Top-Rated Lakes in Idaho

Idaho is a state known for its stunning natural beauty, and its numerous lakes are no exception. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a place to swim, fish, or simply relax by the water, Idaho has something to offer. From the crystal clear waters of Lake Pend Oreille to the tranquil shores of Redfish Lake, there is a lake for everyone to enjoy.

One of the top-rated lakes in Idaho is Lake Coeur d’Alene, located in the northern part of the state. With its sparkling waters and picturesque shoreline, this lake is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Fishing is a popular activity here, with ample opportunities to catch bass, trout, and pike. If you’re looking for adventure, you can also rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the lake’s many hidden coves and inlets.

If you’re seeking a more remote and secluded experience, Stanley Lake is the perfect destination. Tucked away in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, this lake offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Camping is a popular option here, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the lake.

Another top-rated lake in Idaho is Payette Lake, located near the town of McCall. With its crystal clear waters and sandy beaches, this lake is a popular spot for swimming and water sports. Visitors can also take a scenic boat tour of the lake, or rent a paddleboard or canoe for a more leisurely experience. Surrounding the lake are numerous hiking trails, offering stunning views of the water and the surrounding mountains.

Idaho’s lakes are truly a hidden gem, offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re looking to fish, swim, or simply take in the beauty of nature, these top-rated lakes in Idaho are sure to impress.

Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the top-rated lakes in Idaho and is known for its stunning beauty and recreational opportunities. Located in the northern part of the state, this lake spans over 25 miles and offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.

One of the main attractions of Lake Coeur d’Alene is its crystal clear water, which is perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and salmon, making it a popular spot for anglers. Additionally, the lake’s clean water is ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding, allowing visitors to explore its calm and peaceful surroundings.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Lake Coeur d’Alene offers numerous hiking and biking trails that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. There are also several picnic areas and campgrounds available, making it a great place for families to spend a day or weekend outdoors.

Another popular attraction on Lake Coeur d’Alene is the Coeur d’Alene Resort, which offers luxurious accommodations and a variety of amenities for guests to enjoy. The resort also features a golf course that is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, providing golf enthusiasts with a unique and unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the wilderness, or indulge in luxury, Lake Coeur d’Alene has something for everyone. Its natural beauty and endless recreational opportunities make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

  • Crystal clear water for swimming, boating, and fishing
  • Abundance of fish species, including trout, bass, and salmon
  • Opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding
  • Hiking and biking trails with stunning views
  • Picnic areas and campgrounds available
  • Luxurious accommodations at the Coeur d’Alene Resort
  • Top-rated golf course for golf enthusiasts

Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake is a beautiful alpine lake located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking mountain views.

The lake is named after the vibrant red-colored sockeye salmon that used to migrate to the area. Although the sockeye salmon population has significantly declined in recent years, Redfish Lake still offers a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy.

One of the main attractions at Redfish Lake is the variety of outdoor activities available. Visitors can go boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking in the surrounding national forest. The lake is also a popular spot for camping and picnicking.

If you prefer a more relaxed experience, you can simply sit back and admire the tranquil beauty of the lake while enjoying a picnic or reading a book. The surrounding mountain peaks provide a stunning backdrop for the lake, creating a truly breathtaking scene.

During the summer months, Redfish Lake is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The lake offers opportunities for water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding, and there are several hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Overall, Redfish Lake is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its natural beauty and range of activities make it a top-rated lake in Idaho.

Priest Lake

Priest Lake is one of the most stunning lakes in Idaho. Located in the northern part of the state, Priest Lake offers picturesque views, crystal-clear water, and a serene atmosphere. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

The lake spans over 19,000 acres and is surrounded by pristine wilderness. Its beautiful shoreline is dotted with sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and towering forests. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking.

Priest Lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and kokanee salmon. Anglers can try their luck from the shore or venture out onto the water in a boat.

There are several campgrounds and resorts located along the lake, offering a range of accommodations and amenities. Whether you prefer roughing it in a tent or enjoying the comforts of a lakeside cabin, there is an option for every type of traveler.

One of the highlights of visiting Priest Lake is exploring the surrounding area. There are numerous hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, and other natural wonders. The nearby Selkirk Mountains provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.

Features Details
Location Northern Idaho
Size 19,000 acres
Activities Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking
Fish Species Trout, bass, kokanee salmon

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Priest Lake is the perfect destination. With its breathtaking beauty and abundant recreational opportunities, it’s no wonder why this lake is considered one of the top-rated in Idaho.

Payette Lake

Payette Lake is located in the mountains of central Idaho and is one of the most popular lakes in the state. It covers an area of approximately 5,330 acres and has a maximum depth of 392 feet.

The lake is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Payette National Forest and the Payette Mountains. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, hiking, and camping.

One of the main attractions of Payette Lake is the town of McCall, which is located on its southern shore. McCall is a popular tourist destination, known for its charming downtown area, ski resort, and numerous events and festivals throughout the year.

The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, salmon, and bass, making it a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. There are several boat ramps and fishing docks available for visitors to use.

For those looking to explore the lake, there are several boat rental and kayak rental options available in the area. There are also several scenic hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the lake and its surroundings.

Overall, Payette Lake is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its pristine waters, stunning scenery, and range of recreational activities make it an ideal spot for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous day out.

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in Idaho and one of the deepest lakes in the United States. This magnificent lake covers an area of approximately 148 square miles and has a maximum depth of over 1,150 feet.

The crystal-clear waters of Lake Pend Oreille attract visitors from across the country who come to enjoy its breathtaking beauty and plethora of recreational activities. Whether you’re into fishing, boating, swimming, or simply relaxing on the sandy beaches, this lake has something for everyone.

One of the most popular activities on Lake Pend Oreille is fishing. With an abundance of fish species, including rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and bass, anglers of all skill levels are sure to have a great time. The lake is also home to the world-record for the largest rainbow trout ever caught, weighing in at over 37 pounds!

If you prefer to take to the water, you can rent a boat or kayak and explore the vastness of Lake Pend Oreille. From secluded coves to hidden beaches, there are plenty of spots to discover and enjoy. For the more adventurous, there are even guided tours and boat cruises available.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Lake Pend Oreille offers numerous hiking trails and camping options. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to admire. Many campgrounds offer amenities such as picnic areas, fire pits, and RV hookups.

In addition to its natural wonders, Lake Pend Oreille is also home to several charming towns and communities. Among them is Sandpoint, a picturesque town known for its friendly atmosphere, charming downtown area, and waterfront activities. Visitors can stroll along the marina, shop in the unique boutiques, or dine in one of the many lakeside restaurants.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or just seeking relaxation, Lake Pend Oreille is the perfect destination. Its unparalleled beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor activities make it a top-rated lake in Idaho.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a stunning natural lake located on the border of Idaho and Utah. Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, Bear Lake is often referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies.” The lake spans approximately 20 miles in length and 8 miles in width, offering plenty of room for various recreational activities.

The beautiful sandy beaches surrounding Bear Lake make it an ideal destination for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The lake’s average depth is about 94 feet, making it perfect for boating, water skiing, and sailing. There are also several boat ramps and marinas available for visitors to use.

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Bear Lake as it is home to a wide variety of fish species, including cutthroat trout, lake trout, and whitefish. The lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities throughout the year, attracting anglers from all over.

For those looking for a more adventurous experience, Bear Lake offers opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping. There are numerous hiking trails that provide stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the lake itself. Campgrounds and RV parks are also available for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of the area.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Bear Lake is also famous for its raspberry milkshakes. The region surrounding the lake is known for its raspberry farms, and the local milkshake stands are a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Location Size Depth Popular Activities
Border of Idaho and Utah Approximately 20 miles in length and 8 miles in width About 94 feet Swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, camping

Henry’s Lake

Located in southeastern Idaho, Henry’s Lake is a top-rated destination for fishing enthusiasts. This stunning natural lake covers approximately 6,000 acres and offers a variety of fish species, including trout and salmon.

One of the unique features of Henry’s Lake is its crystal-clear water, providing a picturesque setting for outdoor activities. Whether you prefer fishing from the shore or in a boat, this lake offers plenty of opportunities to catch a trophy-sized fish.

In addition to its excellent fishing, Henry’s Lake is surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, making it a popular spot for camping and hiking. Visitors can explore the nearby Henry’s Lake State Park, which offers a range of recreational activities such as picnic areas, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Due to its pristine natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, Henry’s Lake is a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you are an experienced angler or a novice, this lake provides a memorable and enjoyable experience in the heart of Idaho’s wilderness.

Alturas Lake

Alturas Lake is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Idaho. Located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Alturas Lake offers stunning views and a variety of recreational activities.

The lake is known for its clear turquoise water, which is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Fishing is also popular at Alturas Lake, with anglers frequently catching trout and salmon.

There are several hiking trails that surround the lake, providing opportunities for visitors to explore the beautiful scenery and spot wildlife. The Alturas Lake Loop Trail is a popular choice, offering a 14-mile loop around the lake.

If you’re looking to relax, Alturas Lake has several sandy beaches where you can soak up the sun and enjoy a picnic. Camping is available at Alturas Lake Campground, offering both tent and RV sites.

Activities Facilities
Swimming Sandy Beaches
Kayaking Picnic Areas
Paddleboarding Camping
Fishing Tent Sites
Hiking RV Sites

Alturas Lake is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Idaho. Whether you’re looking to swim, fish, hike, or simply relax by the lake, Alturas Lake has something for everyone.

Lake Cascade

Lake Cascade is a popular destination in southwest Idaho, known for its picturesque beauty and recreational activities. Nestled in the heart of the Payette River Mountains, this impressive reservoir spans over 47 square miles, making it one of the largest lakes in the state.

The lake’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water sports. Anglers can try their luck catching a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and perch. With its calm coves and sandy beaches, Lake Cascade is ideal for family outings and picnics.

In addition to its natural beauty, the area surrounding Lake Cascade offers numerous hiking and biking trails, providing stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Camping enthusiasts can choose from several campgrounds, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the serene and tranquil atmosphere of the lake.

During the winter months, Lake Cascade becomes a winter wonderland, attracting snowmobilers, ice fishermen, and cross-country skiers. The frozen lake offers a unique opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the stunning winter landscape.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Lake Cascade has something to offer for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to visit this top-rated lake and discover the beauty of Idaho’s natural wonders.

Stanley Lake

Stanley Lake is a breathtaking alpine lake located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area near Stanley, Idaho. Surrounded by towering mountains and pristine wilderness, it offers a truly unforgettable outdoor experience.

The lake is situated at an elevation of 6,527 feet, providing stunning views of the surrounding peaks, including the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. With its crystal-clear waters, Stanley Lake is perfect for fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and cutthroat trout.

The lakeshore of Stanley Lake is also a popular spot for picnicking and camping. There are several campgrounds around the lake, offering both tent and RV camping options. Visitors can enjoy the serenity of the lake while camping under the starry night sky.

For those who prefer hiking, Stanley Lake offers a variety of trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints. The trail to Bridal Veil Falls is a favorite among hikers, offering stunning views of the cascading waterfall and the lake below. Another must-visit spot is Lady Face, a unique rock formation that resembles the profile of a woman.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an angler, or a hiker, Stanley Lake is a destination that should not be missed. Its natural beauty and recreational opportunities make it one of the top-rated lakes in Idaho, attracting visitors from near and far.

Question and answer,

What are some top-rated lakes in Idaho?

Some top-rated lakes in Idaho include Lake Coeur d’Alene, Redfish Lake, Payette Lake, Lake Pend Oreille, and Priest Lake.

Which lake in Idaho is known for its crystal-clear water?

Lake Chelan is known for its crystal-clear water.

Are there any lakes in Idaho suitable for fishing?

Yes, there are several lakes in Idaho that are suitable for fishing, including Lake Cascade, Henrys Lake, and Dworshak Reservoir.

Can you swim in the lakes in Idaho?

Yes, swimming is allowed in many of the lakes in Idaho. However, it’s always a good idea to check local regulations and be aware of any potential hazards before swimming.

What is the largest lake in Idaho?

Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in Idaho, with a surface area of over 148 square miles.

Video:

Mr. Idaho gives his Top 5 North Idaho Fishing Spots

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Mackenzie Roche

Mackenzie Roche, part of the content operations team at TravelAsker, boasts three years of experience as a travel editor with expertise in hotel content at U.S. News & World Report. A journalism and creative writing graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, she brings a wealth of literary prowess to her work. Beyond the desk, Mackenzie embraces a balanced life, indulging in yoga, reading, beach outings, and culinary adventures across Los Angeles.

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