Kootenai County, located in the northern part of Idaho, is a region of stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Nestled in the Idaho Panhandle, the county encompasses a variety of geographical features, including mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers. Its geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other natural attributes significantly contribute to the quality of life and outdoor experiences for residents and visitors alike. This comprehensive overview will delve into the geography of Kootenai County, providing insights into its physical characteristics, climate, rivers, lakes, and more. Check climateforcities to learn more about the state of Idaho.

Physical Geography

Kootenai County is situated in the Idaho Panhandle, bordered by the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north and the state of Washington to the west. The county’s landscape is diverse, with the northern part dominated by the rugged peaks of the Selkirk Mountains, while the southern part features rolling hills and fertile valleys.

The Selkirk Mountains, part of the larger Rocky Mountain range, run along the northern border of Kootenai County, with peaks reaching heights of over 7,000 feet. The mountains are characterized by dense forests, alpine meadows, and numerous lakes and streams.


Kootenai County experiences a continental climate, with warm summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The region’s climate is influenced by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, which can result in significant temperature variations and weather patterns.

Summer temperatures in Kootenai County typically range from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit (around 21-27°C), with occasional heatwaves pushing temperatures into the 90s Fahrenheit (around 32°C). Nights are generally cool and comfortable, providing relief from the daytime heat.

Winter temperatures are cold, with daytime highs often below freezing and nighttime lows dropping well below zero Fahrenheit (around -18°C). Snowfall is common in the winter months, with the mountains receiving several feet of snow each year, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Rivers and Lakes

Kootenai County is home to numerous rivers, lakes, and streams, which provide important habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as opportunities for recreation and tourism.

Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d’Alene is the largest lake in Kootenai County, stretching for over 25 miles and covering approximately 50 square miles. The lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, swimming, and other water-based activities, with abundant populations of trout, bass, and other fish species.

Coeur d’Alene River

The Coeur d’Alene River flows through the southern part of Kootenai County, originating in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana and joining the Spokane River near the city of Coeur d’Alene. The river is known for its scenic beauty, with crystal-clear waters, rocky rapids, and lush forests lining its banks.

Spokane River

The Spokane River forms part of the western border of Kootenai County, separating it from the state of Washington. The river flows for approximately 111 miles, originating in Idaho and eventually joining the Columbia River in Washington. The Spokane River is a popular destination for fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking, with opportunities for both novice and experienced paddlers.

Natural Attractions

In addition to its rivers and lakes, Kootenai County is home to several natural attractions that showcase the region’s beauty, biodiversity, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Coeur d’Alene National Forest

Coeur d’Alene National Forest is a vast wilderness area that encompasses much of the northern part of Kootenai County. The forest features dense forests, alpine meadows, and rugged mountains, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, and black bears.

The national forest offers numerous hiking trails, camping areas, and scenic viewpoints, allowing visitors to explore and experience the natural beauty of the area. Popular destinations within the forest include the Bumblebee Mountain Trail, the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, and the Priest Lake Recreation Area.

Tubbs Hill Nature Park

Tubbs Hill Nature Park is located in downtown Coeur d’Alene and encompasses over 120 acres of pristine wilderness along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The park features hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and picnic areas, as well as opportunities for swimming, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Visitors to Tubbs Hill Nature Park can explore the park’s network of trails, which wind through forests, along rocky bluffs, and down to the water’s edge. The park offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood Theme Park is a family-friendly amusement park located in the northern part of Kootenai County. The park features a variety of thrill rides, water slides, and entertainment options, making it a popular destination for visitors of all ages.

In addition to its rides and attractions, Silverwood Theme Park also offers camping and RV facilities, allowing visitors to extend their stay and explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The park is open seasonally from May to September and hosts special events throughout the year.


Kootenai County, Idaho, is a region of stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Its continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters, provides ideal conditions for a variety of outdoor activities, from boating and fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene to skiing and snowboarding in the Selkirk Mountains.

With its scenic rivers, lakes, forests, and mountains, Kootenai County offers endless opportunities for adventure, exploration, and relaxation. Whether you’re hiking through Coeur d’Alene National Forest, paddling down the Spokane River, or enjoying a day of fun at Silverwood Theme Park, Kootenai County is sure to captivate visitors with its natural charm, beauty, and outdoor spirit.