In the north of the Coeur d’Alene Metropolitan Area, Rathdrum is a small city against the backdrop of the Selkirk Mountains.
With a maximum elevation of more than 5,000 feet, one peak right on Rathdrum’s doorstep has the same name as the city. A big chunk of Rathdrum Mountain is open to the public, and you can make your way up for hikes in unspoiled coniferous forest.
Back on the plain, Rathdrum has plenty of great amenities, from well-kept parks to a links-style golf course, while the wonderful Hauser Lake is minutes away.
And being so close to Coeur d’Alene puts a world of top-class visitor attractions, outdoor activities and breathtaking natural scenery in easy reach.
1. City Park
Just off State Highway 53, the star of Rathdrum’s park system is set along the banks of a creek.
This is crossed by a pedestrian bridge, and on both sides are verdant grassy spaces sprinkled with mature coniferous and deciduous trees.
On a sunny day in spring or summer you could bring a picnic to the tables, and while away an hour or two in the shade of these handsome old trees.
Children will love paddling in the stream’s shallow, clear water. City Park also has a large pavilion and a gazebo that can be rented, as well as a playground area, horseshoe pits and restrooms.
2. Rathdrum Mountain
A dominating presence on the northwest side of Rathdrum, the city’s namesake mountain is one of the southernmost peaks of the Selkirk Range, which straddles the border with Canada.
Under a mantle of beautiful coniferous forest, Rathdrum Mountain is a popular destination for outdoor pursuits and is open to the public during daylight hours.
The city owns almost 550 acres up here, with a 9-hole disc golf course and an ever-growing series of trails.
The most trafficked of these is a six mile loop on an old logging trail, with a brisk elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet. If you go quietly you may spot elk, deer, wild turkeys and possibly a bobcat.
The trail is fringed by giant cedars and ponderosas, but every so often you’ll be treated to a fabulous view of the range.
3. Rathdrum Farmers’ Market
On the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, May through August, there’s a small but lively farmers’ market in a picturesque location at City Park.
This was established in 2009 and offers garden and farm-fresh produce, directly from the grower, as well as handmade arts and crafts from the Rathdrum community.
As well as seasonal fruit and veggies, you’ll find plants, jams, honey, bread, pastries, and all kinds of gift inspiration.
Typically there will be freshly made food, as well as live entertainment and fun activities for kids.
4. St. Stanislaus Kostka Mission
A monument worth seeking out in Rathdrum is this elegant Catholic church, constructed in 1900. This makes it the oldest brick-built Catholic church in the entire state.
St. Stanislaus is in the Gothic Revival style and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.
The church is an anchor for the community, hosting the beloved Polish Fall Festival every November.
Inside you can admire the fine wooden pews, statuary and most of all the beautiful altarpiece (1901), depicting St. Stanislaus kneeling before Mary with Jesus.
If you only get to see the facade, check out the small multifoil windows and the whitewashed wooden segments of the tower above the portal.
5. Majestic Park
Out in open country just past the city’s southeastern outskirts, Majestic Park is Rathdrum’s newest park.
The name is appropriate too, as from this location on the prairie you can see the mountains on the horizon in every direction. The closest of course are the Selkirk Mountains, rising behind the city to the northwest.
To go with the scenery, Majestic Park is also endowed with a lot of facilities, including a splash pad, popular with families with younger children, and open from Memorial Day to the end of September.
Added to this are a climbing wall, two softball fields, swing set and a paved pathway traced by newly planted trees.
6. Silverwood Theme Park
A stone’s throw from Rathdrum is the largest amusement park in the Pacific Northwest. Silverwood Theme Park is a sprawling attraction in more than 400 acres and has a whole spectrum of rides, shows and amusements for all ages.
These range from high-tech thrill rides breaking records for top speeds and inversions, like Stunt Pilot, Aftershock and Tremors, to bumper cars, carousels, spinners, a Ferris wheel and white water raft ride.
A charming narrow gauge railway snakes through the park, while admission to Silverwood also includes Boulder Beach Water Park, with its numerous slides, play complex for smaller kids and two large wave pools side-by-side.
7. Links Golf Club
Five minutes from downtown Rathdrum is a highly-rated 18-hole course, touted as one of the best in the region and enjoying wonderful mountain views.
True to its name, this course has a Scottish-style links layout. This means that the course follows the natural contours of the landscape, and has formidable, deep bunkers and a boisterous wind to contend with.
The tees and fairways are always in great condition, and the bent-grass greens tend to be quick. Among the amenities here are power carts, a driving range and a beverage cart, while you can put a cap on your round at The Links Restaurant and Bar, which has a scenic patio.
8. Hauser Lake Park
Right on the Idaho-Washington border, a mere ten minutes from downtown Rathdrum, is a mid-sized lake wrapped in stunning mountain scenery.
On the south shore is a lovely little swimming beach. This is backed by a grassy picnic area with a little grove of trees, while the water is enclosed on three sides by wooden docks.
Kids love to use this platform to leap into the water, while fishermen drop a line here for bluegill, perch and bass.
The park is equipped with restrooms, running water and a playground, as well as a boat launch, set right beside the beach.
9. Lake Coeur d’Alene
About ten miles to the southeast of Rathdrum is the northern shore of an enormous glacial lake, trapped by pine-covered mountainsides. Right on the water here is the namesake city, which serves as a charming resort town.
The downtown area abounds with buildings from the turn of the 20th century, and has cute gift shops, cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating.
The lake is a honeypot for cruises, water sports, hikes along the shore and action-packed activities like zip-lining.
There are also lovely public spaces on the lakefront, like City Park and Tubbs Hill, where you can take in the wonderful scenery in your own time. If you’re in the area in winter, you can visit quieter stretches of shoreline east of the city to spot bald eagles.
10. North Idaho Centennial Trail
Draining Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Spokane River flows west for 111 miles to Lake Roosevelt, Washington where it meets the Columbia River.
The north bank on the Idaho side of the state line is fully accessible via a superb 24-mile multi-use trail, running from Higgens Point on the eastern shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the Idaho-Washington boundary.
Threading through a succession of gorgeous parks along the riverbank and lakefront, the trail was completed in stages in the 1990s and has recently been completely repaired and seal-coated.
If you’re feeling energetic you can continue your hiking or cycling trip on the Spokane River Centennial Trail, which begins at the state line and continues for another 37 miles into Washington.
11. Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center
The local airport, Pappy Boyington Field, is a ten-minute drive southeast of Rathdrum, and in one of the hangars is a compelling museum dedicated to the Idaho inventor Forrest Bird (1921-2015).
An aviator from a young age, Bird made vital contributions to the medical field, using his knowledge of aircraft oxygen regulators to develop ever more efficient respirators and ventilators in the post-war years.
The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center details these innovations, but also displays a rotating lineup of aircraft from Bird’s private collection.
These include a 1968 Bell 47, 1947 Republic RC-7, a 1967 Alon A-2 and a North American AT-6, to name just a handful.
12. Buck Knives
A knife manufacturer with an international reputation is headquartered just 15 minutes away in Post Falls. Buck Knives was founded in 1902 in San Diego and made the decision to relocate to Post Falls in 2005.
The brand has cornered the folding hunting knife market so well that people use the term “Buck Knife”, in the same way you might say “Hoover” for a vacuum cleaner.
You can visit the factory for a 45-minute tour, learning about the history of the company, the story of the game-changing Model 110 Folding Hunter (1964) and to see how each knife is precision-made.
13. Stub Myers Park
Just south of downtown and edged by tall softwood trees, Rathdrum’s second-largest park is a little under ten acres.
Stub Myers Park has large grassy spaces, kept lush through an automatic irrigation system and installed with picnic tables and park benches.
There’s a playground for kids, a volleyball court, basketball court, four baseball/softball fields, horseshoe pits and complimentary amenities like barbecues, a picnic shelter, an accessible restroom and a concessions stand.
14. Falls Park
If you’re in the area in spring be sure to head down to this riverfront park in Post Falls. Here you’ll be at a spot integral to the development of the region in the 19th century.
This dam was first built in the 1870s by one Frederick Post to drive a lumber mill, but was converted into a hydroelectric facility in the early-1900s providing power to mines up to 100 miles away.
When the snow melts in March and April the water powers over the falls with a thunderous roar.
The scenery is also impressive, with a rugged canyon a little way downstream. In Wandering Falls Park you can read historical interpretive signs and visit a tranquil little pond within earshot of the falls.
15. Rathdrum Days
One of the highpoints of the summer in Rathdrum is this two-day event, usually taking place on the third weekend of July.
A vibrant celebration, Rathdrum Days packs in a wide variety of activities and spectacles. To list just a few, there’s a beer garden and dance on the Friday night, car shows, a cute doggie race, a strongman competition and a parade along Main Street.
These are accompanied by a host of vendor booths and a main stage providing live entertainment, from live music to magicians, dance and live comedy.