One of the best ways to find out about Lake Coeur d’Alene is to take a cruise across its waters to discover Idaho wildlife, Coeur d Alene history and important CdA landmarks.
Interesting Facts About Lake Coeur d’Alene – Boat Tour Highlights
Here are some of the things you might see as a guest with Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises. These daily boat tours on Lake Coeur d’Alene visit the second largest lake in northern Idaho, once described by National Geographic as one of the five most beautiful lakes in the world.
Lake Coeur d’Alene is 25 miles long and 10 miles across at its widest point. The lake has more than 135 miles of tree-lined shores with an average depth of about 100 feet. Lake Coeur d’Alene is a natural lake fed by two rivers, the Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe River. The single outlet is the Spokane River, which flows to the west to join the Columbia River all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The sightseeing cruise passes Coeur d’Alene City Park and then North Idaho College, located on the grounds of the original Fort Sherman, a military settlement that preceded the present-day City of Coeur d’Alene. Fort Sherman was established in 1878 after the Battle of the Little Big Horn by General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame.
A few points of interest about Coeur d’Alene: The city is located 2,157 feet above sea level and receives an average rainfall of 26 inches a year. Summer high temperatures range in the 70s and 80s and wintertime highs in the 30s and 40s.
Blackwell Island, Cedars Restaurant, Blackwell Island Marina
Northwest Lake Coeur d’Alene is the headwaters of the Spokane River. Here you’ll see the famous Cedars Floating Restaurant, a Coeur d’Alene landmark. On Valentine’s Day, 1996, the Spokane River rose to extreme flood stage and The Cedar’s Floating Restaurant was in danger of being carried away from its moorings. Tugboat captain Oscar Mooney spent several days in his boat pushing the restaurant against the river’s flow. His efforts helped save the local landmark, which still serves up dinner with a view today, offering the finest in gourmet seafood, prime rib and steaks.
Just beyond is Blackwell Island Marina, the home Hagadone Marine Center, a premium boat dealership with top brands such as Carver, Malibu, Cobalt, Marquis, Regal and Axis. Named one of Boating Industry’s Top 100 Dealers, they also offer boat storage and summer and winter boat preparation.
This part of the lake is known for its logging history. Thousands of logs were stored here on their way to the sawmills on the lakeshore. Today, this area is home to Idaho’s famed bird of prey – the osprey. A large bird with wingspans up to six feet, osprey will hover above the water while searching for fish. The bird dives feet-first into the water to catch its dinner, with a unique foot designed to catch and hold slippery fish.
Lake Coeur d’Alene is a winter migratory stop for the bald eagle… and beneath the water, the lake is filled with fish including kokanee salmon, large and smallmouth bass and a variety of trout. Nearby here, a lucky fisherman caught a northern pike that weighed nearly 39 pounds, an Idaho state record only recently beat.
Casco Bay, Kidd Island Bay, Stephens Point
Most of the homes built here along Casco Bay were made from materials that had to be hauled across the lake by boat or barge. You’ll notice some of the docks sport a mailbox. Lake Coeur d’Alene does have an official U.S. Postal route which delivers mail by boat six days a week during the summer months.
Kidd Island Bay still has the rusted remains of a boiler from one of the old steamships. Coeur d’Alene’s great steamship history began in 1880, when the 85-foot sternwheeler Amelia Wheaton was built for Fort Sherman and government use. At one time, there were more than 50 steamships working on the lake, hauling logs, mine ore and passengers on vacation. The largest steamer of the era was the Idaho, built to carry up to one thousand sightseers. When more modern methods of transportation arrived, some of the steamers were set afire and sunk during Fourth of July celebrations. Today, several of those early day boats can still be found on the bottom of the lake near here in the “steamship graveyard.”
This land was populated by homesteaders beginning with the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909, and today is the location for many fine homes. Many of these lake homes have rail systems running up the hill. These are for trams that are used to transport people and materials from their homes down to the water level. It sure beats hiking up and down all those stairs.
Arrow Point, Bald Eagles, Centennial Bridge
If you look closely, you can see a home built right on the rock at Arrow Point. The Gozzer Ranch golf community sits on the hillside above. To the east lies Wolf Lodge Bay, home of migrating bald eagles in December and early January. Each winter, large numbers of eagles return to feed on spawning kokanee salmon. You can see the birds on an eagle-watching trip with Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises.
The Veteran’s Centennial Bridge is a 300-foot-high structure built to enable Interstate 90 to route non-stop from Seattle to Boston. The old section of interstate runs along the shoreline, and now parallels a wonderful 60-mile biking and walking path called the Centennial Trail.
The next point of interest is the Beachouse Restaurant and the Silver Beach Marina. The Beachouse, a local hot spot with amazing sunset views, specializes in classic favorites such as fish tacos and the mouth-watering barbeque ribs.
To the north is the most exclusive luxury condominium project in the western United States, The Terraces on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Each home is 6,300 square feet, and comes with a private garage, a boat slip in the marina and two lifetime golf memberships with no annual or monthly fees of any kind.
Resort Golf Course, Floating Green, Hagadone Event Center
As the boat approaches The Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, you can see the beautiful grounds keeping that has earned Golf Digest’s praise as the “Best Conditioned Course in North America.” With the famous floating golf green on the 14th hole, this magnificent place consistently earns Gold Medal status among the world’s finest golf courses.
Golfers warm up on an over-the-water driving range, then play through forests and along Fernan Creek and Lake Coeur d’Alene. The round comes complete with a personal forecaddie, water taxi ride to the course, a commemorative bag tag and luxury custom carts with heated seats. Near the golf course, The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Private Beach has cabanas, beach umbrellas, adjustable lounge chairs and a full-time beach attendant serving drinks.
The cruise boat tours past The Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course’s signature hole, the world’s first floating, movable green. The green weighs in at 5 million pounds, and is moved every day with a series of cables attached to the lake bottom. Moving the green allows the length of the hole to vary between 75 and 175 yards.
After the tee shot from shore, the golfers board a small boat called The Putter for a short ride to the green to putt out. Every golfer is allowed two shots to the green. If both miss, then they can drop a ball on the green to putt out. Each year there are an incredible 3 or 4 holes-in-one recorded on the green. About 24,000 balls per year miss the target and end up on the lake bottom, and are then recovered weekly by divers.
Beyond that is the Hagadone Events Center, a spectacular venue for weddings and special events. This amazing 11,000-square-foot facility has everything to make a bride’s dreams come true, with incredible landscaping, water features and luxury amenities. Nearby, Sander’s Beach holds some of Coeur d’Alene’s oldest homes, many of which have been beautifully restored to their former grandeur.
Tubbs Hill and The Coeur d’Alene Resort
On the way back to the dock, the cruise passes Tubbs Hill, a 120-acre natural preserve set aside for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. The park is named for a German immigrant, Tony Tubbs, who was Coeur d’Alene’s first justice of the peace. This is the perfect place to take a hike on trails around the hill, with great views of the lake, a swinging bridge to navigate and access to secluded beaches. You can reach the three-mile loop trail at the Tubbs Hill entrance just east of The Coeur d’Alene Resort.
In the 1960s, Coeur d’Alene hosted the world’s fastest boats with the annual Diamond Cup hydroplane races, which recently returned to town. The city also hosts the Ford Ironman Triathlon, with 2,500 competitors from around the world plunging into the lake in June to begin their arduous day of racing.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort, an 18-story lakefront tower, is owned and operated by Hagadone Hospitality, with world-class accommodations in 337 rooms, three restaurants and three lounges. The tower rooms have private balconies, fireplaces, elegant furnishings, and, of course, amazing views. On the top floor are the Hagadone and Jaeger suites, named in honor of the Resort’s owners. One of the suites features a glass-bottom swimming pool and Jacuzzi tub suspended out from the 18th floor.
Inside, the Coeur d’Alene Resort Spa, named “World’s Most Romantic Spa” by MSNBC, is a 30,000-square-foot luxury spa with soothing water treatments and Northwest-inspired therapies. Many people decide to host their special event, family reunion or conference at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, with more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space in 25 rooms, and all the services to go with it.
On The Resort’s 7th floor is Beverly’s Restaurant and lounge, annually selected as a top fine dining restaurant in America, featuring a $1.5 million wine collection. Dockside Restaurant is located at the water’s edge on the lobby level and offers huge, delicious, homemade Gooey Desserts. Across the street is The Bonsai Bistro, with tempting Pan-Asian fare along with a Koi pond and Japanese gardens. Nearby Tito’s Italian Grill is a tasty Italian style eatery with a Mediterranean twist. And Splash nightclub is Coeur d’Alene’s hottest place to enjoy the latest in cocktails and music in an exciting street side scene.
The Resort has the world’s longest floating boardwalk, nearly ¾ of a mile in length. Fortunate boat owners at The Boardwalk Marina can call for hotel room service delivered straight to their boat.
As the journey comes to a close, passengers have had a glimpse of many of Lake Coeur d’Alene’s most famous landmarks, all in one 90-minute boat cruise. It’s really just scratching the surface of all Coeur d’Alene has to offer – but it sure makes an amazing first impression!