Things to Do in Colville WA
Thanks to the dramatic landscape of the American West, Colville offers its visitors a year-round buffet of activities and adventures.
Spring, Summer & Fall
Golfers rarely pass on the opportunity to take advantage of our blue skies, mild temperatures, reasonable prices and two outstanding golf courses. At Dominion Meadows Golf Course, located at the eastern city limits of Colville, golfers will play 18 holes with friendly rolling terrain, well conditioned fairways and smooth putting surfaces. The golf course is located on a plateau with several lakes and mountain vistas in all directions. Deer, pheasants and quail are frequent visitors also. The Chewelah Golf & Country Club boasts the only 27-hole course in the Inland Northwest. It is a beautiful setting where each hole is tree lined, and golfers must circumvent around five lakes and 50 white silica bunkers. Both courses welcome visitors; are a wedge away from their respective airports and offer excellent instruction, rental clubs, cart services and RV parking.
Colville is also an outdoor recreation destination with a National Recreation Area, a National Wildlife Refuge and a National Forest just outside the city limits. State lands, campgrounds, lakes and rivers beckon both locals and visitors. Every year people come to enjoy backpacking, bird watching, boating, canoeing, fishing, camping, hunting, kayaking, mountain biking, nature walks, snorkeling, star gazing, swimming, tubing, wildlife viewing, wildlife photography and windsurfing.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area: This unit of the National Park Service was created in 1941 when the Bureau of Reclamation built the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. At 150 miles long, it is one of the largest lakes in the area, making it ideal for motor boating, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, sailing, swimming and fishing. A walleye fishing tournament is held in June. Washington state licenses are required when hunting and fishing at Lake Roosevelt. Spokane and Colville Confederated Tribal Lands border some of the lake and have their own regulations. There are 22 public boat launches on the lake as well as 28 year-round campgrounds, some only accessible by boat.
At the Kettle Falls Marina, houseboats are available to rent. Lake Roosevelt also offers Ranger led programs at Spring Canyon, Historic Fort Spokane and Kettle Falls. Check the visitor centers located at these areas or visit www.nps.gov/laro/ for more information. For the latest lake elevation, call the Bureau of Reclamation at (800) 824-4916. For reservations, visit www.recreation.gov or phone (877) 444-6777.
Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge: One of the largest refuges in Washington, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge (LPO), is the only mountainous, mixed-conifer forest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System (outside of Alaska). Its 41,573 acres of forests, lakes, streams, old fields and wetlands provide secure homes for fish and wildlife and a place for people to enjoy nature.
Bird watching, hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing are some of the outdoor pursuits enjoyed by LPO visitors. More than 250 species of birds visit the Refuge, so bring your binoculars and see how many you can spot. Every year school children come to the Refuge for field trips to learn about the natural history of their area. The recently constructed Mill Butte Trail leaves from the headquarters parking lot and climbs to a 360 degree viewpoint. The McDowell Marsh Environmental Educational Trail starts at River Campground and arrives at McDowell Lake over a boardwalk that is handicapped accessible. For information about the Refuge, go to www.fws.gov/littlependoreille. For information about the Friends of the LPO, go to www.refugefriends.com.
Colville National Forest: Hunters claim this 1.1 million acre forest features the best hunting in the state. Officials say that roughly 60,000 of the state’s estimated 90,000 white-tailed deer live in the territory. Elk and moose are also seen along with bighorn sheep in the Sullivan Lake District. Families gather here to enjoy the 486 miles of hiking trails. Horseback riding is one of the most popular warm weather activities, especially along Sherman Pass. That’s because winding trails and spectacular scenery provide a beautiful backdrop. Forest officials have designated many paths like the Kettle Crest Trail specifically for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. A British Columbia mountain biking club known as the Six Packs ranks the Kettle Crest Trail as the best in the world. According to their expertise, the mountain experience more than pays back the energy the biker invests in the challenging trip. Go to www.fs.fed.us/r6/colville for more trail information.
Of course, the Forest Service does provide a series of loop trails specifically for motorized vehicle enthusiasts. Bicyclists and other off-road adventurers can explore more than 60 miles of riding along such trails as Tacoma Peak and Granite Peak that include the beauty of vista overlooks and lakes with the challenge of hairpin turns.
For those who want to enjoy nature afoot, Colville’s abundant trails provide glimpses of osprey nests, sharp shinned and red tail hawks, grouse, black bear and eagles, all surrounded by nature’s soothing green and uplifting patches of colorful wildflowers. Distances and inclines vary (some hikes are as short as 1.5 miles or as long as 67.5 miles) to appeal to the energy level of everyone in your group.
Washington Department of Natural Resources: Douglas Falls Grange Park and Starvation Lake are just a couple of the beautiful areas with campgrounds and fishing that are close to Colville. State lands have many hiking trails and ATV trails such as the Radar Dome Trail.
Fishermen have catalogued 34 varieties of fish in our lakes, river and streams, including rainbow trout, salmon, bass, walleye and sturgeon. Stop by the Colville Chamber of Commerce for outdoor recreation maps, or stop by any of the state or national land management offices for information and directions.
Winter sports are a big part of life in Colville. With snow usually falling in November and not melting until March, everyone gets outdoors to enjoy favorite cold season activities. Snowmobile enthusiasts have numerous snow parks in the area with miles of designated trails to ride. Cross-country skiers will find numerous groomed trails to take along the ridges and around the lakes. In town, the Dominion Meadows three-mile trail at the golf course is handy for a quick ski during lunch. Downhill skiers have two choices—just north of the border at Red Mountain Ski Area in Rossland, British Columbia, and east of Chewelah at 49 Degrees North Ski Area. Both areas are family friendly and full service resorts.
49 Degrees North Mountain Resort: Consistently voted the region’s best family resort, 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort (just “49” to the regulars) truly offers adventures for everyone—wide-open groomed runs, moguls, desert-dry powder and hundreds of acres of legendary tree skiing. The summit of Chewelah peak offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and ranges and nearly 1,900 vertical feet to the base area and lodge facilities. Located on 1,265 acres within the beautiful Colville National Forest, “49” is a genuine winter wonderland.
Whether you want to skip the waves at top speed, paddle leisurely or merrily float along, Colville offers water recreational areas to suit your needs.
Deep Lake: One of this area’s premier lakes, Deep Lake is located in northern Stevens County. Take Deep Lake Road east from Northport approximately 15 miles. The lake is popular for rainbow trout and cutthroat. A private resort is located on the lake, as well as a public boat launching facility.
Ione: Explore Z-Canyon and Box Canyon Dam with jet boat rides on the Pend Oreille River. Just north is the scenic Boundary Dam with kayaking available.
Jump Off Joe Lake: Scenic spring-fed lake popular for trout fishing, located 35 miles south of Colville. Camping (RV and tent), boat launching, hiking, biking and boat rental.
Lake Roosevelt: Formed by Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, the reservoir stretches 151 miles to within 20 miles of the British Columbia border. The lake contains what is likely the widest variety of freshwater fish found in a single lake in the state. Species include cutthroat, kokanee, rainbow, eastern brook, Dolly Varden, lake whitefish, Rocky Mountain whitefish, lingcod, Kamloops, sturgeon, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, sunfish, walleyes and more. There are 660 miles of lakeshore and more than 30 recreational areas in Lake Roosevelt Recreational Area, which is administered by the National Park Service.
Loon Lake: A 1,120-acre lake surrounded by a variety of foliage, cedars, pines and firs. Great for fishing rainbow trout, mackinaw, kokanee, large and smallmouth bass, brown bullheads and bluegill. There is a public boat launch.
Pierre Lake: This 106-acre beauty has a good population of crappie, sunfish, largemouth bass and catfish. Located east of Highway 395 at Barstow. Cross the Kettle River and drive nine miles north to the lake. A Forest Service campground is on-site.
Rocky Lake: Located only six miles southeast of Colville, this small lake is a popular early season water, stocked with rainbow trout. A Department of Natural Resource campground is located on the lake.
Sullivan Lake: Enjoy wildlife, camping, hiking, fishing or biking. A 20-trail hiking system leads into the Colville National Forest. The Lakeshore National Recreation Trail follows the eastern shoreline.
Waitts Lake: Located just west of Valley, Waitts Lake covers 455 acres. Popular for rainbows, browns, perch and largemouth bass. Two resorts are located on the lake.
Nature & Recreation Areas
National Bicycle Route: This scenic cross-country route roughly follows the northern border of the “Lower 48” of the U.S. Starting in Anacortes, Washington, the route travels 4,295 miles to Bar Harbor, Maine. Within the state of Washington, the route follows State Highway 20. Riders pedal 354 miles east of Anacortes, reaching downtown Colville, a resting point between mountain passes.
Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area: 30,100 acres of wilderness in the northeastern corner of the Colville National Forest. It includes old-growth cedar and hemlock forest and treeless, alpine ridges. It’s home to grizzly bears and caribou and provides excellent hiking opportunities.
International Selkirk Loop: Colville resides on a “Super Loop” of the International Selkirk Loop, a 280-mile drive tour through Washington, British Columbia and northern Idaho. Along the way are glaciers, lakes, wildlife preserves and skiing.
Crystal Falls State Park: Fifteen miles east of Colville, a 156-acre undeveloped park with hiking trails on the Little Pend Oreille River.
Gardner Cave: An easy hike into the 1,055-foot cavern. Join a Crawford State Park Ranger for a fascinating tour with a touch of geological humor.
Colville National Forests: More than 1 million acres of wilderness hiking and camping.
Sherman Pass: The highest pass in the state (5,575 feet) with hiking trails. A short drive from the main road at the summit takes you to many trails. Go west of Colville on Highway 20.
Stonerose Fossil Site: A place where impressions of plants, insects and fish that lived millions of years ago can be found in shale.
Discover Northeast Washington
Northeast Washington offers a year-round paradise, a location to relax and enjoy life. Start by making Colville a home base for an adventure with fascinating day trips that include a variety of scenery and other wonders in the region. View mountains and forests, rich grazing land, valleys and rivers.
In Colville you will find the Dominion Meadows 18-hole golf course, the Keller Heritage Center and shopping from antique dealers to everyday needs, everything you would expect in a regional shopping center.
When you are ready to escape to the outback country, the emerald stands of the Colville National Forest encompass 1.1 million acres of scenic beauty. Fir covered peaks, some more than 7,000 feet high, roll north into Canada, with countless trails beckoning a closer look at the Kettle River and Selkirk mountain ranges.
Begin your first day trip by driving out Highway 20 west to the Kettle River Loop. Sherman Pass Scenic Highway boasts the highest pass in the state and displays some of the most spectacular mountain views anywhere in the world.
Stop at Republic at the Stonerose Fossil Museum. Proceed north on Highway 21 through old mining towns to Curlew, where there is an antique auto museum. Continue north through Danville and into Canada to visit Grand Forks.
The last leg of your 150-mile day trip is east on Highway 3 and south on U.S. 395. Continue east to the Kettle River and south on U.S. 395. In Kettle Falls, explore the history and culture of ancient civilizations at the Interpretive Center and St. Paul’s Mission.
The second day, drive east from Colville on Highway 20 via the International Selkirk Super Loop to the Pend Oreille Chain of Lakes with camping, boating, hiking and mountain biking opportunities.
The more adventurous explorers may bring a trail bike to the ORV area. Driving east on Highway 20 to Tiger and just a bit north on Highway 31 brings you to the Sullivan Lake turn-off. Drive up to the lake and the old Mill Site to view beautiful scenery. To return to Colville, drive south on Highway 31 and stop at Gardner Caves and Box Canyon Dam.
Winter sports include snowmobiling, downhill and cross-country skiing. 49 Degrees North Ski Slopes are 45 minutes south of Colville. No matter what time of the year, there is much to see and do in a relaxed atmosphere. Stop by the Chamber of Commerce for maps and directions of these tours and more.