Panhandle to Palouse

Length: 113 miles (2 to 2.5 hours)
Overall Rating:
05 - Has Its Moments
Scenery:
07 - Picturesque
Sport:
05 - Gentle corners
Solitude:
05 - Moderate Traffic

This stretch of US 95 isn’t bad by any means: it travels through some pretty country (the Palouse grasslands are particularly beautiful), but it is an arterial highway with significant stretches as a divided highway. That said, it's not a bad route if you don’t mind a few trucks and you’re looking for a straight-forward drive through Idaho's western farmland.

From the north it starts with a climb out of Coeur d’Alene, travelling through forest land eventually to hit vast fields of wheat and other grains. These picturesque fields persist for much of the drive, except for a few sections of higher land that get you back into the forest. Close to Lewiston it becomes a bit more arid and flat, until it reaches a nice overlook of the city and the Clearwater and Snake rivers. From there the main highway drops 2000 feet into the valley below.

There are a few side backroads you can consider exploring to get a more intimate feel of the area: the first is a stretch of old highway 95 around Genessee. Another is the Old Spiral Highway just before Lewiston, which is the original twisty route down to the river. Finally, if you’re interested in bypassing the whole route for a more forested alternative, consider taking Idaho routes 3, 6, 9 and back to 3 instead.


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