Things to do in Harrison Idaho
Harrison is a small, picturesque town nestled right at Coeur d’Alene River’s estuary on the southeast end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Once considered a major landing town for steamers in the late 1800s, Harrison still serves as a port town mainly for the various cruise boats that anchor at the marina and sail clear the waters.
The town has a long and interesting history that echoes that of North Idaho itself. As the gold rush reached its height in the 1880s, Harrison quickly became one of the largest cities in the Kootenai, thanks to its location. And by 1899, it had been incorporated as the Village of Harrison. It’s mainly due to steamboats, the timber boom, and railroads that Harrison saw successive waves of settlement that helped it become the tourist attraction it is today.
With such a rich history, and the fact that it sits right at the mouth of the Coeur d’Alene River, there is so much Harrison has to offer to anyone looking for a great place to vacation in the Pacific Northwest.
Fun Things to Do and See in Harrison, IdahoAre you planning to visit Harrison, Idaho? Here are some of the fun things to do and see.
Explore the Coeur d’Alene River
The Coeur d’Alene River is one of the town’s main attractions. It extends up from Coeur d’Alene Lake and heads east to Kingston, where it splits into the South Fork, which flows east near the Montana border, and the North Fork, stretching almost all the way to Lake Pend Oreille.
Flowing past numerous communities and some of Silver Valley’s most historic mining sites, the Coeur d’Alene River is an excellent recreational river that’s perfect for different pursuits – from paddling to easy whitewater to fishing, especially in upstream stretches. There are plenty of activities you can enjoy on and along the Coeur d’Alene River in Harrison:
The most notable one is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene. The trail, which is a paved path for walking and bicycling, follows the river’s course from Mullan downstream to Coeur d’Alene lake and beyond. In total, the trail is 71 miles long. If you are thinking of hiking the trail, there are over three dozen trails to choose from, ranging from strenuous backpacking to easy one-day hikes.
If you love camping, you’ll be glad to know that there are lots of camping options along the Coeur d’Alene River. However, it’s worth noting that most camping grounds are open from May through September, with a few grounds offering winter camping. The Forest Service does maintain several campgrounds that offer cabin rentals, RV camping, and group camping.
If you fancy yourself to be an expert angler, then the Coeur d’Alene River should provide you with enough game to test your prowess. Fish commonly caught in the river include west slope cutthroat, cutthroat, rainbow, brook trout, bull trout, kokanees salmon, and chinook salmon. If you’d like to try a hand at catching some fish, you’ll be glad to know that there are a few outfitters that offer fly fishing excursions on the river though you might need to plan for a trip in advance.
While Lake Coeur d’Alene hosts various sport fisheries, it’s renowned for its chinook salmon. Nevertheless, anglers still enjoy fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, kokanee salmon, and northern pike. If you are interested in fishing on the lake, you’ll be glad to know that several companies in Harrison offer fishing guides and charter fishing services.
Experience Coeur d’Alene Lake
Coeur d’Alene Lake is Northern Idaho’s second-largest lake. Like other lakes surrounding Rathdrum and the Spokane Valley, Lake Coeur d’Alene was formed by the Missoula Floods, which happened about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. The lake, which is over 26 miles long, is dotted with numerous campgrounds, trails, beaches, recreational facilities, and parks along its 135 miles of shoreline. It’s also worth noting that the lake is primarily fed by two rivers, the St. Joe River and the Coeur d’Alene River. Its outlet, on the other hand, forms the Spokane River, with its level being controlled by discharges from the Avista-operated Post Falls Dam. Some of the activities you can enjoy in and around the lake include:
Harrison, Idaho, is a haven for boaters thanks to its easy-to-access public boat launches. Several companies also offer rental boats and watercraft ranging from ski boats and jet skis to sailboats and pontoon boats. If you prefer enjoying a calming cruise on the lake, then you’ll be glad to know that several cruise companies offer excursions on the lake on various types of vessels, including steamboats.
The region’s main wildlife spectacles occur each winter when migrating bald eagles stop by the lake to feed on spawning salmon. While the numbers vary each year, over 200 bald eagles have been spotted in the area in some prime seasons. Ospreys, ducks, geese, and swans are also abundant around the lake in summer and spring.
Hiking, Camping, and Watersports
There are well over a dozen well-maintained boat ramps, camping grounds, and hiking trails around Lake Coeur d’Alene, with some of them located in Harrison. During summer, visitors get to enjoy all sorts of water activities ranging from fishing, swimming, jet-skiing, etc., with the option to hike and camp along the lake’s beaches and parks.
Bell Bay Campground
There’s a scenic 1-mile hiking trail along a wooded hillside at Bell Bay Campground, located about 6-miles north of the town. The trail, which is about 25 paces east of the parking lot (i.e., to the left of the parking lot), leads up to the Upper Loop Rd. and a viewpoint. There’s also another trail entrance to the west of the campground’s restroom leading down to Lake Coeur d’Alene and a picnic area and dock maintained by the County. There are sixteen campsites in the campground, and each comes equipped with a fire pit and a picnic table. If you prefer tent camping, this is the campground for you as four campsites are meant for tent-only camping. Amenities-wise, there is water on site, a picnic area, and handicap-accessible outhouses. While pets are allowed on the grounds, they must be kept on a leash.
Eateries and Bars in Harrison, Idaho
Though a small town, Harrison has much to offer when it comes to food, drinks, and entertainment. Here are some of the best spots to dine and drink while visiting Harrison, Idaho.
The Cycle Haus Bikes and BrewsHarrison’s renowned Cycle Haus Bikes and Brews is situated near the popular Coeur d’Alene Trail. The company offers bike services – rentals, sales, shuttle, and maintenance – alongside tasty craft beer, Doma coffee, wine, and a variety of mouthwatering dishes. Offering great services and products, the Cycle Haus Bikes and Brews is a venue where you go and enjoy great vibes regardless of whether you are a cyclist or not. Whenever you are in Harrison, the Cycle Haus is one place you need to make sure you visit if you’d like to enjoy the feel of the town’s local culture.
Lakeside Bar and Grill
Get to enjoy the taste of fresh, well-cooked local seafood, including freshly-caught salmon and pizza, and down it with some tasty beer. Fancy some ice cream? Then make sure you try Lakeside Bar and Grill’s ice cream – it’ll leave a lasting impression on you. The great thing about this restaurant is that it also has great musicians who play live music in the evenings. If you are looking for a great spot to relax and unwind with friends after a long day of excursions, then the Lakeside Bar and Grill is the place to go.
One-Shot Charlie’s Bar
Located right on the lake, One-Shot Charlie’s Bar serves pub favorites such as sandwiches, burgers, and pizza alongside a selection of craft beer and wines. During your stay in Harrison, consider dropping by after a day of fun-filled activities and grab a bite as you enjoy beautiful and scenic lakefront views in a low-key, laid-back atmosphere.