view of chatcolet lake heyburn state park idaho
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5 Reasons to Visit Heyburn State Park, Idaho With Your Kids in 2024!

Heyburn State Park is an incredible park located in Plummer, Idaho on the Southernmost end of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Just an hour away from Spokane, this is the perfect spot for your next outdoor adventure. Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest! The creation of Heyburn State Park paved the way for many state parks that came after it. In addition to the natural beauty you’ll find here in the Idaho panhandle, Heyburn State Park has activities for everyone. Enjoy three beautiful lakes, biking, horseback, and hiking trails, bird watching, dog-friendly camping, and more. Visiting Heyburn State Park with your kids is the perfect family adventure!

view of chatcolet lake heyburn state park idaho

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1. Come see the incredible views at Heyburn State Park

One of the most enticing parts about Heyburn State Park is the stunning views everywhere you look! Whether you are looking over the St. Joe River, wandering through the Ponderosa Pines (some over 400 years old), or relaxing near one of the lakes in the park, you will be amazed by the beauty around you. Bring your kayak or paddleboard and swimsuit to Hidden Lake, Benewah Lake, or Chatcolet Lake and enjoy your day in the sun. End the day by watching the sunset at the lake from the shore or the Chatcolet Bridge after a walk or bike ride.

Book a reservation here!

2. Ride or Run on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a 72-mile beautifully paved asphalt trail that is perfect for biking, walking, or skating. The Trail was originally built as a railroad bed to support the rapidly growing timber and mining industry. The fill rock used for the railroad bed was contaminated with heavy metals and made one of the largest superfund sites in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with local efforts paved over the railroad bed. The asphalt trail now caps away the toxins and has helped the wildlife in the area to thrive.

Whether you are planning to ride the entire 72-mile trail or just take a nice evening ride over the Chatcolet Bridge, you will love this experience! Alternatively, if you would rather hike, Heyburn State Park offers many trails as well like the historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Trail, Indian Cliffs Trail, and more.

We use this baby bike seat for the back of our bikes and it works great! Owen also has this balance bike which he loves.

Hiking Trails at Heyburn State Park:
  • Lakeshore Loop Trail – 1.3 miles (Easy to Moderate)
  • Plummer Creek Trail – 0.5 miles (Easy)
  • Plummer Creek Fire Trail – 1.6 miles (Easy)
  • CCC Nature Trail – 1.0 mile (Easy)
  • Indian Cliffs Trail – 2.6 miles (Moderate to Difficult)
  • Mullan Trail – 1.5 miles (Difficult)
  • Appaloosa Trail – 2.8 miles (Moderate to Difficult)
  • Whitetail Loop – 8.0 miles (Moderate)
  • Shoeffler Butte Loop – 1.4 miles (Moderate to Difficult)

3. Bring Your Dogs to Heyburn State Park!

Unlike many of the US National Parks, most state parks are very pet friendly and Heyburn State Park is no exception. This park is a great place to bring your dogs to swim, walk, camp, or just relax. Undeniably they will love exploring all of the new smells and sights and seeing the other dogs around the park. However, keep in mind you must leash your pets or you could receive a fine. Whether you are visiting Heyburn State Park with your kids or your dogs, you will have a blast!

4. Catch a Glimpse of the Wildlife in Heyburn State Park

Idaho’s Heyburn State Park is a wildlife oasis! Bird watching is a popular activity here with Bald Eagles, Osprey, Blue Herons, Woodpeckers, Tundra Swans, and more. Additionally, a Great Blue Heron rookery (a group of nests) with up to 50 pairs of breeding herons can be found at Heyburn State Park. Listen for all of the musical bird sounds in the mornings and evenings and don’t forget to bring your binoculars! Lastly, be on the lookout for beavers, deer, moose, squirrels, snakes, and more. Make sure to enjoy the wildlife from a healthy distance.

deer jumping across the trail of the coeur d'alenes idaho

5. Visit the Oldest Park in the Pacific Northwest

Heyburn State Park was created in 1908 by an act of Congress from the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation making it the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest. Senator Weldon Heyburn pushed to create the first national park in Idaho called Chatcolet National Park, but had to settle for a state park. Heyburn State Park was created from the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation and now includes 5,744 acres of land and 2,333 acres of water.

You may be wondering about the lakes in the park, Hidden Lake, Chatcolet Lake, and Benewah Lake. Interestingly, all three used to be separate lakes! However, the dam created on the Spokane River in 1906 in Post Falls raised the level of Coeur d’Alene Lake which connected it to the other three lakes. If you look at a current map, all three lakes are connected despite having different names.

Enjoy your next summer adventure in the Idaho Panhandle at Heyburn State Park with your kids! Pack up your bikes and your binoculars and head to Plummer, Idaho to experience the beauty that North Idaho has to offer.

Looking for some other adventures nearby? Check out some of our other posts!

Happy travels!

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