From lake to mountain, be inspired by the colors of fall in and around Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene Lake is stunning in any season, and fall is no exception. The autumnal lake palette is ever-changing — steel blue to sage green, depending on the weather — surrounded by great swaths of reassuring forest green hills. Sunsets glowing orange and purple, while bright red and lime green foliage announces the arrival of fall. 

It’s enough to make the least artistic amongst us want to grab our coloring kit and sit for a while, maybe with a cup of coffee on the patio at BAKERY BY THE LAKE (bakerybythelake.com), or an adult beverage beside the fire pits at the COEUR D’ALENE RESORT (cdaresort.com). 

Better yet, head into any number of art galleries downtown, like BLACKWELL GALLERY (blackwellgallerycda.com) or STUDIO 107 (studio107cda.com), to see what local artists can do with the view. 

For Coeur d’Alene-area artist Jessica Bryant, the region is an endless source of inspiration.

“Just last week I was out on the St. Joe, past Avery, and Coeur d’Alene River — the ‘jumping rocks’ area — the Little North Fork and the North Fork,” says Bryant, whose work can be found at THE ART SPIRIT GALLERY (theartspiritgallery.com).

If you don’t mind driving on gravel roads, Bryant says, in three hours you can drive the whole loop, exiting Interstate 90 at Enaville, driving along the river until Linfor and meandering your way back to town amidst the old roads.

“The whole drive is just phenomenal,” says Bryant, a celebrated watercolorist, art teacher and signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society.

Along the way — whether on the highway or off — there are numerous places to pull off and admire the view. Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park includes the historic CATALDO MISSION and a prime picnic spot (park entry fee: $5/vehicle, parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/coeur-d-alenes-old-mission). 

Continue east towards the charming town of Wallace. Now you’re in the bosom of the valley amidst steep hills of evergreen and local lore, so make a day of it and explore shopping and dining. Or, if you’re really after a unique fall vista, check out SILVER STREAK ZIPLINE TOURS (silverstreakziplinetours.com). 

If you’d like to take in the fall color from the water, book a SUNDAY CRUISE on the St. Joe River. This six-hour adventure cruises the full length of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the St. Joe River. Watch for elk, deer and birds while you enjoy the full splendor of fall. A buffet lunch is included (cdaresort.com/play/activities/cruises). 

For two-wheel adventures, bundle up and grab the last bit of fall as you ride the TRAIL OF THE COEUR D’ALENE’S (parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/trail-coeur-d-alenes), more than 70 miles of mostly flat, paved asphalt from Mullan to Plummer. That’s where you might end your excursion at the COEUR D’ALENE CASINO (cdacasino.com), and a chance to win some green at any of their 1,200 gaming machines.



Moonlit Monster Cruises

OCTOBER 23-25

There’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than on the spooky waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene! These fright-filled 45-minute cruises featuring spooky décor, a grand prize costume/photo contest, signature Halloween cocktails and much more. Visit cda4.fun for departure times and to purchase tickets. 

Scavenger Hunt

OCTOBER 23-25

Set out on a Halloween-themed adventure in downtown Coeur d’Alene that will have you decoding clues at local restaurants, shops, and coffee shops for a chance to win gift certificates to your favorite North Idaho businesses. Details at cda4.fun. 

Coeur d’Alene Flea Market

OCTOBER 25

This October event will be the last outdoor market at the Roosevelt Inn this season. Fall Harvest is this month’s theme. Enjoy costume contests, pumpkin drawing, a photo booth, and more. Sun, 10 am-2 pm, the Roosevelt Inn.

North Idaho’s Great Pumpkin Fest

OCTOBER 23-25

Pick the perfect pumpkin, enjoy wagon rides, lots of great food and stein hosting at the first annual Great Pumpkin Fest at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Fri, noon-6 pm; Sat, 10 am-6 pm; Sun, 10 am-4 pm; Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

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