Recreation in Boundary County
The spectacular beauty of Boundary County can best be experienced when traveling by foot. Hikers can choose easy walks on a well-established trail or multiple-day treks in the wilderness. In fact, there are more than 300 miles of trails in the Panhandle National Forest land contained in Boundary County.
Old Forest Service roads make perfect mountain bike trails. The Forest Service suggests seeking closed roads to avoid motorized traffic. Mountain bikers are still discovering new trails to cruise that offer a wide variety of backcountry stops. A few areas suggested for exploring are the Snow Creek/Myrtle Creek Loop, Boulder Creek, Clifty Mountain or Katka.
Campgrounds across the county offer an unparalleled outdoor experience and some of the most beautiful scenery around from high mountain vistas to the banks of the Moyie River. The U.S. Forest Service has five developed campgrounds in addition to lookouts for rent. You may also select from a number of commercial campgrounds.
Three former Forest Service lookout stations and one guard station have been converted for use as unique recreational experiences. Using lookouts for spotting fires became obsolete after aircraft came into use. While many lookouts across the West were torn down, several were kept intact in Boundary County. The Bonners Ferry Ranger District accepts seasonal overnight reservations for Shorty Peak Lookout, Deer Ridge Lookout, Black Mountain Lookout and Snyder Guard Station. The lookouts have exceptional views of the surrounding mountains.
Whitewater Rafting and Boating
For recreational rafting, try the Upper Moyie accessed south of Eastport on Highway 95 at County Road No. 211. The upper reaches of the Moyie have gentle waters, and there are five bridges where the river can be accessed for put in and take out. The lower Moyie River is not suggested for novices. The adventurous kayaker or rafter will find the Lower Moyie to be a thrilling experience. For a guided experience, try local outfitting and guide services available in the spring.
The Kootenai is suited to recreational rafting from the Yaak River Campground on Highway 2 in Montana to below the highway bridge in Bonners Ferry. View wildlife, go fishing and enjoy the mountain scenery on this stretch of river. You can also take a power boat on the Kootenai to the Canadian border. Access the Kootenai by the boat ramp three miles west of Bonners Ferry.
Boundary County’s backcountry wilderness is full of wide-open play areas and miles of groomed access trails that can take you from elevations of 2,000 feet to over 7,000 feet. For the thrill of a lifetime and an unforgettable experience, venture into the mountains surrounding Bonners Ferry. Here are some of the most popular areas:
Southwest of Bonners Ferry in the Selkirk Mountains, you’ll find the famed Roman Nose peak, standing at 7,200 feet and one of the top destinations for backcountry snowmobiling.
About 13 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry, in the Canuck Basin area are the beautiful Purcell Mountains, where grand vistas of Canada and Montana can be seen from the high ridges.
Cross country and back country skiing
When snow covers the backcountry of Boundary County, a whole new world is opened up for anyone wishing to venture on cross-country skis or even snowshoes. You can explore hiking trails in the Canuck Basin in the Purcell Mountains or Boulder Creek areas in the Cabinet Mountains, or the magnificent Selkirk Crest. When snow closes the auto tour route at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, the scenic 4.5-mile route is also open for cross-country skiing.
Hunting and Fishing
Sportsmen will find promising hunting grounds and productive fishing waters in Boundary County. Hunters can take advantage of seasons for elk, deer, bear and moose and other big game as well as several species of birds. The Kootenai Wildlife Refuge, just a few miles west of Bonners Ferry, is a popular site for bird hunting. With more than 400,000 acres of National Forest lands in the county, there are plenty of public lands for hunting game.
Fishermen can choose from a variety of fishable waters in Boundary County from 290 miles of streams and rivers to sub-alpine, high mountain lakes. The range of species includes rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass, crappie, brook trout, sunfish and whitefish.
Fly fishing is recommended on several rivers including the Kootenai River and Moyie, where wild trout will challenge and delight the fly fisherman. Other fly fishing waters include Smith, Ball, Trout and Caribou creeks.
You’ll find an abundance and variety of outdoor recreational opportunities in Boundary County right at your back door.