Three destinations within three hours of Moscow
When it comes to traveling, there is something I like to call “the three hour rule.” If a destination is within three hours, it is usually feasible to visit for a weekend. Three hours takes a traveler far enough away to allow then to access new places and experiences. Anything more than three hours and it becomes a full blown road trip.
Moscow is perfectly located for the three hour rule. I’m still exploring the possibilities, but here are three destinations worth visiting within about three- hours of town.
Scotchman’s Peak is located near Clark Fork, on Lake Pend Oriel in Northern Idaho. After a mellow drive across the lake, through Sandpoint and finally along some winding forest service roads there is a dead end at a gravel parking lot.
From this lot the well-marked trail winds up the mountain with 3,700 feet of elevation gain in a little over four miles. As it reaches the peak, the dense woods open into meadows with views of the lake and barren boulder fields near the summit. At the top, visitors are treated to incredible views of the lake and wilderness stretching north.
In the late summer and fall, huckleberries grow on the lower slopes and in the meadows at the base. With the berries come bears, and it is recommended to come prepared with bear spray. At the peak, a herd of mountain goats reside. They will eat anything salty and are known to nibble on sweaty shirts or socks left to dry on the rocks. It is also important not to feed the goats, as a man was gored in the area last year. Hiking Scotchman’s will take up a solid day hike or you can camp at the peak. Unfortunately there is no water at the peak though, so travelers must pack their own.
Southwest of Moscow, Ice Lake is located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon’s Wallowa. After a winding drive visitors arrive at the Wallowa Lake trailhead. From there, it is about an eight mile hike to the lake. With a substantial elevation gain, this one is not for the faint of heart.
Along with great views of the mountains, there is also a log bridge and interesting rock formations along the way. The lake is surprisingly large and has great trout fishing as well as cold and refreshing water. From there you can summit several other peaks overlooking the lake. Ice Lake is also perfect for camping trips.
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs offers something different than the other destinations. There is no long arduous hike with a huge elevation gain. Instead, travelers would take a drive down through Lewiston toward Missoula. From the parking lot, it is a little over a mile hike in on a soggy trail though cedars and ferns.
The hot springs are easy to spot, as their steam rises through the trees. There are several pools of varying sizes and temperatures spread throughout the area.
It’s not often one gets to relax in a natural jacuzzi, and after a quick dip in the nearby icy river, the springs offer a perfect escape.
Moscow is surrounded with destinations. Get out and drive for a few hours to know the area better.
Cy Whitling can be reached at email@example.com