Five Autumn Activities You Can Only Find in Sandpoint, Idaho

On the shore of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint offers unique fall traditions to all visitors

By Visit Sandpoint August 12, 2019


This post is sponsored.

Sponsored by Visit Sandpoint in Sandpoint, Idaho

Nestled between three mountain ranges, on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, the city of Sandpoint, Idaho has something to fulfill every interest. Autumn is a special time in Sandpoint: the turning leaves bring a sense of wonder to the charming town, and outdoor activities become unmissable, awe-inspiring experiences. Below, find a collection of five things to do in Sandpoint in the fall… just for starters.

Cruise Along 

Lake Pend Oreille Cruises offers daily excursions in August from Sandpoint, out onto magnificent Lake Pend Oreille – the largest lake in Idaho with mountain scenery in all directions. In September, tours begin in eastern parts of the lake from Hope, with even more dramatic scenery along the foot of the Green Monarchs and around the islands off the Hope Peninsula. As the leaves turn in October, fall colors tours pick up on the weekends. 



One of the finest guest ranches in Idaho is Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. The ranch sprawls along the foothills of the Cabinet Mountains, and the friendly ranch folk lead trail rides of all types, many with views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet and Selkirk Mountains. Guests can rent cabins overnight, and themed rooms (the Duke, the Miss Belle) in the main lodge are available for bed and breakfast rentals.   

Ride the High Country

The high Selkirk and Cabinet mountains surrounding Sandpoint offer fantastic alpine scenery as fall arrives—the best time of year for hikers. There are well over 200 trails, from easy day hikes to multi-night wilderness treks, in the two ranges. The quickest way to reach the sublime alpine experience – with amenities to boot – is at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Early fall offers a plethora of activities, from the mountain bike system (with mountain bike and e-bike rentals available) to village fun including chairlift rides, a zip line, climbing wall and more. Fall Fest on the mountain spans Labor Day weekend August 30 – September 2, with a beer festival, kids’ activities, chairlift rides and free live music.  

Stroll Among Autumn Leaves 

There are superb strolls and walks, starting with the flat, two-mile Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail right from downtown along the Lake Pend Oreille shoreline through fantastic colorful birch and cottonwood groves. For a little more rigorous—but still easy—walk, the Mineral Point Trail is 2.1 miles along bluffs above the lake with views over the big lake and a dip down to the cobblestone beach at Green Bay. More strenuous are the Gold Hill and Mickinnick trails, both just a few miles from Sandpoint and with climbs up to vantage points with panoramic views. 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry 

For a town of little more than 8,000 souls, Sandpoint has a remarkable dining and entertainment scene. There are four brewpubs and an award-winning winery, plus 40-plus excellent restaurants. On any given weekend, there is free live music in numerous venues, frequent concerts, performance arts at the historic, community-owned Panida Theater and more. Some notable events of the season: the Bonner County Fair August 21-24, an old-fashioned country fair with special events that include bull riding and barrel racing, and a demolition derby; the Schweitzer Fall Fest August 30-September 2; the Injectors Car Show September 7, attracting hundreds of classic cars; the Head of the Pend Oreille Regatta September 27-29 with rowing competitions; the Sandpoint Farmers Market Harvest Fest October 12; and the annual haunted happenings at Scarywood at Silverwood Theme Park, weekends in October up till Halloween. 

For more information about Sandpoint, click here. 

Follow Us

Healing the mind and body on Lānaʻi

Healing the mind and body on Lānaʻi

The Spiritual island remains a welcome place of refuge

Lānaʻi has always been a sacred place. Hawaiians believed that the fertile lands of Lānaʻi were blessed by Lono, the god of agriculture. Hawaiian chiefs and their families lived on Lānaʻi, bringing spirituality and rituals to the ancient “heiau” (tall rock temple) and other religious sites. Most important, Lānaʻi was considered a place of refuge,…

A Wilderness Picnic in Eastern Oregon | Sponsored

A Wilderness Picnic in Eastern Oregon | Sponsored

Satisfy your hunger while exploring a beautiful environment

Rugged terrain and culinary delights: We can’t think of a better way to stimulate the senses and soar human spirits than this combination, and we’ve got this going strong in Eastern Oregon. Long gone are the days when a picnic consisted of cold chicken, potato salad and a few apples tossed in to satisfy a…

Hidden Washington: Greetings from Bainbridge Island. Wish You Were Here!

Hidden Washington: Greetings from Bainbridge Island. Wish You Were Here!

Uncovering unique gems of the Pacific Northwest

This is the first in an ongoing series featuring Pacific Northwest experiences that shouldn’t be missed.  Like a beachcomber’s paradise — sifting sand to reveal sea glass or flipping wet rocks to find sea creatures — Bainbridge Island is filled with hidden treasures worth exploring. Here are tips, finds, and local faves for a perfect…

Experience all that Fraser Valley has to offer | Sponsored

Experience all that Fraser Valley has to offer | Sponsored

Enjoy hiking, rafting, fishing, a good meal or just a leisurely stroll

Located just a couple of hours north of Seattle and an hour east of Vancouver, B.C., you’ll find the Fraser Valley. Boasting a diverse range of outdoor experiences, from hiking in the mountains to exploring unique shops and restaurants, there’s something for everyone, regardless of age or ability. It’s an ideal destination for a family…