side of the tent where Annie was sleeping, and she bolted upright with wide eyes. “What the hell was that?”
I mouthed “bear”, paused, and then keys and flashlight in my hand, I quickly unzipped the tent, scanned quickly, and ran for the minivan. I quickly grabbed the handle and pulled. It was locked! Cursing myself and the non-working keyless remote (which would have been useful from inside the tent), I fumbled for the right key and jumped in. I started the car, turned on the lights, turned the car around to face the campsite, and then turned it off. The bear was gone.
Trout dinner. Make sure you clean up thoroughly before going to bed.
The next day we drove north up highway 93 (also called the Lewis and Clark Trail), along the Salmon River, and then up and over the spectacular Bitterroot Mountains via Lost Trail Pass. This pass is about a half mile west of the Continental Divide. We then traveled north through Hamilton and into Missoula, Montana, where we spent the night. We then took Highway 200 northwest along the Clark Fork River to Lake Pend Oreille and home in Sandpoint.
A map of the trip from Google Maps. (A/I) Sandpoint (B) Lewiston (C) Cascade Lake (D) Banks (E) Lowman (F) Sun Valley/Ketchum (G) Stanley/Casino Creek Campground (H) Missoula, Montana
John Hendricks is a licensed AIA architect at Hendricks Architecture. We are an architectural firm in Sandpoint, Idaho, specializing in mountain style homes. Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog
Previous Post: Mexico Beach House: The Infinity Edge Pool
Previous Camping Trip: Selkirk Loop Vacation in British Columbia
Leave a Comment
Canadians Discover Sandpoint
Written December 21, 2011 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under North Idaho
, Resort Areas
This past summer in Sandpoint seemed busier than it has been in several years. It seemed like every time I went downtown or to City Beach there were always a lot of people out enjoying the great summer weather, and my sense is that many of them were visitors from elsewhere. Sandpoint’s population is always boosted in the summer by the many lakefront and vacation home owners that claim this area as their “home away from home”, and tourism has been steadily increasing in response to all the good press the area has been getting.
Sandpoint Evening (Canadian Selkirk Mountains in Far Right Background)
Recent examples in a long list of “best of” awards are Sandpoint’s designation as the “Most beautiful small town in America” and Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s selection as Ski Magazine editor’s pick as the “Best Kept Secret”. Sandpoint’s charm has not gone unnoticed, especially among our neighbors to the North. The number of Canadian license plates in town has increased significantly in the last few years, and this trend has been a big benefit to local business owners. Canadians have brought a welcome surge in commerce that has helped many businesses stay afloat in tough economic times.
The Pend Oreille River from Sandpoint's Long Bridge
Apparently some Canadians have recognized that there is a lot of value in the local real estate market. North Idaho has experienced a surge in vacation home and investment property purchases by Canadian citizens, with some choosing North Idaho as a place to retire. It’s no secret that property values are low almost everywhere in the U.S., and there are great deals out there for anyone with a bit of liquidity and a positive vision of the future. In Sandpoint, we are lucky to be less than an hour from the Canadian border and a short days drive from Calgary and other population centers in Southern Alberta. Oil and gas exploration has really taken off in Southern Alberta, and the economy there is much better off than in most areas of the United States.
Sunrise over Lake Pend Oreille (from an Owner's Lot on Garfield Bay)
Canadians visiting the US also benefit from lower prices on goods and services here, most notably gasoline and building materials. Currency exchange rates are also favorable for Canadians, though they are down a bit from a historic high in March of 2009. I remember only about 10 years ago the situation was opposite, and shopping trips or vacations to Canada were a great way to get a lot for the American dollar. Southern B.C., Alberta, and the National Parks of the Canadian Rockies are still very popular vacation spots for North Idaho residents, and most vacations I hear about involve outdoor enthusiasts enjoying Canada’s natural treasures and great skiing.
Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park
In Sandpoint, everyone I know is glad to see that our neighbors to the north are frequenting North Idaho and discovering how much this area has to offer. We are finding that they make great neighbors, clients, and friends. When I visit Canada, I never really feel like I am in a different country, and I suspect Canadians feel the same here. To acknowledge our kinship with Canada, Schweitzer Mountain has adopted Whitewater resort near Nelson, B.C. as its Canadian sister, and is offering Whitewater pass holders free skiing if they stay in any of the resort owned accommodations.
Anyone visiting Sandpoint, Canadian or otherwise, is welcome to stop in and see our portfolio of beautiful mountain homes. We speak fluent Canadian, and would love to talk to you about designing your new mountain home.
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of timber mountain style homes and cabins. Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP
Previous Post: Schweitzer Opens Early
Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
Schweitzer Opens Early
Written December 3, 2011 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under North Idaho
, Resort Areas
Inland Northwest skiers & snowboarders got an early treat this year when Schweitzer Mountain Resort opened the weekend before Thanksgiving. It is considered to be a good year if they are able to open on Thanksgiving weekend, and that happens roughly 50% of the time. This season was looking kind of weak for early season snow, though it was cold enough that the conditions were good for making snow. Everyone had their fingers crossed, and mother nature delivered some mid November storms that made for excellent early season conditions.
Schweitzer Bowl - The front of the mountain
Opening day at Schweitzer was November 19th, and even though the terrain was limited the conditions were great. There was even some fresh snow to get everyone excited! Schweitzer closed again during the week, with a promise to reopen the day after Thanksgiving. The big surprise came a few days before Thanksgiving – a two day storm event that dumped several feet of heavy, wet snow and provided excellent coverage on the entire mountain. A few days later temperatures cooled down, 8” of light snow fell, and the day after Thanksgiving looked like a mid-winter powder day. A lot of the front side was open, conditions were excellent, and everyone was smiling!
This Schweitzer fan showed up a few days before opening day to avoid the crowds.
From what I have seen on other ski area websites, we have about the best conditions in the country right now. The Lake Tahoe region (Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Heavenly Valley) has very little snow, Alta and Telluride are reporting less than a 30” base, and the central Colorado areas of Vail, Aspen, and Summit County are all hurting for snow. Even further north in Sun Valley and Big Sky, snow depths are thin and the ski resorts are barely open.
Closer to Sandpoint, Whitefish Mountain Resort had to cancel plans to open the first week in December due to lack of snow. 49 Degrees North is open and has almost as much snow as Schweitzer. North of the border, Fernie has a decent amount of snow, as do Red Mountain and Schweitzer’s Canadian sister resort of Whitewater. However, only Fernie is open this early in the season and the terrain is limited.
I have been seeing a lot of Canadian license plates in the parking lot at the ski resort, and also in town. The Canadians I have talked to are coming here from Calgary and other cities in Alberta, as well as from Southern British Columbia. It seems that word is getting out up there that Sandpoint in Northern Idaho is a wonderful place and that the skiing is pretty darn good. It probably doesn’t hurt that property is less expensive here, our taxes are lower, and the exchange rate is favorable too, eh. Whatever the reason, we welcome our visitors from Canada and are glad to be close to Southern B.C. so we can visit there as well.
A Schweitzer Skier on Opening Day
If you’re looking for some great early season skiing, come to Sandpoint and check out Schweitzer Mountain Resort. The entire front side (see trail maps – Schweitzer Bowl) is open now, including some excellent tree skiing for which Schweitzer is famous. You’ll find out why Schweitzer was the Ski Magazine editors pick for the best kept secret, but you have to promise not to tell anybody! Hope to see you there, and while you’re in Sandpoint stop by and see our portfolio of beautiful Mountain Homes.
This post was written by an author at Hendricks Architecture who wishes to remain anonymous. We are mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho. Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
Previous Post: Adirondack Style Architecture
Selkirk Loop Vacation in British Columbia
Written September 23, 2011 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Resort Areas
One of my favorite things to do with the family is to take loop camping trips in the mountains. Living in the beautiful Northwestern U.S., and close to the Canadian border, there are endless routes to choose from. Last summer I could only get away for a few days, so we chose a modified version of the International Selkirk Loop from my hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho to Nelson, British Columbia. This is one of the more popular scenic loop trips in both Western Canada and the Western United States.
Garfield Bay near Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille
We set out on a Friday morning from Sandpoint. Sandpoint is about 45 miles south of the Canadian border, and was recently voted Most Beautiful town in the USA by USA Today. After being through the border from Seattle to Vancouver many times before, we found this border to be a breeze in terms of crowds. There were only about five vehicles heading into Canada, whereas there were about fifty entering the United States.
We had lunch in Creston, BC, and then headed up the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake to catch the ferry. Kootenay Lake is a very long and narrow fjord-like lake surrounded by the Purcell Mountains on the east and the Selkirk Mountains to the west. The beautiful, winding drive up the eastern shore to the ferry landing at Kootenay Bay is lined with roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) of waterfront homes, resorts and parks. The toll-free ferry is a treat for the kids (and adults). Mountain fresh air, a glistening blue lake, and awesome views of the Purcell’s come with the 35 minute ferry ride.
Kootenay Lake from the Kootenay Ferry
Once we landed in Balfour, we headed north along the west side of the lake to look at campgrounds, with the idea of staying at one and going to Ainsworth Hot Springs the next day, before camping at Slocan Lake the next night. However, the campgrounds we saw were a little too open and populated for us, so we decided to head straight for Slocan Lake.
We drove north to Kaslo before turning west. Kaslo is a very pretty town situated around a small bay. We would have liked to explore it more, but we wanted to make sure we found a campground and were set up before dark. We headed west, climbing over the Kootenay Range. Near the top a tourist on a slow motorcycle heading east took too long a glimpse of a waterfall and fell over in front of us. After helping him get his bike up and making sure it wasn’t scratched (it was a rental), we drove down into the town of New Denver on Slocan Lake.
We were one of the last to get a spot at Rosebery, a campground just a couple of minutes north of town. We were right on Wilson Creek, so the kids really enjoyed it. The next day we strolled around New Denver, a quaint, rustic town on the east side of Slocan Lake. New Denver is in a beautiful setting and is up there on the list of the most scenic towns. There are plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, boating, fishing, etc. We explored the Silvery Slocan Historical Society Museum, which has some interesting artifacts dating back to the 1800’s. We also ran across the Villa Dome Quixote, an interesting complex with a lodge and cottages.
The Villa Dome Quixote in New Denver
That afternoon we took it easy and hung out on the beach on the north side of town. My daughter is an avid swimmer and convinced me to swim with her out to a floating platform. The water was actually much warmer than I expected it to be. It was also crystal clear as I could easily see the bottom, which must have been at least 5 meters deep below the platform. However, when I tried diving down the water was mind-numbing so I quickly turned back.
The north side of Slocan Lake from New Denver
That evening we played charades around the campfire. Charades is a very entertaining game when you have small children. Our youngest boy is a big fan of pirates. Here is one of his turns.
“Three words. It’s a person. A person on a pirate ship.”
“Is it a pirate?”
The next morning we set out for Nelson. The drive down the eastern side of Slocan Lake has some great views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Nelson Fire House, featured in Roxanne
Nelson is ANOTHER beautiful town, though much bigger at just over 9,000 people. It’s set at the end of an “arm” that comes off the middle of Kootenay Lake. The town’s main street has an impressive collection of buildings from the days of the silver rush. The Steve Martin film Roxanne was filmed here. Much of the film was shot at the firehouse, shown above, where Steve Martin was the fire chief.
Nelson Court House
After a great lunch at the Twisted Tomato, we headed toward the waterfront and took a restored streetcar to Rotary Lakeside Park. This park has everything; a great playground with modern equipment that I enjoyed almost as much as the kids, a beautiful beach with Laser sailboats frolicking offshore, tennis courts, and playfields among others. One of our favorites were the modern exercise stations on the west side of the park.
Nelson's Rotary Lakeside Park
In the late afternoon we headed back towards Sandpoint. It was a great trip for a 3-day weekend, though we could have easily stayed longer. A map of our trip can be seen on this Google Maps link.
Tom Russell, an architect here at Hendricks Architecture, took a longer trip up Banff and Revelstoke which included passing through New Denver and Nelson on the way back. You can read more about his trip under our blog post Mountain Vacation in Southern British Columbia and Alberta.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture is a mountain architecture firm located in Sandpoint, Idaho. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
Previous Post: The National Green Building Standard
Small Beach House in Mexico Breaking Ground
Written July 24, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Resort Areas
We’ve recently broken ground on a small beach house in Mexico. The home is organic in nature and designed for outdoor living, as well as situated to bring in the ocean breezes. Located above the Pacific coast between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, this hillside beach house is about 30 miles (48 km) SE of Zihuatanejo and the beach resort town of Ixtapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero.
North View from the Beach House
Views are wide ranging out to the Pacific Ocean and up and down the coast. More information, including schematic plans and elevations of the home, can be found on our Mexico Beach House blog post.
Construction materials for a beach house are quite different from the mountain style homes we design. The typical cedar siding over wood frame construction in the mountains would quickly rot in a high humid location. The best materials to use in high humidity climates such as coastal Mexico and Nicaragua are less perishable ones like concrete and native hardwoods. This home will be concrete with some hardwood trim and finish work.
For updated construction photos, see Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and Mexico Beach House: Infinity Edge Pool.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain and waterfront architects
Previous Post: Choosing a Contractor by Competitive Bidding
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
Mountainside at Schweitzer
Written November 24, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Resort Areas
A new residential development, Mountainside at Schweitzer, is starting to take shape at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, just in time for the start of the ski season in Sandpoint, Idaho. Mountainside at Schweitzer is located just above the base of the Basin Express Quad and the Selkirk Lodge, close enough to the slopes that calling it ski-in/ski-out is almost redundant. Four homes are currently being built by Baker Construction in this new development, one of them will be a private residence and the other three are being offered for fractional ownership.
A unique feature of the fractional ownership will be a concierge type service where someone will completely customize the home to each owner’s preferences prior to their arrival so that everything will be ready for them when they arrive. This service will include filling the refrigerator with food as ordered and getting gear out of storage so owners are ready for action as soon as they arrive.
The new homes that are being built at Mountainside at Schweitzer are employing some green building technologies, and plans call for them to attain some level of LEED certification. Some of the green strategies they will be using include:
- Geothermal hydronic heating and snowmelt
- Structural insulated panels on the Roof
- Reclaimed wood interior finishes
- High Efficiency windows
- Walking distance to the Schweitzer Village and all resort amenities
- Increased development density to maximize open space
The homes in Mountainside at Schweitzer will have excellent views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet Mountains beyond. They also look out on Schweitzer’s South Bowl, the Sunnyside lift area, and have exterior decks that look down to the village. The design style of the homes being built at mountainside currently is Modern Mountain Rustic, a subdivision of Mountain Architecture. Some of the features include large rough sawn timbers, stone veneer, predominantly shed or flat roofs, and lots of windows. All of the homes have garages and indoor gear storage, virtual necessities given the amount of snow that Schweitzer gets.
There are more ski-in/ski-out building lots available at Mountainside at Schweitzer, and also at other desirable subdivisions around Schweitzer, including The Ridge at Schweitzer and The Spires.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect and Tom Russell, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho. For other photos, please see previous mountain architecture projects.
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: The Importance of an Interior Designer
Mountain Biking Around Sandpoint
Written August 14, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under North Idaho
, Resort Areas
Mountain Biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho, as described by Tom Russell, project architect at Hendricks Architecture.
I love summers in Sandpoint. The weather is great, the lakes are warm, and the local events calendar is jam packed with enough festivities to keep everybody busy and active. One of my favorite activities in the summer is mountain biking, and I feel lucky to live in a place that has so much great riding. There is a great variety of mountain bike trails here, and a healthy population of mountain bike enthusiasts to enjoy them. A local cycling club/ advocacy group called the Pend Oreille Pedalers is actively building new trails, so the opportunities for great riding keep expanding. There are lots of trail guides and they are always looking for new members or people to help with trail building.
Lake Pend Oreille from the Monarchs, with Mineral Point in center background
When I go out riding I am always surprised at how uncrowded and well maintained the trails are. If you have ever ridden in places like Moab or Colorado’s front range, you’ll appreciate the quality conditions and solitude that can be found here, even on the most popular rides. I was in Bend , Oregon a few weeks ago and did a ride that was loose, dusty and rutted from overuse. It was a great trail, but I kept thinking how much more enjoyable it would have been if it was in North Idaho.
From the town of Sandpoint, there are several great rides you can do without ever getting in your car. There is a network of high quality single track trails just west of town in the hills between Pine Street and the town of Dover. Known as Syringa Ridge or Sherwood Forest, the trails there are not well documented, and it is a bit of a local’s secret. Efforts are being made to map it, but I haven’t seen anything public yet. When I first moved here , I enjoyed the adventure of finding my way around there without a map and checking out trails I had never been on. I won’t deprive anyone of the same opportunity by giving away too much about it. If you do go exploring in that area, be aware that there is a lot of private land and access is an issue, so please read the signs and obey parking restrictions.
Gold Hill Trail #3
Gold Hill trail #3 is my favorite. It is a thrilling ride with a sustained 3 mile climb, spectacular views, and a smooth, fast descent on the return trip. There is an expanding complex of trails above the gravel quarry on Bottle Bay Road (another local’s secret area) that connects to the Gold Hill trail #3 and offers a variety of alternatives to explore.
Mineral point has some great trails not unlike Gold Hill in quality and scenery, but noticeably easier on the legs and lungs. My favorite ride there is a 10 mile loop that starts and ends at the fabulous Green Bay beach.
One of the views from Mineral Point
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort also has some great biking, both lift served and self-serve. Ambitious pedalers can get to the resort trails by climbing the 9 +/- miles to the ski area on a fun single track trail that is accessed from several of the even numbered switchbacks on the Schweitzer road. My favorite rides at Schweitzer are cross country ski trails in the winter. For those who like to compete, Schweitzer has a mountain bike race series every Wednesday evening in August.
New Schweitzer Mountain Resort Trail
Priest Lake is about an hour from Sandpoint, and has some great trials on both the upper and lower lake. Spectacular views, lots of berries, and nice beaches with crystal clear water are all highlights of mountain biking around Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake.
Upper Priest Lake
Faragut State Park between Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene has a lot of mostly moderate mountain bike trails, and it is also a nice place to camp on the lake. It is a good spot for a family outing, especially if cycling is not the only activity you have in mind. One ambitious ride here worth checking out is Bernard Peak. I think you will agree – the views are well worth the effort. All About Adventures hosts a mountain bike race series at Faragut every Wednesday in July.
Partial View of the Southern End of Lake Pend Oreille
There a many more great rides in the Sandpoint area, including some big, epic rides in the Cabinet and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. Information on many of these can be found with a quick internet search. There is currently a Falcon guide to mountain biking in the Spokane Coeur d’Alene area that covers some of the Sandpoint area rides. While there is no formal guide to Sandpoint yet, rumor has it a comprehensive guide is in the works.
Tom Russell, LEED AP, Project Architect
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: Surviving Architecture School
Northwest Mountain Home Developments
Written June 6, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
, Resort Areas
As an architect in a mountain resort community, I’m often asked, “What are the big mountain home developments in the Northwest?” Generally, in terms of mountain homes, I think of the Northwest as Idaho, Western Montana, Western Wyoming, Washington and Oregon. I won’t include Canada for the sake of keeping the list down. You can see our recent blog Mountain Home Developments in British Columbia for that, and include areas in Whistler, BC and Canmore, Alberta on the list. So here are some of the main mountain home developments in the Northwest.
Sandpoint, Idaho is a resort area located on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, the biggest lake in the Northwest. Homes and properties surrounding the lake are just starting to be bought and turned into more upscale luxury homes. The Idaho Club is one example of a private mountain home community in Sandpoint, and has a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort has a few mountain neighborhoods, including The Ridge, The Spires, and Mountainside at Schweitzer. Dover Bay, The Crossing at Willow Bay, and Salishan Point are lakefront developments along the Pend Oreille River.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho boasts Black Rock and Gozzer Ranch on opposite sides of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Black Rock is a private lakefront community and has a Jim Engh designed golf course. The course is often mentioned as one of the finest golf courses in the Northwest, and the Clubhouse is beautiful. Gozzer Ranch has a Tom Fazio designed course. Galena Ridge in Kellogg has a mining theme, set on a golf course below Silver Mountain Resort.
Sun Valley, Idaho has been around forever, so there are big mountain homes everywhere, sometimes mingled with smaller homes. Sun Valley has the original ski resort, and includes the cities of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. Basically the closer you get to Sun Valley Resort the more upscale they are. A few examples of development occurring on new lots are White Clouds on the northern edge of Sun Valley Resort, and Independence, located about a mile east and up the hill from Sun Valley. White Clouds includes 30 home sites at the northern edge of Sun Valley Resort, bordered by the Sun Valley golf course and open space.
In Western Montana, The Wilderness Club in Eureka, north of Whitefish is a big development with a Nick Faldo designed course. In Whitefish, the area is centered around Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain), and Whitefish Lake. Iron Horse has been around for a few years and the homes have the rugged, rustic Montana look. Smaller, newer neighborhoods include The Homestead and Elk Highlands. Saddlehorn, in Big Fork on Lake Kalispell is another big development.
The Ranch Club, six miles northwest of Missoula, Montana, has a Les Furber designed course, with 198 custom homesites on 343 acres, 72 townhome & condominium sites, and 95 club lodge sites. In Hamilton, Montana, south of Missoula, is Stockfarm. Stockfarm has a Tom Fazio golf course among it’s 2,600 acres. East of there, Rock Creek Cattle Company outside Deer Lodge has 3 to 110 acre homesteads, and a Tom Doak golf course.
Big Sky, Montana is well known for the Big Sky Resort in the Spanish Peaks. The Big Sky area includes The Yellowstone Club, The Club at Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin, all well known for rugged Montana mountain style homes. The Yellowstone Club is an ultra-exclusive, invitation only private community with it’s own ski area and Tom Weiskopf designed golf course, all on 13,400 acres. The Club at Spanish Peaks also has a Tom Weiskopf designed golf course, as well as private ski lifts to Big Sky Resort. Moonlight Basin is on the north side of Lone Mountain, and the ski resort also accesses Big Sky Resort with the “Lone Peak Ticket”. Moonlight Basin also includes a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
Northwestern Wyoming includes Grand Teton National Park, and directly to the north, Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Tetons are one of the most beautiful, picturesque mountain ranges around. Jackson, in the Jackson Hole valley, has always been well known for the rustic mountain resort architecture. Mountain style subdivisions are all over, including Spring Creek Ranch. The Bar BC Ranch has 35 to 53 acre ranch sites on 1,400 acres with world class trout fishing, along with views of the Teton Range, Yellowstone National Park, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Amangani is a newer development with more contemporary mountain architecture.
Washington mountain style neighborhoods include Suncadia Resort and Tumble Creek (formerly known as Trapper’s Creek) in Roslyn, a town a little over an hours drive east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains. Suncadia is an eco-friendly resort and is the largest 3-star built-green resort community in Washington State. The lodge has 254 luxury guest suites and penthouses. The Methow Valley is also a popular spot for mountain style architecture, and is a very popular cross-country skiing area. One of the trails stretches for 120 miles, one of the longest XC trails in the world.
In Oregon, Bend is becoming a well know spot for the mountain style. Bend is the home of Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors. Jeld-Wen owns several communities, including Suncadia and Galena Ridge described above. They also own Brasada Ranch near Bend. Probably the most upscale resort in Bend is Pronghorn, which includes Signature Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio designed golf courses. The latter has one of the most unique holes in the world – a par three, eighth hole that includes a 45-foot canyon and exposed lava tube.
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of luxury mountain style homes and cabins. While it is not the only type of work we design, most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. Most of our clients are looking for mountain style homes, often fairly rustic. Feel free to peruse photos and renderings of mountain architecture.
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: A Great Time To Build
Leave a Comment
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort
Written May 12, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under North Idaho
, Resort Areas
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho, as described by Tom Russell, an architect at Hendricks Architecture.
The first weekend in April this year was a real treat for Schweitzer Mountain skiers. It was the last weekend of the season, the sky was a cloudless deep blue, and there was new snow on the ground. By the end of the day Sunday, it was 50+ degrees. I stood on top of the Mountain on Sunday afternoon taking in the views of Lake Pend Oreille and Montana to the east . “This is why I live here” I thought. I find myself thinking or saying this an awful lot, and I probably wasn’t the only one at Schweitzer that day who felt lucky to have chosen Sandpoint, Idaho as my home.
The Great Escape Quad at Schweitzer Mountain
It was a busy day at Schweitzer, maybe the busiest of the season, and there were people everywhere enjoying lunch, drinks , live music, the goofy games of “Spring Daze” or the great skiing . Despite the record crowds, I hadn’t stood in a lift line all day, and the slopes never seemed crowded. Schweitzer boasts 2900 acres of terrain, and it takes an awful lot of people to make that feel crowded. The only thing I would have changed that day was to have my family there to enjoy it with me – they were out of town for spring break. Schweitzer is a great family mountain, and we see most of our friends there every weekend.
Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho
Prior to living in Sandpoint, I lived in Colorado and Utah for 20 years. I tolerated big crowds, gridlock traffic, and expensive lift tickets to indulge my skiing habit. I knew Sandpoint had Schweitzer Mountain, and we had been there several times in the summer, but I had no idea how great it was until I skied there. I have been skiing for as long as I can remember, and I have been almost everywhere in the US and Canada. In all honesty, Schweitzer is near the top of my favorites list. I continue to be amazed at how un-crowded, affordable, and accessible it is. For quality of ski terrain, I would compare it to Crested Butte in Colorado, Snow Basin in Utah, and Bridger Bowl in Montana.
Schweitzer Village is only about 10 miles from Sandpoint, Idaho, up a steep mountain road. Its relationship to Sandpoint reminds me of Teton Village near Jackson and the Mountain Village at Telluride. Schweitzer has its own village center, with shops, restaurants, realtor offices, and lodging. It has everything you need, and there is still plenty of growing room for more businesses and accommodations. In the summer they have music festivals, mountain biking, mountain biking races, Frisbee golf, hiking, and lift service to the top of the mountain. Many people live there year round, though most residents are part time and seasonal.
Mountain biking is a popular summer activity at Schweitzer.
One of my favorite aspects of the village is there is still room to move – it isn’t densely developed with homes and condos on every postage stamp sized lot. Schweitzer Land and Timber is planning to build new LEED certified ski in/out timeshare condos in a new open neighborhood right near the base of the new Basin Express Quad. A few new quality developments with sizable lots, ski in access, and incredible views have been created in the last few years. If you are interested in ski area property, check out The Spires & The Ridge at Schweitzer.
When I was a youngster learning to ski on the icy little hills of the Northeast (my Vermont friends might take issue with the little part), I dreamed of heading west to the “real mountains”. I seem to have ended up just where I hoped I would – a place a lot like the little Adirondack town where I came from but on a larger scale. I love Sandpoint, and Schweitzer is one of the biggest reasons why. If you are looking for a place to hang your boards and call home, give Schweitzer a try.
Schweitzer Bluegrass Festival
We design mountain homes of all sizes. If you find yourself falling victim to the charm of Sandpoint and Schweitzer, give us a call. We would love to help you create your mountain home.
Tom Russell, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain Architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
Previous Post: Origins of Mountain Architecture in America
Mountain Home Developments in British Columbia
Written May 6, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
, Resort Areas
There are several mountain home developments in British Columbia that specify mountain architecture. More than I could possibly mention. I’ll name a few that I know of in Southern and Southeastern BC. This is in response to a comment on Mountain Vacation in Southern British Columbia and Alberta. Those developments in Southwestern BC, including Whistler, will need to be in a future post.
British Columbia Mountain Home Developments
Mountain Home Developments in Southern BC:
Lakestone Resort on Lake Okanagan between Kelowna and Vernon. Luxury lakeside community with some waterfront lots, a Hurdzan Fry signature golf course, village and marina.
Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, invite only exclusive resort west of Kelowna on Nicola Lake.
Tobiano on Kamloops Lake. Waterfront community with Thomas McBroom signature golf course, clubhouse and marina.
Red Mountain ski-in and ski-out lots, near Rossland.
Some developments with mountain architecture in Southeastern BC:
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, a mountain ski and outdoor village in Golden.
Lookout Ridge at Sun Peaks Resort, a skiing, public golf and mountain biking resort.
Whiskey Jack Resort in Sparwood. Fred Couples signature golf course.
Forest Crowne Resort. Resort community in Kimberley.
Wildstone in Cranbrook includes Gary Player and Black Knight designed golf courses.
Mountain Home Developments in Fernie, BC, a town near Sandpoint, Idaho and Whitefish, Montana. Fernie is an outdoor resort community with skiing, golf, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, etc.
Silver Springs Development
Silver Ridge Estates
Black Rock Estates
Fernie Golf Estates
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: Mexico Beach House
Next Page →