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Pend Oreille River Trail

PaddelPDO_River_007a_t470Welcome to the Pend Oreille River Water Trail

Introduction to Water Trails
Water trails offer small boat recreationalists and paddlers the opportunity to travel a designated route along a river by providing access areas, environmental and historical points of interests, relaxing picnic stops, and overnight campsites. They educate on the environment, history, and culture of the area and promote resource stewardship. Water trails provide paddlers with relaxing outdoor recreation, fresh-air fitness, and family activities.

About the Pend Oreille River Water Trail
This guide focuses on the 70 miles of river flowing through Pend Oreille County, Washington. The Pend Oreille River is 130 miles long originating from Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho Panhandle flowing northwesterly until it joins the Columbia River in southeastern British Columbia, Canada.

The Pend Oreille River Valley in northeastern Washington is home to abundant wildlife and offers natural, historical, cultural, and scenic points of interest including the Kalispel Indian Reservation, home to the Kalispel Tribe the original paddlers of the Pend Oreille. In the early 1800s French-Canadian fur trappers were among the first non-indigenous people to visit the Pend Oreille River Valley. Settlers mined gold, lead, and zinc in the mid to late 1800s with logging emerging as the areas major industry. Steamboats and the railroad played important historical roles in the economic development of the Pend Oreille River Valley.

Access Points and Amenities
See the maps that include all access points and amenities along the water trail.

Paddling Safety

  • Wear a properly fitting life jacket
  • If you haven’t done so, take a boating course and a paddling course
  • Check the weather before you leave
  • Dress for the weather. Layers are best
  • Avoid boating alone because there is more safety in numbers
  • Leave a float plan. Tell someone where you’re going, when youll return, and who’s with you. When you return, remember to let that person know
  • Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Carry an extra paddle and a whistle to alert passersby in the event of an emergency
  • Carry extra clothing in a waterproof bag so that it stays dry
  • Keep your weight low in the boat. If you change positions, keep one hand on the boat
  • If you capsize, stay with the boat and hold onto it if it is safe to do so. If you are in a current, move yourself to the upstream side of the boat
  • Keep hydrated by drinking non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages
  • Stay near the riverbank
  • Make yourself visible and watch for other boats as they may not see you
  • Stop only in designated areas
  • Portage your boat around areas that you do not feel safe
  • Keep all of your lines secure and never tie a rope to yourself or anyone else
  • Do not become complacent about the river

Homeland Security

  • Observe and avoid restricted areas near dams and power plants
  • Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges or in the channel
  • Watch for anything that looks suspect or out of the ordinary. Report all activities that seem suspicious to the Sheriff 509 447-3151

Washington & Idaho Boating Regulations

  • For more information on Washington’s boating education, licensing requirements, and safety, visit Adventures in Boating Washington, or contact the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission at (360) 902-8844.
  • For more information on Idahos boating education, licensing requirements, and safety, please visit Adventures in Boating Idaho, or contact the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation at (208) 334-4199.

PORTAFor more information go to the PORTA website. There you can download the map for the Water Trail and other great information.

WSU Extension programs are offered without regard to race; sex; religion; age; color; creed; national or ethnic origin; physical, mental or sensory disability; marital status; sexual orientation; and/or status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Persons with a disability requiring special accommodations while participating in this program may call 1-509-447-2401 at least 14 days before the program.