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From the news one might think all that goes on in Northern Idaho's Panhandle is terrible weather and neo-Nazism, but in reality it's a gorgeous part of the state with a history lesson or two up its wild and remote sleeve. First off, it is the only panhandle in the USA bordering two other states (Montana and Washington) plus a foreign nation (Canada). And second, it was never meant to be a part of Idaho. In 1864, when they were piecing Montana out of the Idaho Territory, it was decreed that all lands west of the continental divide be Idaho and east be Montana. But, assessors mistook the impressive Bitteroot Mountains for the continental ...

From the news one might think all that goes on in Northern Idaho's Panhandle is terrible weather and neo-Nazism, but in reality it's a gorgeous part of the state with a history lesson or two up its wild and remote sleeve. First off, it is the only panhandle in the USA bordering two other states (Montana and Washington) plus a foreign nation (Canada). And second, it was never meant to be a part of Idaho. In 1864, when they were piecing Montana out of the Idaho Territory, it was decreed that all lands west of the continental divide be Idaho and east be Montana. But, assessors mistook the impressive Bitteroot Mountains for the continental divide and hence the Panhandle came to be. Coeur d'Alene is the region's major city. The Nez Perce Indian Reservation is also here. These tribal lands, which during Lewis and Clark's time spanned approximately 17 million acres, are much smaller today. The whole region is quite beautiful, with a preserved Old West flavor and loads of outdoor activities, from skiing to top class angling.

Aaron Anderson
About the Expert

Aaron Anderson is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Washington, D.C. City Guide, a contributor on western states to Lonely Planet USA, and he wrote the Austria chapters for Lonely Planet's Western Europe and Europe on a Shoestring.

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Aaron Anderson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Halloween to mid May, depending on activity