Here’s Exactly How To Master a Winter Vacation in North Central Idaho

in North Central Idaho

Set out on an adventure to explore the mountains of North Central Idaho. Carve through waves of fresh powder at Bald Mountain Ski Area, snowmobile through Lolo Pass and cozy up by the fire in Moscow and enjoy some of the region’s most delicious comfort food in this 48-hour itinerary.

What to Do

Day 1

Ski and Snowboard at Bald Mountain Ski Area

You can find this secluded hill located off the Gold Rush Historic Byway. "The Best Little Ski Hill in Idaho" offers 140 acres of terrain, ranging from beginner to expert. The hill offers one rope tow and one t-bar with free bus transportation from Orofino. Ski and snowboard rentals are also available for all ages. Lines are short, and with 100 inches of annual snowfall, you’ll spend less time on the lifts and more time enjoying the snow-soaked terrain with the kiddos!

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Day 2

Snowmobile Through Lolo Pass

Cruise through the powdery waves of Lolo Pass and experience North Central Idaho’s snow-covered landscape on a high-powered sled. Take your kids deep into beautiful backcountry to discover hidden yurts, rivers, and wildlife.

The Lolo Pass trail system is near the Idaho-Montana border and includes snowmobile trails in both the Lolo and Clearwater National Forests. Prior to your trip, you’ll want to get Winter Recreation Passes, which can be found at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. After the center closes, only day passes will be available for purchase at the front door of the visitor center. Winter Recreation Passes are required for all vehicles parked at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center during the winter season. Signs are posted when passes are required.

There are a wide variety of outfitters ready to guide you and your family through North Central Idaho. Check out the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association or the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board to find the right outfitter for your trip.

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Soul Food Fuel in Moscow

If you’re looking for an Idaho town full of family-friendly options, consider Moscow. There’s a reason why Idahoans frequent this city on the regular - the food is out of this world, the scenery is spectacular, and everything is within walking distance.

Start your morning off with a trip to Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub for one of their legendary cinnamon rolls. The crew here gets started early in the morning, baking made-from-scratch muffins, mouth-watering cinnamon rolls, scones, and coffee cake. If you plan on stopping here during the afternoon, sample one of their homemade desserts. Rich six-layer Guinness Chocolate Cake, Crumb Top Apple Pie, New York Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, and signature chocolate truffles and macaroons are just a few of the options.

Another Moscow favorite is The Breakfast Club on Main Street, which has been a local breakfast staple for more than a decade. Skiing, snowmobiling or snowboarding, The Breakfast Club is the perfect stop for fueling all your family adventures.

Additional North Central Idaho Adventures

If you’re looking to stay in North Central Idaho for a few more days, check out this list of other great winter activities:

Option 1: Ski, Snowboard & Tube at Cottonwood Butte Ski Area

Cottonwood Butte Ski Area is a four-run, powder-filled utopia, served by a 3,000-foot long t-bar that transports skiers and snowboarders to several runs with multiple variations of difficulty. The bunny slope has a soft 30-foot vertical drop for beginners and kids, while the 845-foot vertical drop challenges even the most experienced riders. Ski and snowboard rentals are available, and lessons are offered for those with less experience.

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Option 2: Snowmobile Near Elk City

Snowmobile through mountains of powder near Elk City. This family-friendly winter paradise includes over 350 miles of groomed trails, just be mindful that this is isolated country. Contact the Red River Ranger District for questions and details on this area. You can also find a guide that is right for your specific trip needs by visiting Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association or the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board.

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How to Get Here

By Air

There are three major airports serving North Central Idaho. Fly into Lewiston through the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (LWS) via Delta Connection carrier SkyWest, Horizon Air, touch down in Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) via Horizon Air or fly into the Spokane International Airport (GEG), which is serviced by Alaska, Frontier, Southwest, United, Delta and other major carriers.

By Car

Travel by car or motor home to North Central Idaho and journey through breathtaking wilderness on the Elk River Backcountry Byway, Gold Rush Historic Byway, or the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. Coming from the north, you will pass through Coeur d’Alene or Spokane, Washington. Those journeying from the south will cruise through Boise and alongside the ice-covered whitewater of the Payette and Salmon Rivers.

What to Pack

  • Bring lots of layers!
  • Comfy Footwear (and extra socks).
  • Eyewear (sunglasses or goggles).
  • Camera to capture family fun.
  • Binoculars to spy on Idaho wildlife.
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.
  • Safety gear if you don’t plan on renting.
  • Lots of snacks for the kiddos!
  • A small first-aid kit catered to your personal needs.
  • Winter Recreation Pass if you plan on exploring the Lolo Pass area.
  • Download the 511 app or call 5-1-1 while traveling for the latest information on Idaho winter road conditions.

Where to Stay

Looking for a place to stay in North Central Idaho? Whether you prefer boutique lodging, hotels, or upscale suites, our guide for places to stay will help you find the perfect place to rest your head.

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