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Fall Frolics In Sandpoint


A glimpse into the Panhandle’s sweater weather activities By Damen Rodriguez|Photo by Owen Aird


As the crisp autumn breeze sweeps through the lush landscapes of Sandpoint, it brings with it a cornucopia of fall festivities that beckon locals and visitors alike to savor the splendors of the season. Nestled against the picturesque backdrop of Lake Pend Oreille and surrounded by the majestic Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains, Sandpoint transforms into a tapestry of fiery foliage, pumpkin patches and charming harvest celebrations every fall. With its unique blend of outdoor adventures, culinary delights and cultural events, this charming lakeside town has something for everyone. Join us on a journey through the heart of fall in Sandpoint, where we'll explore the delights that await in this enchanting corner of Idaho.

Celebrate fall with the Downtown Sandpoint Shopping District and their Apple Fest; the fun taking place 10am to 6pm Saturday, October 14. That same day, from 9am to 1pm, make plans to visit Sandpoint Farmers Market's annual Harvest Fest at Farmin Park. Head over to Oktober in the Park in Ponderay at Hotel Ruby's outdoor Pavilion, where the community can enjoy drinks, movies, raffles, pumpkin decorating and more from 4 to 7pm on October 28.

Beyond the well-known attractions, Sandpoint hides a few gems that are worth discovering during the fall season, such as horseback riding at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Experience the crisp fall air on horseback as you explore the scenic beauty of the Selkirk Mountains. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch offers guided trail rides that take you through stunning forests and meadows ablaze with autumn colors.

The transition from summer to fall in Sandpoint is nothing short of enchanting. As September unfolds, the landscape undergoes a remarkable transformation. The once lush greenery begins to don its autumn attire, with leaves turning fiery shades of red, orange and gold. It's a natural spectacle that beckons photographers and nature enthusiasts to capture the fleeting beauty of this season. The town's charming streets come alive with fall-themed decorations, from pumpkins and scarecrows adorning storefronts to lampposts draped in warm, welcoming hues. It's as if Sandpoint itself is preparing to welcome visitors to a magical autumn wonderland.

Fall is synonymous with hearty and flavorful beverages, and Sandpoint's craft breweries and distilleries are eager to satisfy your autumnal cravings. After a day of exploring the great outdoors, why not unwind with a locally brewed seasonal ale at one of the local breweries or a warming whiskey cocktail at 219 Lounge? And no fall outing in Sandpoint would be complete without a visit to the award-winning Pend d'Oreille Winery. Sip a glass of their velvety Cabernet Sauvignon as you watch the sun dip below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the autumn landscape.

To truly appreciate the fall foliage in all its glory, embark on a scenic drive through the surrounding mountains and forests. Sandpoint offers a multitude of routes that promise breathtaking views and opportunities for leaf peeping. One such drive is the Cabinet Mountain Scenic Byway, which takes you through dense forests of cedar and hemlock, with ample turnouts for enjoying the fall colors. Keep an eye out for wildlife, as deer and moose are frequently spotted along the way. Another option is the Clark Fork Scenic Byway, where you'll follow the path of the Clark Fork River and witness the changing leaves reflected in its tranquil waters. This route is particularly enchanting during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset.

For those who seek a more active way to embrace the season, Sandpoint's hiking trails provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. The crisp, cool air and the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet create a sensory experience like no other. Mineral Point Trail offers a moderate hike that rewards you with stunning views of Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding mountains. The trail takes you through a forested landscape that comes alive with color in the fall. If you're up for a more challenging adventure, consider tackling the Scotchman Peaks Trail, which leads to the highest peaks in the Selkirk Mountains. While the trail can be demanding, the payoff is extraordinary, with panoramic vistas of the region's fall splendor.

Water enthusiasts can savor the last remnants of warm weather by renting a kayak or paddleboard from one of the local outfitters. Lake Pend Oreille is the perfect place to explore the changing seasons from a unique perspective, gliding across the calm waters while surrounded by the vibrant hues of autumn.

Sandpoint's vibrant arts scene continues to thrive in the fall, with local galleries and cultural venues hosting a variety of events and exhibitions. It's a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative spirit of the community. Art Works Gallery, located in downtown Sandpoint, showcases a diverse collection of art, including paintings, sculptures and jewelry. You can spend hours exploring the works of talented local artists, each piece reflecting the beauty and inspiration found in the Idaho landscape. The historic Panida Theater, found in the heart of Sandpoint, often hosts live performances, concerts and film screenings. Check their schedule for special fall events that will immerse you in the cultural richness of the town.

As the temperatures dip in the evening, there's nothing quite like the warmth of a crackling fireplace to complete your fall experience. Many area accommodations, from charming bed-and-breakfasts to lakeside retreats, offer inviting hearths where you can unwind and reflect on your day's adventures. Imagine sipping a glass of local wine or enjoying a hot cocoa by the fire as the cool breeze rustles the curtains and the stars twinkle overhead. It's a quintessential fall evening in Sandpoint, where comfort and tranquility meet in perfect harmony.

From the vibrant festivities of the Harvest Fest at the Farmers Market and Apple Fest, to the breathtaking beauty of the fall foliage on scenic drives and hiking trails, every moment spent here is a celebration of the season. Indulge in farm-to-table cuisine, savor local brews and spirits, and immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of this charming lakeside town.

As Sandpoint dons its autumn attire and the landscape transforms into a palette of warm hues, you'll find yourself captivated by the magic of fall in this enchanting corner of Idaho. Prepare to be enchanted by the beauty, flavors and experiences that await you this fall, right here in Sandpoint. The season's embrace is here, and it's time to savor every moment of it.


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