Saturday, October 29, 2016

St. Joe River, Benewah County, Idaho


The St. Joe River has lakes on either side of it, at its outlet, and some beautiful lakes are on either side of the river as it winds through the valley. When the Post Falls dam was constructed on the Spokane River it was believed that the trees and grass along the river bank on the west end of the river would be covered by the water and disappear. But after all these years they are still there, creating one of the most unique river-lake environments in the world. The river runs through the lakes instead of just emptying into a lake. The St. Joe River is the highest elevation navigate-able river in the world (120 miles long with Grade 2 & 3 rapids). the 100 foot ferries from the Coeur d'Alene Resort can travel up river to St. Maries. Smaller power boats can travel up river quite a ways from the town of St. Maries with no depth issues until the St. Joe City River Bridge. Power lines cross the river with between 25 to 50 foot clearance (heights not guaranteed). The two pictures below this paragraph show an example one of the many RV summer sites, the next picture shows a small channel into private inlet/marina. There are several of these along the river.


The following (below) gives info about bridges related to clearance and various access sites/launches along the river starting upriver and progressing down river until the river exits into Lake Coeur d'Alene...
St. Joe City River Bridge
This bridge has about 18 ft clearance over the river water... After passing this bridge going up river on the north side of the river is a deep spot of about about 8 ft. deep and about 30 feet long and 12 wide. It's a nice place to swim and fish, and to anchor. Immediately after this deep hole it gets very shallow. Down river of this river is several piles of rocks... watch out for them. Maps: Visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.315732, -116.349122
Deep area of the river just upriver of the St. Joe City Bridge. Great place to anchor, fish, and swim (in the summer)



1. Scott Park and Launch
Scott Park is a little over 2.5 miles more up river from St. Joe Shadowy Campground. It is a county maintained park called Scott Park. Amenities include a T shaped small non floating dock (about 30’ long), small paved launch, small parking area, with a single porta-potty, and campsites with no utilities. There is no running water at this park (go to Shadowy Campground to get water) and no place to park RV’s… it’s a tent only park (10 day limit). This park is right off the St. Joe City Rd. and is less than a mile down river from the St. Joe City Rd.bridge. There is no sign at this park indicating there is no over night mooring; but in the summer good luck finding a place to park at this small dock. There is a small marsh by the dock so you could anchor at and allow your boat to rock against the soft grass, etc. Directions: (Traveling on HWY 3 east of St. Maries) Take road 50 almost to the Benewah & Shoshone County Line. You will see a road sign that says St. Joe City Rd. Maps: See google interactive map at the end of this page or Visit google.com/maps type in St. Joe City, Benewah County, ID. or GPS coordinates 47.319280, -116.350507
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Large gravel parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… Portable restrooms not accessible to wheelchairs. Shade via trees; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… One dock that serves at launch and mooring dock, a wheelchair can accessible the dock but is not designated as accessible. Paved single lane cement launch at about 6% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. Absolutely no access to water other than via launch; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments; CAMPING... Primitive tent campsites; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and rocks along shoreline; Terrain: Level to 6% grades; H2O/Water: Water clear until lake summer. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. No drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: Varies; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of St. Maries, ID.


2. St. Joe River Shadowy Campground Boat Launch
St. Joe River Shadowy Campground ( 11.41 miles from St. Maries), which has a paved launch with two long docks, campsites with utility hook ups, running water, and restrooms, with ample parking. There is no overnight mooring allowed at the docks - which can be an issue in the summer when you would like to dock with restrooms overnight. If you launch from this site you could just put the boat back on the trailer and park it overnight in the lot. However if you did not launch from this park you could anchor or tie to some of the old pylons down river of the park and then come to the park when you need to use the restroom, etc. In late fall they remove the docks and the water is turned off. Once winter hits they close the park until late spring. Directions: (Traveling on HWY 3 east of St. Maries) Take road 50 almost to the Benewah & Shoshone County Line. You will see a large sign directing to this campground. Maps: See google interactive map at the end of this page or Visit google.com/maps type in St. Joe River Shadowy Campground, Benewah County, ID. or GPS coordinates 47.323692, -116.393499
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Paved parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None. Utilize launch to get to dock access pads (will cross over a little dirt). Paved road through camping area serves as path; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… Fully accessible restrooms. Shade via trees; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… Two fully accessible docks... have to cross some dirt to get to dock access pads. Paved double lane cement launch at about 6% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. Absolutely no access to water other than via launch; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments; CAMPING... Accessible tent and RV campsites with hookups; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and lots of vegetation along shoreline; Terrain: Level to 6% grade at launch; H2O/Water: Water clear until lake summer. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. No drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: Varies; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of St. Maries, ID.

Aqua St. Maries River Bridge. This is the entrance to St. Maries River. There is a small inlet just upriver that one can moor in to access St. Maries restaurants, etc. Maps: Visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.316920, -116.554690

HWY 3 Bridge next to and just up river of Aqua Park. Maps: Visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.317168, -116.561591






3. Aqua Park and Launches
Aqua Park includes docks, beach, restrooms, running water, picnic areas, park play area, and two paved boat launches. You can moor at this park and walk a short distance to find restaurants, fuel, etc. After/up river of this park is the HWY 3 Bridge with about 50 foot clears from the river surface. There are no marine stores in St. Maries. St.Maries is a logging and tourist town known for fishing and hunting. Directions: (From HWY 3 after crossing the bridge that crosses the St. Joe River into St. Maries) Take an immediate right onto Railroad Avenue, then a right onto Fourth Street; follow this road to Aqua Avenue to the boat launch and park. Maps: See google interactive map at end of this page or Visit google.com/maps type in St Maries, Benewah County, ID. or GPS coordinates 47.320054, -116.566963
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Paved parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None. Parking lot and wide road at park are paved; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… Fully accessible restrooms. Shade via trees; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… Three docks with accessible wheelchair access. Docks are old and made of wood. Wheelchairs can access the docks but not considered fully accessible compliant. Paved double lane cement launch at about 6% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. There is a small sandy beach area but with no access path; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments; CAMPING... No; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and rocks along shoreline; Terrain: Level to 7% grades; H2O/Water: Water clear until mid summer. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. Drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: Varies; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of St. Maries, ID.


4. St. Joe River, Cherry Bend Boaters Park
Cherry Bend Boaters Park, and the perfect place to take a rest, use the restroom, or picnic, etc. In addition to docks, beach, restrooms and picnic tables, the park also includes covered pavilions, volleyball courts, running water, etc. There is no boat launch at this park no matter what other maps indicate but you can drive to this park and launch a small craft from the docks. Directions: (From HWY 3 west of St. Maries Idaho) Turn southwest onto Cottonwood Dr. (no sign for the park from this point); follow this road to your first left. There will be a white sign with red letters directing you to the park. Maps: See google interactive map at end of this page or Visit google.com/maps type in Chatcolet Lake, Benewah County, ID. or GPS coordinates 47.325569, -116.618029
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Large gravel parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None but one can access the docks and other features of this park via the fairly level and well kept lawn area; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… Fully accessible restrooms. Shade via trees; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… One long dock with to access points. One is considered accessible gangway. No launch. Bank launching of kayaks/canoes; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. Absolutely no access to water other than via launch; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments; CAMPING... No; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and rocks along shoreline; Terrain: Level to 4% grades; H2O/Water: Water clear until lake summer. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. Drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: Varies; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of St. Maries, ID.


5. Round Lake East Primitive Boat Launch
Gravel/mud boat launch near the east shore of Round Lake, old dock, gravel parking area, no restrooms or running water... This primitive launch is right next to HWY 3 off of Mission Point Road/Round Lake Road. The great thing about this launch is that it enters a channel where you can enter either Round Lake or the St. Joe River. This launch is only suited for kayaks or small fishing boats. The ground at this launch can be muddy. Directions: Turn west onto Mission Point Road/Round Lake Road from HWY 3, west of St. Maries, Idaho. Maps: See google interactive map at end of this page or Visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.365890, -116.680452
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Gravel, dirt, mud parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… None. Shade via trees; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… No docks/platforms. One narrow single lane dirt/much launch at about 6% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. Absolutely no access to water other than via launch; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments; CAMPING... None; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and vegetation along shoreline; Terrain: Level to 6% grade at launch; H2O/Water: Water clear until lake summer. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. No drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: Varies; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of St. Maries, ID.


Channels off of St. Joe River into the following Lakes

Channel from St. Joe River into Hepton Lake. Channel and lake are very shallow... 2-4 ft. tops. The lake use to be a farm field that was flooded in 1990's. As you enter the channel watch out for large rocks from the old
broken dike. Maps: Visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.345292, -116.634353

Channels into Chatcolet and Benewah Lakes... Maps: Visit google.com/maps and type in GPS coordinates for Benewah Lake 47.353906, -116.705302 and for Chatcolet Lake 47.354089, -116.726002

Trail of the Coeur d'Alene Bike Bridge

Just before and after you pass under this bridge you are officially in the St. Joe River. Maps: Visit google map below or visit google.com/maps type in GPS coordinates 47.378275, -116.753582

After passing the bridge channel markers guide you alone the river as the river is hard to define from the surrounding lakes.

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