The Wild Horse Trail, one of two new scenic byways approved
by the transportation board last week, includes the stretch
of U.S. 95 from Sandpoint to its junction with Idaho 1, about
10 miles south of the Canada border at Porthill. Board members
of the International Selkirk Loop are excited that the Idaho
route is part of a scenic loop that extends into lower British
Columbia and eastern Washington.
That loop encircles the Selkirk Mountains, following U.S.
95 to Canada highway 21, north along the eastern shores of
Kootenay Lake, around Kokanee Glacier Park and south into
Washington, past Metaline Falls and along the Pend Oreille
Much of the scenic beauty along the Wild Horse Trail affords
panoramic views of the Selkirk Mountains, Kootenai River and
surrounding forested hills.
Ancestral home of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the region
attracted trappers and traders around the turn of the 19th
century. While they harvested furs, the Kootenai Tribe harvested
fish each fall in bountiful numbers from the regions
waterways. A few decades later, miners engaged in their own
harvest from Wild Horse Creek.
A number of unique cultural amenities are available along
the byway, including galleries featuring local artists, new
wineries and an elk farm. Sandpoint has a particular charm
attributable to its world-class scenery and an unrivaled community
The route serves as a gateway to boundless recreational opportunities
in the region such as skiing, boating, kayaking, hiking and
fishing, and hundreds of miles of recreational trails and
access to dozens of alpine lakes.
With the inclusion of the Wild Horse Trail in Idaho,
the (International Selkirk Loop) intends to apply for National
Scenic Byway status for the entire U.S. portion of the route
in Idaho and Washington, according to Carol Graham,
ISL operations director.
The Canadian government is most interested in continuing
the continuity of the loop drive in Canada with the intention
of becoming the first international national scenic
byway, she said.