An hour from Creston, Pend-Oreille County is just south of the Nelway Border Crossing. A perfect area to visit with the family for a day trip, but consider spending a bit more time camping or staying in hotels to really get a full appreciation for the area. The park is part of the Selkirk Loop, and holds many worthwhile sites.

Sullivan Lake is the primary camping destination in the area, and though far from overcrowded, its fairly busy . The campground is much like our Provincial sites in Canada, and there are nearby Rec Site option for those looking for something a bit more rustic. Many of the sites are right near the water, making it an excellent place to camp with kids of all ages.

Sullivan Lake, Pend-Oreille County

Among the warmest lakes in the area, Sullivan Lake is the perfect place for kids to get comfortable in the water, and lots of space on the shore for some relaxation.

Boats are allowed at the lake, so water-skiing and wake-boarding are common, but distant enough from the main beach. For a four year old, it’s a great place to spend a few days practicing swimming. It gets busy, but doesn’t feel crowded.

Other nearby attractions are plentiful. Sweet Creek Falls – a short, well-maintained trail to its namesake destination, is well worth a visit. My daughter loved this hike, lots of fun things to check out and constantly shifting views of the waterfall. The trail led us above the water fall as well, which was quite an interesting perspective to check out. It looked like a bridge for a longer trail was washed out near the top, it would be nice to know if there are plans to repair it, though I don’t know if there is much of a point.

Further South towards Ione, there is a pullout where nesting eagles are visible across the river. Too distant to get any decent pictures without a telephoto, but well worth a visit if you’re in the area. There are definitely many eagles to watch.

Boundary Dam, Pend-Oreille County

Just across the Nelway Crossing to the USA, the Boundary Dam is a true marvel of engineering. The turbines and all the innerworking of the dam were blasted out of solid rock.

Just before crossing the border back to Canada there is a short side road over to the Boundary Dam. Being from the Kootenays I have seen many dams in my day – small dams, big dams, beaver dams – but I’ve never seen a dam blasted out of solid rock before. There is a little interpretive center overlooking it which gives all the info on the dams construction. More than a little dynamite was needed to make it happen.

Sometimes we in British Columbia get a little blind to the natural beauty just south of us. Washington and Idaho have too many awesome experiences to brush off lightly, and the proximity to the Kootenays makes them convenient to enjoy.