The Idaho/Montana Scenic Triangle Loop + ADD NEW ROUTE
7 in Montana Montana314 Miles
on March 1, 2009
- Trip Toolbox
Coeur d Alene east on I-90 to Wolf Ldg/Harrison exit right on hwy 97 a very twisty lake rd through Harrison to the triangle junction of hwy 3, left - Rose Lake. At the junction of I-90 head east a short distance exiting at Kingston. Turn left and cross over I-90, you are now on Coeur d Alene River Rd. Follow this road for approximately 12-15 miles to a junction with a little store on your right, you'll stay to the left and shortly turn right heading towards Murray (about 5m.)and Thompson Falls(usually there is a sign). At Montana Hwy 200 turn east/right to go into Thompson Falls and check out Thompson Falls and then continue the ride by reversing course on MT hwy 200 and now head west. A few miles past Noxon watch for Bull Lake Rd/MT route 56 (to Troy) and take a right on to Bull Lake Rd and head north. At roads end take a left on hwy 2 heading west; Troy is just a couple of miles ahead. Follow hwy 2 west, at the stop light, junction with hwy 95 turn left. Bonners Ferry is 3 miles ahead with most services south of the downtown area. Continue back to Coeur d Alene following the signs for hwy 95 south.
Special direction notes: There are many opportunities to shorten or extend this ride depending on your time. One great rode just leads to another possibility.
Scenery on this route is amazing from start to finish! Excellent views of Lake Coeur d Alene and depending on the time of year you may see nesting Bald Eagles. Up Hwy 3 there are many lakes where blue heron are often seen. After turning right on I-90 you'll cross wetland areas with forested mountains in the background. Along the Coeur d Alene River Rd, there are steep canyons and continuous river views. Winding up the twisty mountain road over Thompson pass the views are breathtaking of the Panhandle National Forest. Heading down the pass on the Montana side the road twists down through a peaceful valley into Thompson Falls. The next leg follows hwy 200 and the Clark Fork River to Noxon. North on the Bull Lake Rd the views just get better with mountain valleys and high peaks on both sides. Turning west on hwy 2 you will travel along the Kootenai River to Bonners Ferry where you will have some spectacular views of the Selkirk and head south to Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced "Pon-duray"), Sandpoint.
Very twisty State Hwy 97 has a fair amount of traffic by Idaho standards and has sections with lots of driveways; the pavement is in good shape. Left onto state hwy 3 winds along the Coeur d Alene river, good pavement with occasional potholes. Turning right onto I-90 the bridges can be full of potholes and tar snakes (only a short distance freeway). Coeur d Alene river rd and the twisty Thompson pass the pavement continues to be very good; once your over the pass on the Montana side you'll find tar snakes and potholes on this posted 70mph road. Turning left on a busy hwy 200 the pavement is once again in good shape. Turning right onto Bull Lake Rd you'll find good pavement all the way back to Coeur d Alene. Throughout this entire ride you'll need to watch for gravel on the road especially if it's before mid July; along with, Moose, Deer, Elk and Pickup trucks. Check the weather and be prepared for it to change, snow is possible during any month of the year in the higher elevations.
Gas up before you leave as first dependable gas is at the Kingston exit over the freeway on your right. Harrison, a sleepy lakeside town has limited services. Along I-90 is the Cataldo Mission a historic site. At Murray every type of biker stops at the Sprag Pole for a good tasting meal and visit the free museum. No dependable gas until Thompson Falls, at hwy 200 head east into town. Spectacular views of the falls can be seen by turning right on Gallatin St. for 2 blocks to the dead-end, it's safe enough to park your bike and walk out to the island. While traveling up the Bull Lake road take time to follow the little single track twisty up to the giant cedar groves. At Hwy 2 take a short detour by turning right until you see the sign for Kootenai Falls on the left. Gas is available in Troy, Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint. Bonners Ferry has two good Chinese restaurants and Sandpoint has the best Pizza (2nd Ave) and Thai food around. Camping is available in many places along the route.
- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather.
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