International Selkirk Loop - Sandpoint, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 16.564 W 116° 32.729
11U E 533723 N 5347084
Quick Description: Across sand creek from downtown Sandpoint is the old Northern Pacific Depot, now used as an Amtrak depot.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 1/23/2015 12:43:52 AM
Waymark Code: WMN96J
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 0

Long Description:
Crossing the Canada-U.S. border twice, the International Selkirk Loop is a 280 mile long route which encircles the Selkirk Mountains, following rivers, lakes and other waterways for much of its length. It is designated one of only 32 All-American Road National Scenic Byways in the U.S. Following the loop takes one through spectacular mountain scenery and many historic towns in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and southeastern British Columbia. The loop follows many historic waterways which were historically travelled by natives and explorers such as David Thompson, as well as gold seekers in the mid to late nineteenth century.

At the International Selkirk Loop website can be found a great Interactive Map which allows one to drill down to each area and community through which the loop passes for further information. For example, clicking on Sandpoint takes one to the Sandpoint Travel Guide.

For rail fans who may travel the International Selkirk Loop, Sandpoint may well be the high point of their tour. Rail fans the world over come to Sandpoint to "train watch". In fact, Sandpoint has been described as a Railfan Mecca. Through much of the drive from Sandpoint north to Bonners Ferry, and especially in Sandpoint, the railway is right beside the International Selkirk Loop, here Highway 95.

Sandpoint really is one of the best "railfanning", or train spotting, sites in the northwest, with 50 or more trains passing through every day. Though there are many good spots from which to do one's railfanning, our favourite was at the 1916 Northern Pacific depot near the centre of the city, as it's both active and handy. While we were at the station taking photos two trains passed through in less than a half hour, hauling a wide variety of freight in both open and closed cars. As a bonus, the old Northern Pacific depot is the only Gothic style train depot in Idaho and is a National Historic Place, to boot.

Our second favourite train watching location was the railroad bridge over Lake Pend Oreille which, at 8400 feet in length, is the longest bridge in Idaho. One generally can't get as close to the trains there, though, as one can at the depot. Also, there is usually parking available right at the depot. The bridge, though, makes for some great photography, with the trains, the long bridge, the lake and the mountains in the background.



Program: America's Byways

Website: [Web Link]

Official Name: International Selkirk Loop

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