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International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 161 miles / 259.1 km
  • Ride Time: 4-6 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $12.24
  • States Visited: Idaho, Washington
Submitted by:
OpenRoadRider pro

See the portion of this route in Canada. International Selkirk Loop (Canada Portion)Picture yourself in a place of forested hillsides, sparkling waterfalls, and charming small towns. Snowcapped-craggy peaks glint in the morning sun as you follow a path that encircles the breathtaking Selkirk Mountains. There's no need to imagine it; you can experience it for yourself on the International Selkirk Loop! Curving through some of the prettiest scenery in northeast Washington, north Idaho and southeast British Columbia, the loop connects Americans and Canadians in a historic relationship of living, working, and playing in a spectacular setting.

A vast, uncrowded playground of national forest and wilderness areas surrounds the Loop and offers visitors a myriad of opportunities for outdoor recreation. To begin with, nearly the entire route follows rivers and lakeshores. Historically used for transportation, today these waterways host a variety of year-round recreation. From fishing to windsurfing and boating to diving, you can find it on the loop. Or, whether you are on foot, bike, horseback, or skis, you can take advantage of hundreds of miles of trails waiting to be explored. Animal lovers will be excited to learn that the public lands bordering the loop are home to the largest diversity of wildlife in the lower 48 states with more than 50 mammal and 265-plus bird species! Feeling adventurous? Then why not try your hand at snowmobile touring, rock climbing and geo-caching (a kind of treasure hunt that uses GPS systems). Whatever you decide to do while you are here, you will be pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds on the Selkirk Loop - it's a genuinely relaxing experience!

For millennia, inhabitants of this region have dwelt along the riverbanks and lakeshores, enjoying the mild lower elevation climate in winter and the cool mountains in summer. Visitors will find stories of the region's inhabitants - including Native Americans, fur trader David Thompson, settlers, miners, loggers, and newer immigrants - told in local visitor centers and museums, along with information about the natural environment at many locations around the loop. The communities along the loop boast scenic attractions as well: beautiful parks, historic architecture, public gardens, fountains, sculpture, murals, colorful farmers' markets, and public squares.

The loop's scenery changes with each season. In spring the bright greens of new foliage blend with the colors of early wildflowers, set against a backdrop of snow-covered mountaintops and rushing waterfalls. In summer, wildflowers are in full bloom, and the rivers and lakes teem with fish below warm blue skies. Fall brings changing colors, with brilliant golds and reds amid the dark green pine and spruce. Canadian geese by the thousands stop for respite on their journey south through the Pacific Flyway. In winter, a peaceful blanket of snow covers higher elevations of the Loop, with greenery remaining in the milder climates of the river valleys. Moose, deer, and elk often are spotted as they browse for tender shoots beneath the snow. But perhaps the most delightful aspect of the loop's scenery is its variety, from narrow river canyons to broad fertile valleys and vibrant village scenes, from lowland meadows to breathtaking mountain vistas. Surprises await around every corner!

The best time to drive the Loop is April to October, when wildflowers are blooming, wildlife emerge, festivals occur, and hiking weather is comfortable.

High Season:Peak tourist season on the Loop is July-August, when families with kids travel. Traffic and crowds still are minimal compared to urban standards.

Note: the full loop actually goes through Canada and then back into the United States.

The total length, including Canada sections, is 280 miles/450 km.

The Loop was named 'The West's Best New Scenic Drive' (Sunset Magazine) and motorcyclists love its uncrowded highways.

Information was obtained by permission from

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Idaho, Washington. This motorcycle route has 10 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for International Selkirk Loop (United States Portion)

Ride Scenery:

BeachesUrban/ResidentialParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadNo Traffic

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