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Selkirk International Loop: Washington, Canada, and Idaho

Selkirk International Loop
Selkirk International Loop

It is pretty rare that I travel with people. But when traveling to Canada for the first time with dogs I felt it was necessary to bring along a “Canadian”.  So I invited my dad on the road trip as we circled the Selkirk Mountain Range while traveling around Washington State, Canada and Idaho, our home state.

Now you may be wondering why I put “Canadian” in quotes. Although my dad has Canadian citizenship, he was born in The States, hence the quotes.

Honestly, it’s just my jealousy that he’s a dual citizen and I am not. Mostly because I get asked often if I am Canadian all the time…

Apparently, I’m long on my O’s and I yip-yap too much about maple syrup, Tim Horton’s and put mayo on everything. Although I’m not a huge fan of Canadian beer… So maybe that is why they won’t grant me citizenship. Sure I’ll drink a Canadian (otherwise known as a Molsen in The States) but I prefer my hoppy west-coast IPAs.

Selkirk International Loop
Our first stop, Box Canyon Dam Overlook near Ione Washington

My dad, the dogs and I started out with an early morning start. Other than the Selkirk Loop and stopping in Nelson BC to visit with my Great Aunt and Uncle, we did not have plans. Well other than taking the Osprey Ferry from Belfour to Kootenay Bay, traveling along the Kootenay Lake.

Selkirk International Loop
Kootenay Lake

You can skip the ferry and take the pass, but really why would you?. The ferry is FREE and grants you dynamic views of the area as well as catching a glimpse of the Kokanee Glacier. Also, keep your eye out for the Kokanee Sasquatch Mel.

Selkirk International Loop
Mel, Boomer, and Jovi

If you don’t see Mel traipsing around in the wilderness you can always stop by the Kootenay Brewery in Creston and catch him (or her, I’m not sure) there. Brewery tours with tastings are offered at the brewery as well as stocking up in the beer gear store with beer or other beer-related paraphernalia.

Selkirk International Loop
Who doesn’t like a brewery tour?

You also get bragging rights if you purchase beer there as they slap a “right from the brewery” sticker on your case of beer. Maybe it is for customs, but I believe it’s for showing your pride in freshly made beer.

So now that I have rambled on about Canadians and beer lets get back to the Selkirk Loop… You know the main point of this post.

Now years ago this loop was just that, a 280-mile loop (450 km if you’re on the metric system).

But the loop has changed in the last few years with added “super side trips”.  All total there are 7 Super Side Trips making the loop look a little lumpy.  The “lumps” can add some kick-ass side trips along the way, so we can ignore the lumpiness of the now.

We stuck to the traditional loop during our trip, not taking any super side trips.  Apparently, we weren’t feeling super side trippy that day.

And can I just point out the silliness of the term “super side trip”?  Sure, super is a word I use often, but it is not a word used often by adults. And maybe it’s me clinging onto my youth.  I just got called middle age last week and almost had a stroke from the shock.  But then I follow up with using words like “behoove”  a word that has been around since 1200 AD. So maybe I do deserve to be called middle aged.

Or maybe I just need to find age-appropriate words to use while I speak and write.

Selkirk International Loop
View from Langs

The loop, with no super side trips, can easily be done in one long day. We brought our own lunch but there are plenty of fantastic places to eat in Nelson. Or you can hit up a spot near to my heart, Langs on the Belfour side of the ferry landing. The food is typical diner food but they have a great view and a decent ice cream selection. Or you can take an ice cream to go and enjoy as you cruise across the Kootenay Lake. If you miss Langs you can grab yourself a cone on the other side at Kootenay Bay at Cabin Resturant. Which comes in handy to pass the time if you show up too early for the ferry at the Kooteany Bay landing.

Selkirk International Loop
On the Osprey Ferry

On the Kootenay Bay side if you have a lot of time to burn between farries you can take a quick jaunt to the cute little Pilot Bay lighthouse with a short hike from the road.  To get to the lighthouse take Pilot Bay Road, departing from the ferry landing area and following for about 2 miles to the trailhead which will be located on the right.

After crossing the Kootenay River, landing at Kootenay Bay we followed the winding road back to the United State’s border. The road is heavily peppered with local artists ranging from broom makers to painters.

After crossing the border at Porthill we followed along the Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway.  The byway traces the path the Kootenai Indian Tribe used to make their way to the fishing grounds of Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint Idaho.  The highway is lined with mountains on both sides, lush foliage, and deer.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Selkirk International Loop
Kootenai River Brewery

Before Sandpoint is Bonners Ferry, a small town with an adorable historic downtown and the Kootenai River Brewing, located at the edge of town, overlooking the river.  You couldn’t ask for a better view to enjoy your beer. If you are traveling with dogs, their back patio is pet-friendly.

You can wrap up your day in Sandpoint with beers at Laughing Dog (in Ponderay, a few steps away from Sandpoint), Mickduffs Brewing or their bottle shop Idaho Pour Authority.

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3 replies on “Selkirk International Loop: Washington, Canada, and Idaho”

You just didn’t know where to go to drink the right beer! Try Hit the Patio Hazy IPA from Fernie Brewing Co. Lots of hoppy breweries over in Vancouver, too. If you ever need a road trip companion who drinks beer, let me know. 😉

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