I have been cross country skiing at Priest Lake since 1984.  It is a winter wonderland, but many people do not take advantage of the opportunity. In part this is because groomed trails have not always been well groomed on a regular basis. Indian Creek state park does a good job of grooming, because they have had good equipment for a number of years. On the west side our equipment was not ideal until last year. Just last fall the Priest Lake Nordic Club cobbled enough money together to buy a tracked side by side UTV.


Last year Hanna Flats was groomed on a regular basis. Although there was no real advertising, word of mouth was enough to bring out many more skiers. This year will even be better. Our club was able to get a $13000 grant from the USFS which will be used to buy a larger pull behind groomer and a roller/compacter. This should allow us to groom for skate skiing as well as classic.


From my standpoint the best news of all is that we will be able to open up the Chipmunk Rapids trail system. Everyone has driven by these trails many times without even knowing. It is located at the Welcome Center just south of the Dickensheet Junction. Thirty years ago a few forest service employees groomed these trails with a snowmobile and a home made track setter. I have always said this is the best cross country skiing in North Idaho. Unfortunately about 20 years ago the grooming ended because of lack of funds or interest. 


The trails go through a mature mixed conifer forest, by an old oxbow of the river (which is now a marsh) and then to the river. There are great views of the river and rapids and also the Selkirk Crest. We have some work to do to brush out the trails and clear overhanging limbs, but we hope to have everything in shape by ski season.


Park N Ski sticker. This is the best deal in skiing. You can get these at Hill's Resort or The Tamrak but since you might want to ski at Chipmunk first, get yours online. Go to, at the top of the page click Registration and Permits, then Park N Ski Annual - fill in the form. Make sure you specify our area, that way some of the money funnels back to us for grooming expenses. Have a great time.


Jim Lea


Other Priest Lake Park N Ski areas - view here 



Please reload

Please reload