Swim Guide – Lake Pend Oreille
Swimming Locations & Water Quality Status
Swim Guide from Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper
Testing for safe swimming conditions near popular recreational areas
This swim guide shows a few of the popular swimming locations around Lake Pend Oreille. By clicking a location on our interactive map, you can see a description of the site and a link to the closest Water Quality Monitoring station. Our Water Quality Monitoring Program tests for 11 different physical, chemical, and biological parameters in 13 different locations around Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River every month during the summer.
We have matched some of our favorite swimming holes around the lake with a nearby testing location so that you can see the water quality in that area! All listed sites have no known water quality issues. However, we only collect data 5 times a year per site and there may be current water quality issues that we are not aware of. Make sure check with the proper authorities about current conditions at recreational areas before you go!
Swim Guide Locations
One of the most popular swimming spots on Lake Pend Oreille! Only a couple of blocks from downtown Sandpoint, City Beach is easily accessible and is historically important to both Native American Tribes and the local community. At the park there are two marinas, a snack shack, sport courts, 6 acres of white sand beaches, a mini State of Liberty, and plenty of other facilities. City Beach is surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains and clear blue water, making it one of the best beaches in Idaho!
Sam Owen Campground & Recreation Site
Voted in the top 100 of 1,700 campgrounds nationwide, Sam Owen is a popular campground and recreation area near Hope where a fee is required. There is a nearby restaurant and lounge at the Beyond Hope Campground and Resort with boat slips and boat facilities, an easy, mile-long trail, interpretative center, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and a large picnic area.
Riley Creek Recreation Area is located on the banks of the Pend Oreille River and has a large campground with plenty of facilities nearby. There is a roped off area to go swimming in the water and lots of other activities around the recreation area!
Despite its misleading name, Mudhole is well maintained and one of the most popular swimming spots near Lake Pend Oreille! Located between Priest River and the Pend Oreille River, it’s surrounded by old growth and a beautiful place to spend a summer day.
This quiet cove is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is a popular beach combing area. Surrounding mature forests make it an idyllic summer swimming hole!
This popular swimming spot along the Pack River is a great place to cool off in the summer! There is limited parking and no facilities, so please park carefully and leave it better than you found it. If you have a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, it’s also a great float downstream to the Pack River Store with beaches along the way.
A well protected bay surrounded by beautiful mountains and maintained year round. This is a great place to spend the day or go camping! There are multiple other swimming spots in the area.
Located in Farragut State Park, Beaver Bay is considered one of the nicest swimming spots in the lake! There are multiple nearby swimming areas in the south tip of the lake near Bayview.
Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, this spot is one of the most beautiful places along Lake Pend Oreille’s shore. Crystal clear water and nearby hiking trails make it a great spot to experience all that Lake Pend Oreille has to offer!
Located east of Salge along the west side of the lake, Talache Landing has about 200 feet of beach access for swimmers and paddlers. The property around the beach is private and there are no restrooms available, so please be respectful of the area and leave it better than you found it.
This day-use area managed by Idaho Fish & Game features a half mile of lakeshore facing towards the south end of the lake with great views of the Monarch Mountains. This rocky beach is great for relaxing on a sunny day or enjoying the sunset!
Trestle Creek Park
A quiet and less busy park on the east side of the lake managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This out of the way park has a small roped-off swimming area, boat ramp, a large grassy area, and a vault toilet.
Dog Beach Park is a pet-friendly sandy spot off Serenity Lee Trail where dogs may run free and swim in Lake Pend Oreille. Parking is free at the trailhead and it’s about a half mile walk to the beach. Don’t forget to clean up any mess your pooch leaves behind and to make sure your dog is under control while running off-leash.
What’s in the water?
What we test for & how it influences recreational water quality
Two of the major indicators for the safety of water quality in recreational sites are E. Coli and total chloriform bacteria. These measurements are very important to our high-use public access areas, such as Sandpoint’s City Beach.
LPOW generally finds very low concentrations of these indicator bacteria in our lake and river, which is great news for everyone who enjoys our swimming and recreation areas!
Since 2012, LPOW has partnered with the City of Sandpoint to establish and implement a new management program for aquatic invasive weeds without the use of herbicides. Thanks to this effort, Sandpoint beaches have remained herbicide-free and are safe to swim in!
Follow these tips to protect yourself in the water
1. Avoid entering the river with open cuts or wounds. Take caution to prevent infections and rinse off after swimming.
2. Beware of steep drop offs and fast currents. There can be dangerous drop offs near swimming locations and dangerous currents in the lake. Children should always be watched carefully.
3. Avoid industrial areas and discharge pipes. We test 15 different locations, but Lake Pend Oreille is the biggest lake in Idaho and you must use your own discretion to identify whether or not a swimming are is safe.
Report pollution if you see hazards in the water! Contact us so that we can continue to protect the safety of Lake Pend Oreille. Or contact the proper authorities who manage the recreational area for current information. We only test our stations once a month and collect no real-time data, so our data may not represent the current water quality status in the lake. In addition, we do not test directly at the sites listed above so there is a possibility of water quality hazards between our testing sites and recreational areas.
Support this Program!
Support healthy, chemical-free recreational areas and help us continue our Water Quality Monitoring Program. Your donation helps cover the costs of collecting & analyzing water samples.
Become a Citizen Scientist!
Become a trained citizen scientist. Collecting water samples is a great way to enjoy time on the water & get involved in active stewardship of our local waterways!