I’ve driven I-90 several times but never stopped in Coeur d’Alene (CdA), Idaho until spending a week there in 2021. I regret not stopping before because this area has so much to offer. CdA itself is a fun city complete with eateries of all types, shops, museums, and lots of outdoor activities. The downtown contains lots of art pieces as well as open areas, a dog park, hikes, floating boardwalk, carousel, Hubb Hill, trails, etc.
Mudgy & Millie Trail
When first touring CdA I recommend starting with the Mudgy and Millie Trail. The adorable moose and mouse characters are featured in a number of children’s books. Five bronze statues of the duo adorn the downtown area. This fun statue hunt starts at the base of Tubb Hill which contains many hiking trails with views of the city and lake. The second statue stands next to the library in a large park area with numerous other statues, sculptures, a dog park, memorials, and open areas. The third statue resides on Sherman Avenue which contain shops, museums, eateries, and lots of other spots. Getting to the fourth statues takes you on the floating boardwalk and through the impressive City Park area. The boardwalk extends over the lake and you get nice views of the downtown area, lake, and City Park. The last statue at Independence Point offers some picturesque views at the edge of the lake. The Mudgy and Millie trail gives you a very good overview of what the downtown area offers.
Activities In Coeur d’Alene
Be sure to enjoy all of the public sculptures and artwork throughout the downtown area. Even some of the stations to lock bicycles become art pieces including the octopus sculpture at the base of the Tubb Hill trail. Look for statues of miners, trades workers, suffragettes, and many others. The city park contains artwork, picnic tables, a wide variety of trees, carousel, paths, playgrounds, etc. I really appreciated the fact that the city was very clean and people were very friendly.
The 23-mile Centennial Trail stretches from the Washington Border to the Higgins Point picnic area at the east end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The trail includes a statue of Leopold, the old-school photographer. You can also see the Leopold from I-90 both direction of I-90. This trail has lots of places to park and lots of things to see. You can walk, run, job, bike, or rollerblade the trail.
The big draw to Coeur d’Alene is the water. The numerous lakes, rivers, and streams offer boating, fishing, kayaking, and many other water activities. The waterways also provide excellent habitat for a variety of animals. I’ve been told that the area is fly fishing paradise (I am not a fisherman). Boats off all types and sizes abound in this area. We went in late May and this was a bit before the busy tourist season. I image that the summer months would be quite busy.
When staying around Coeur d’Alene be sure to visit the many sights near the city such as Spokane (WA), Wallace (ID), Cataldo (ID), Centennial Trail, Sandpoint (ID), and many others. My favorite places were Cataldo because I share the name and like the Old Mission, Wallace because this funky and historical town also has a manhole cover that is the Center of the Universe, Mandito Gardens (Spokane), Riverfront Park (Spokane), and downtown Coeur d’Alene.
In Cataldo, ID (not too far from Coeur d’Alene) we saw a variety of birds including white pelicans. I was told that the pelicans are fairly rare to see so that was a real bonus. We also enjoy visiting the Old Mission. I especially like writing my name in the guest book since having a Cataldo visit Cataldo, ID is pretty cool.
Before visiting Coeur d’Alene I wondered if we could find enough to do to occupy an entire week. After visiting we realized that spending a week only allows you scratch the surface of things to do in the area.