From Spokane, Washington, drive north on Highway 2. Highway 2 connects with Hwy 20 at Newport, and passes through Usk, Cusick, Tiger and Ione to Metaline and Metaline Falls – one of America’s “Top 100 Best Small Arts Towns.”
Continue north on Highway 31 from Metaline Falls to the US/Canada border at Nelway. Upon crossing the border, Highway 31 changes into Highway 6, and then Highway 3, which leads north to Salmo, Ymir, and Nelson.
Nelson’s brick and stone architecture is the centrepiece of the city’s downtown core, which also features more than 350 heritage buildings.
Across from West Arm Provincial Park, Highway 3A leads to the Kootenay Lake Ferry in Balfour. The scenic ferry ride across Kootenay Lake is free, and takes approximately 45 minutes. Just a short drive from the ferry terminal is Crawford Bay, which has many unique artisan galleries and shops.
Follow Highway 3A along Kootenay Lake to Creston, where the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area teems with wildlife. This lush wetland habitat stretches 6,880ha/17,000ac from the southeast tip of Kootenay Lake to the US.
A short drive south of Creston is the Canada/US border crossing at Rykerts. From the border, follow Highway 1 until it reaches Highway 95, and then continue south to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Just west of Bonners is the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge, which has more than 230 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, and 22 species of fish.
Continue south to Sandpoint, located on Lake Pend Oreille, and enjoy various outdoor water activities. In winter, nearby Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing.
From Sandpoint, take Highway 2 west to Priest River. The Priest River Museum & Timber Education Centre displays historical artifacts from the logging industry, as well as early pioneer furnishings. Priest Lake is also known for its great seasons of huckleberries and mushrooms.
Back on Highway 2, continue west to Newport, Washington. The city’s heritage is rich in milling, mining, and agriculture, which can be explored at the Pend Oreille Country Historical Museum. From Newport, Spokane is 72km/45mi south.