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Idaho Line to Spokane

  • Distance: 47 miles
  • Routes: SR 2
  • Estimated Driving time: 1.5 hours

Fur traders and trappers, who early in the nineteenth century began to trickle into this region, could find an abundance of beaver and muskrat along the lakes and streams and plenty of deer and bear in the woods. The few thousand Indians who hunted, fished, gathered roots and berries, and grazed their ponies on the bunch grass prairies had not disturbed the balance of nature. But these first nomadic white men were the vanguard of the army of settlers to follow. Before the century had closed, fur traders and trappers had become history, the Indians, much diminished in numbers, had accepted the confining life of the reservation, and the lumberman, the railroad builder, and the farmer were well on their way toward transforming the countryside. Today, most of the virgin timber has been cut, and the settlements which sprang up and flourished briefly around sawmills and logging camps are little more than crossroads villages, except where the cutover land has been cleared and successfully converted to agriculture.

Even the most casual visitor will be able to catch some hint of the geological story of this region. Along the greater part of the route, the land is marked by outcroppings of granite rock, formed under pressure, and then forced upward by successive convulsions of the earth. Occasional lava cliffs and patches of scab rock appear toward the end of the route. One of the latest chapters was written by the glaciers, which about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago retreated, after grinding their way southward, scouring out valleys, piling up hills, and leaving behind new lakes, dammed-up streams, and other evidences of glacial action.

US 2 crosses the Idaho Line, and the Pend Oreille River, or Clark Fork, five miles west of Priest River, Idaho. Not until 1906 was a bridge constructed across the river at this point. The new Interstate Bridge was built in 1926.

Key waypoints on this leg include: NewportSpokane

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Seat of Pend Oreille County, this town laid out on the gentle curve of a hill that slopes northeast down to the sweeping arc of the Pend Oreille River. Rising in the rugged Bitterroot and Rocky mountain ranges, this stream drains westward into Washington, and then, bending abruptly northward, flows into British Columbia, only to loop back to join the Columbia River almost directly upon the Canadian Boundary Line. In...

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Points of Interest
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Dr. John and Viola Phillips House and Office

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Pend Oreille County Courthouse

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McIntosh Barn

Mile: 334

In a shallow depression on a high plateau, the lake spreads over nearly 1,000 acres. Fed by large underground springs, its waters are fresh and cool, well stocked with fish of many kinds—cutthroat, Eastern brook, and silver trout; bass, perch, crappie and whitefish. Surrounding it were once small stock and dairy farms, chicken ranches, and patches of scrub timber. There is now a little community surrounding the lake. The name...

Learn more about Diamond Lake

Mile: 325

Scattered along the route are farms, usually small; green meadows alternate with dry bunch-grass pastures, fields of grain, and clumps of pines. Low hills partially covered with small second-growth pine and fir still give evidence of the destructive fires that have swept over them, leaving dead snags, blackened stumps and logs, dried-up streams, and eroded hillsides. This region is marked by the frequent occurrence of granite cliffs and boulders formed...

Learn more about Shadow Valley

Mile: 319

Seven miles in length and one mile wide, this lake in former years was surrounded by heavy forests, but logging operations followed by destructive fires left little except patches of scrub pine and ugly, blackened scars as of 1941. Since then, however, the devastation caused by heavy industry is no longer visible, and the surrounding country shows evidence of successful reforestation. It’s said that Eloika was the original name given...

Learn more about Eloika Lake

Mile: 313

In 1929, a disastrous fire swept over this area and left it a wasteland. Of late years, however, thousands of small fir and pine trees have sprung up and are rapidly hiding the fire-swept earth. Mingled with the evergreens are serviceberry, elderberry, and chokecherry shrubs. In the spring, they brighten the landscape with their swaying, white-tipped branches, and in late summer, when their fruit is mature and ripe, they are...

Learn more about Little Spokane River

Mile: 312

A crossroads village that lies in a beautiful little valley. Out from the northeast the Little Spokane meanders, joining with Deer Creek at the village to form a stream 30 feet wide and three to four feet deep. Both the creek and the river are well-stocked with trout of several species. Mink, weasel, and a few raccoons were found along these streams, and numerous beaver made dams and even raided...

Learn more about Chattaroy

Mile: 304

A scattering of warped frame buildings. In the early 1900s, Colbert was a booming lumber town with five sawmills, two saloons, three livery stables, two blacksmith shops, and several stores. Within a few years, however, the available supply of merchantable timber had been logged. One by one, the mills closed down and were dismantled, and most of the inhabitants who did not turn to agriculture moved away. Today, Colbert is...

Learn more about Colbert

Mile: 300

A windswept prairie broken occasionally by shallow draws and low knolls. During the dry summer months, the land is an expanse of yellow grass except where the prairie has been put under cultivation. But in the spring the tufted, blue-green bunchgrass is sprinkled with golden sunflowers and deep blue lupine. Clusters of low-growing sand verbena, which flowers in lovely variegated colors, and clumps of gracefully swaying and fragrant serviceberry and...

Learn more about Peone Prairie

Mile: 296

Along this northern entrance to Spokane (known as the North Division Highway) the “Lane of Remembrance,” was series of trees planted on both sides of the highway, established by the Spokane Parkways and Roadside Protective Association. When the trees reached maturity, the long lane was intended to be one of the most beautiful boulevards in the State. This area is now a large commercial strip with shopping, hotels and restaurants....

Learn more about Lane of Remembrance

The major city of the Inland Empire of Washington, Spokane sits at the falls of the Spokane River 90 miles south of the Canadian boundary in central Spokane County. Settlement began in 1871, and the town was originally platted in 1881 as Spokane Falls, but was reincorporated in 1890 as Spokane. The name has two possible origins: One is that it came from the Indians who formerly lived in a...

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Points of Interest
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Browne’s Addition Historic District

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The Ninth Avenue Historic District

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The Marycliff-Cliff Park District

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Rockwood Historic District

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West Downtown Historic Transportation Corridor

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East Downtown Historic District

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Peaceful Valley Historic District

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Riverside Avenue Historic District

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Nettleton’s Addition Historic District

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Desmet Avenue Warehouse Historic District

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Mission Avenue Historic District

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