Like most lake towns in the Inland Northwest, Sandpoint shines on shoulder-season bike trips, after the crowds have gone home but before snow shutters the local singletrack. Of course, lodging is a little easier to come by in the interval between summer tourism and Schweitzer’s ski season too.
Replacing their popular tipi rentals, the bell tent (and its two-person twin just across the road) is fully furnished and fully waterproof—perfect for fall, when longer nights and later mornings require a little more stretching-out room than your pup tent.
If autumn is the grand finale to bike season, fall colors are the fireworks show. With a beachside basecamp on Hawkins Point on the north end of the lake, the birch forests of Mineral Point and Gold Hill are within easy reach, as are the huckleberry shrubs of the High Point Trail and the orange foliage of Upper and Lower Flo.
You can also put your spring and summer conditioning to work on long backcountry days on the Beetop-Roundtop or Clifty-Katka trails. The bedside coffee maker and outdoor shower with on-demand hot water take care of warming up pre- and post-ride.
The water is just as welcoming as the dirt this time of year too, made all the better by the dramatic dip in boat traffic.
It’s fairly common to have temps in the 60s and 70s well into October, and while the water temperature may not be conducive to all-day swims, it’s warm enough for a post-ride dip off the end of the dock. That’s even easier when you have a fire pit or space heater to huddle around.
Originally published as “Head to Lake Pend Oreille for Glamping and Fall Singletrack” in the September-October 2021 issue.