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Pedal miles of scenic roads, paved bike trails, pristine scenery and endless vistas: this is cycling paradise! Bring your passport: since this trip follows the International Selkirk Loop, you'll also nip into bits of northern Washington State and southern British Columbia, Canada. It's all about the rivers and lakes and mountains in this region: the Bitterroot, Selkirk and Cabinet ranges, spectacular Lake Coeur d'Alene, Priest Lake and Lake Pend Oreille, nestled in the mountain ranges of Idaho's panhandle. Breathe deep, ride hard and soak up day after day of glorious views.
Pedal beside the Cusick River and the million-acre Colville National Forest - home to the last remaining herd of caribou in the U.S.
The Selkirk Mountains range (pardon the pun) into eastern Washington, northern Idaho and southeastern British Columbia. Today you'll ride about 50 scenic miles beside the Cusick River as it winds through Colville National Forest, a gift from Theodore Roosevelt which is now over a million acres in breadth. It's one of the Top 10 Scenic Routes in the Northern Rockies. Expect plenty of wild huckleberries, sightings of bald eagles and tons of great views.
Ride into Rossland, British Columbia, 'Mountain Bike Capital of Canada.' It's also home turf to Red Mountain Resort and several Olympic gold medalists.
Tiny Rossland sits just across the Canadian border. Thousands of skiers and snowboarders descend on its Red Mountain Resort each winter - some with names you'll recognize: Dallas Drake, retired NHL Hockey player (Detroit Red wings); Kerrin Lee-Gartner, downhill skier and Nancy Greene, downhill skier and Olympic Gold medalist. Summer finds it chock-full of wildflowers, expansive views and a giant network of technical high alpine singletrack. You'll find today's ride to be a challenging, hilly 60-ish miles.
Draft-dodgers loved Nelson, British Columbia for its epic rock-climbing and expansive views of the Kootenay Mountain Range. You'll love it too.
Ride 48+ miles today, from Rossland along the southern British Columbia border into the artsy cultural centre of Nelson. Once a silver mining town, then a logging town, it became a haven for well-educated draft-dodgers who were willing to put down roots. Top that off with an extensive network of mountain-bike trails, rock-climbing and bouldering hotspots, and you've got a smart, hip and very fit population. And a great brewery to boot.
Ride to Creston, BC via Kootenay Lake = 79 miles of spectacular.
This morning, you'll head from Nelson to Creston via a ferry across Kootenay Lake, tucked between the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges. It's one of the largest lakes in the province, home to largemouth bass, Dolly Varden trout and Kokanee salmon. There were no paved roads into this spectacular region until the mid-1960s. Watch for the Boswell Glass House - built entirely of bottles! - and have your camera ready for the Kokanee Glacier.
South into Sandpoint via the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway. Bring the binoculars.
Sixty-eight miles take you from Canada back to the States, on one of the loveliest routes you'll ever have the privilege of traveling by bicycle: the former steamboat port of Bonner's Ferry; the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge, home to more than 230 bird species; a winding road beside the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, second largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Stay in Sandpoint tonight.
Explore Sandpoint, which USA Today named the nation's "Most Beautiful Small Town."
Surrounded by the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitterroot ranges, Sandpoint is also home to Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, Idaho's second largest ski resort after Sun Valley. Riding, hiking, golf, fishing, rock-climbing - take your pick from a bevy of options. This afternoon, we'll hop into the van for the transfer to Coeur d'Alene Resort.
Ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes before heading back to Spokane for your homeward flight. Or, stay on at the Coeur d'Alene Resort - the perfect place to extend your tour.
The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path follows the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way along the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, into the Chain Lakes region and the historic Silver Valley. You won't have time to ride the whole thing today, but it still makes the perfect last-day finale ride. And gives you a reason to come back.