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The Yaak & Lake Koocanusa + ADD NEW ROUTE


9   in Montana Montana115 Miles

By DeDe
on June 1, 2009

4.6out of 5

7 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

From Hwy 2 (east of Bonners Ferry, ID or West of Troy, MT) is FS rd 508, Yaak River Rd., it is well marked and you can only head North on this road. Head north on the main road to Yaak, MT. Once in Yaak, continue straight ahead and follow the signs that keep you on FS rd 92 - stay on the pavement and you'll be fine. (There are a few short cut roads that are gravel but it's easy to take a wrong turn and go many miles in the wrong direction). You will begin to climb over the pass and then descend to Lake Koocanusa. At the bottom of the hill you will have your choice to go left across the bridge and right onto Hwy 37 or stay to your right on Libby Dam/Yaak rd. FS 92/FS 228 (can one road have so many names) head generally south and you'll find Libby, MT.

Scenery

This is one of the most scenic wild roads in the northwest. From Hwy 2 you'll head up the Yaak River Rd. passing the Yaak Falls on your right. This is heavily forested terrain with an abundance of wildlife. Marshy meadow areas are home to moose and a Black or Grizzly bear may be seen when the huckleberries are ripe. Several herds of elk can be found in the basin along with a multitude of deer. As you climb up over the pass on FS rd 92 you will have excellent views of Montana, British Columbia, and North Idaho. Once you're over the pass you'll have some excellent views of Lake Koocanusa and further south, Libby Dam. So much to see, but you'll need to keep your eyes pealed for those furry creatures.

Note: this route can be connected with several other great roads depending on your starting point. We start from Coeur D'Alene, ID heading up Hwy 95 to Hwy 2 to reach Yaak rd. On the way back we take Hwy 2 west from Libby to Bull Lake Rd heading south, then west on Hwy 200 into Sandpoint and South on 95 to get back to Coeur D' Alene. This is approximately a 430 mile loop, a great ride on a long summer day. .

Road Quality

The pavement is in excellent condition from Hwy 2 to the town of Yaak, with great sweepers and just a few tight turns. FS 92 from Yaak is a narrow winding mountain road with a few steep hills. The higher elevation areas have significant frost heaves, pot holes, rocks and always a possible downed tree. This is truly wild country (even by local standards) with no services or cell service, so use caution and good commonsense while riding these roads. On an August Saturday afternoon, we saw 2 cars and 1 group of bikers on FS 92 - a busy day. Once you are over to Lake Koocanusa the west side road is in good shape with a little gravel here and there in the corners; it has a posted 55mph speed limit and the local sheriff does make his daily rounds on this side of the lake. On the East side of the lake is Hwy 37 - 2 lanes, a 70mph speed limit - with many semi trucks and motor homes. We prefer the "twistier" west side (Libby Dam/Yaak rd.). Both roads will take you to the same location and back.

Roadside Amenities

There are several camp grounds along this route and you can primitive camp anywhere on Forest Service land though fire restrictions do apply at certain times of the year. Be sure you are on FS land and not private property. There is a renowned bar "the Dirty Shame Saloon" in Yaak; along with, the Yaak Mercantile that sells regular gas, basic groceries, ice cream and cold drinks. Be sure to stop at the Libby Dam view points. The small town of Libby has full services, with motels, gas, and places to eat.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : DeDe

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By Guest
on September 10, 2010 4 out of 4 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Ducati

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

We just came back from a tour of Montana and Idaho and it was amazing. This particular section we did on the first day and it was hard to top after. It doesn't get any better than this, twisty roads, excellent pavement speed limits for grownups and a great beakfast at the Libby Cafe on Mineral street. The road from kookanoosa to Yaak is a hidden gem. it doesn't even show up on any map yet it's motorcycling heaven. Apart from the occasional skiff of sand and wandering cow it's perfect. The road going east to Idaho from Yaak is a challenge at the speed limit of 70. Thank you Montana and thank you DeDe, for letting us in on the secret.

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By MurderBurger
on July 30, 2011 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make Ducati

Motorcycle Type Sport

I can't believe I hear more about the road to the sun than this. Absolutely stunning. I think the speed limit is 45 mph, but the curves are the radar there. Come from the south end. Have a smoke at the dam, then make sure your Gopro is on before you leave the parking lot. It's like a young Mike Tyson punching you in the face with curves. Some stones here and there, plenty of blind corners, and some tar snakes, it's not for the faint of heart. I would need to grow a mess of extra thumbs to rate it that way, so I'll give it 23.5 out of 10.

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By FireBob
on August 25, 2016 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2002

Motorcycle Make KLR

Motorcycle Type

Buddy and I did 1400 miles through NW Montana in July. This loop was at the top of our list. I agree with some of the other commenters: the west side of Lake Koocanusa is the more enjoyable ride, though the east side is pretty nice too.
The Cabinet Mountain Brewing Company in Libby is a great place to start or end the ride. And the Dirty Shame in Yaak is a must stop.

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By Len Weiss
on December 31, 2014 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make BMW

Motorcycle Type Touring

Just awesome!!! Me and nobody else.

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By Guest
on March 2, 2010 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1998

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

West side of Reservoir is excellent. Condition of road is adequate for spirited riding (tar snake alert). Has a s**tload of tight turns and very few straightaways. Fantastic views and light traffic. My personal favorite road in the NW of Mt. Have yet to see any other bikes on it when I have ridden it. Don't miss this one!

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By David R Palfery
on August 30, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2015

Motorcycle Make Honda Goldwing

Motorcycle Type Touring

My Wife and I road this today. It was a beautiful ride. There is about a 5 mile stretch of hard packed gravel 10 miles east of Yack. The scenery on this ride is amazing.

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By Troyer
on June 21, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 95

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

I grew up in Libby, and so naturally I know the surrounding areas quite well. The whole region is beautiful, but this particular cruise is a personal favorite! I havw always started and finished the ride in Libby, start north on highway 37, toward eureka. Around 15 miles out of town you'll pass the river bend restaurant on your right, (great place to stop for a drink or for dinner. Very reasonable prices for the quality of the food) now you can either stay on 37 or you can take the scenic byway, which is the first road on the left, 1/4 mile after the river bend restaurant. The scenic byway is my personal favorite, but it does take quite a bit longer than 37 due to the smaller, twistier road. The byway will take you along the kootenai river for two miles, until you get to the Libby dam, which makes lake koocanusa. There are plenty of pull-offs with beautiful views of the river, dam, and lake, resting in the bottom of the small, remote valley. As you continue north, you'll be surrounded by rock walls on one side, where the road was carved out of the sheer face of the mountain side, and the panoramic views of the lake on the other. There are several access points to the lake along the way, the only paved ones being 'macgillivray campground', and the 'barron creek boat launch'. Both worth checking out if you have the time. After Barron creek the road will become a little smoother, as there's little traffic at that point, enjoy the ride! Eventually you will see the eureka bridge, which spans the lake, connecting the scenic byway with 37. It's riding across and parking at the small observation area, to stretch your legs, and admire the beauty. continue north for several miles on the byway, and you will climb up to a spectacular view of the lake, before entering the forest, where you'll have to watch for highway 92 to 'yaak', on your left. Highway 92 will wind you through the wilds on north western Montana, with numerous hair pin turns, curves and sweeps, upward until you come to the top of the pass, which provides vast views of the forested mountainsides. There are a few small places to pull off but they're definitely small. Though that's hardly a problem, because I've never seen more than 2 vehicles per ride on the entirety of highway 92's run from the lake to yaak. From there, continue down the other side, where there are several small stretches of rough road, heaved by the winter's frosts, just slow down to a safe speed, not a big deal. Other than that, it's a peaceful, almost serene ride through the forest, there are several roads that turn off of 92, that aren't well marked, so just stay of the main road and you will be fine. Soon you'll pass an ancient log building, with a wooden sign, "YAAK COMMUNITY HALL". Then a one room school house with a small playground. You've made it to yaak! There are two bars, one serving the purpose of general store, and gas station, within normal business hours. The dirty shame saloon is a great place to grab a cold one, shoot a game of pool, or shoot the breeze over a smoke outside, with the few locals that happen to be there. The locally brewed huckleberry beer in incredible, I have yet to find it anywhere else. Then you have a choice, take the smaller, rougher, quicker route to Libby, or the bigger, smoother, longer, more scenic route. There are only two options, continue on 92, (which is the nicer, long way) or turn left onto pipe creek road if you're in a hurry to get back. If you have any confusion, ask a local.
92 will continue its beautiful sweeping ways, running alongside a small mountain river that goes over a small set of beautiful falls along the way. When you reach highway 2, right will take you to bonners ferry Idaho, left will take you through the tiny town of Troy, and on back to Libby. If you have time, between Troy and Libby lie the kootenai falls, and swinging bridge. Google it, my words do no justice. It's still my favorite short day cruise! Best of luck and as always, be safe.

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