It’s home to the golf course with the world’s only floating green, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the beautiful little town on Lake Coeur d’Alene that grew, and grew, and grew.
Coeur d’Alene has gone from a charming town of 16,000 in 1970 to become the center of business and recreation activities in the Inland Northwest with a population of 34,500 in 2005.
French-speaking fur traders named the lake in the mid 1800s. Legend says the traders believed the local Indians to be sharp traders and they called the lake Coeur d’Alene meaning “their hearts were sharp as an awl.”
Until the early 1890s, Coeur d’Alene served as the railroad/steamboat transfer point for transportation between the mines in the nearby Silver Valley to the smelters they fed in the eastern states. In the early 1900s, a major timber boom caused the population to increase 16-fold in a period of 10 years.
The oldest standing building in Idaho, the stately Cataldo Mission, finished in 1853, is 25 miles east of Coeur d’Alene just off of I–90 on the south side of the highway.
Today, the city bustles with festivals, fairs and concerts. Many of the activities center around the lake with its pristine beauty that has earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful. Visitors and locals enjoy the friendly atmosphere of City Beach and the numerous water activities, which include water skiing, fishing, jet skiing, parasailing, boat cruises and seaplane rides.
Lake Coeur d’Alene is 25 miles long with 135 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 120 feet. The golf course with the floating green at Coeur d’Alene Resort has been called America’s Most Beautiful Resort Course by Golf Digest magazine. The floating green, on the 14th hole, measures 15,000 square feet and weighs nearly five million pounds. It can be moved on the water’s surface by cables attached to the lake bottom in order to change the distance from the tee to the hole from 75 to 175 yards or more.
North Idaho offers 17 other courses ranging from intimate nine-holes to 18-hole championship. One of the most recent additions is an 18-hole course, Circling Raven, owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Worley, 30 minutes south of the city.
Just a quick 15-minute drive north of the city lies Silverwood, the northwest’s largest theme park, with more than 50 rides and attractions including three roller coasters, Thunder Canyon river raft ride, Boulder Beach Water Park, and a steam locomotive that travels the perimeter of the park.
Three ski resorts are close to Coeur d’Alene. Silver Mountain in Kellogg boasts the world’s longest, single-staged gondola, Lookout Pass in Mullan, and Schweitzer Basin north of Sandpoint — with 58 runs across 2,500 acres — and Stella, with its six-passenger high speed chairlift.
The U.S. Forest Service nursery in Coeur d’Alene grows nearly 20 million evergreen tree seedlings each year to replace mature trees harvested from national forests and state-owned lands.
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