North Central Idaho
Our lodge near the Lochsa River in Syringa, Idaho is a wilderness vacation resort in the Rocky Mountains, located just 3 miles from the Lewis and Clark Trail on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater. Surrounded by 1.1 million acres of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, our property is only 90 miles east of Lewiston, Idaho on Hwy 12 with easy fly-in access from Missoula, Montana, or Spokane, Washington.
- Lewis & Clark Trail
- Wild & Scenic Rivers
- Attractions & Activities Near the Lodge
- Activities Before & After Your Stay
- Motorcycle Trips
Area Festivals - One of this area's greatest assets are the tight-knit communities that make up the local towns. Many of these towns celebrate their heritage and love of the area with annual festivals. These festivals are a great way to see the area from 'the locals' perspective. You'll sample music, food, drama, art, competitive rivalries, and good old fashioned fun!
Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. During their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window to the West for the young United States.
River Dance Lodge is located within miles of the historic Lewis & Clark Trail. You can retrace a portion of the historic journey during your stay at the resort. ROW Adventures offers guided hiking tours of the trail with an emphasis on interpretation. Our knowledgeable guides will help you better understand the challenges these intrepid voyagers faced when crossing through the rugged country of North Central Idaho.
If you prefer to explore the famed Lewis & Clark trail on your own, River Dance Lodge is happy to help you direct you on how to get to the trailhead.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act celebrated its 48th Anniversary in 2016. The Act, which was championed by Idaho Senator, Frank Church, and signed into law by President Johnson in 1968, protects the free-flowing waters of many of our nation's most spectacular rivers. Notable for safeguarding the character of these special rivers, the Act also recognizes the potential for appropriate use and development. These living landscapes are uniquely managed to protect the public's enjoyment of these heritage resources for present and future generations.
River Dance Lodge is proud to have three of the original eight protected rivers within miles of the property. We actively support river conservation efforts and partner with ROW Adventures to provide guided adventures on the gorgeous Lochsa, Selway, and Clearwater rivers. The clear, free-flowing waters offer superb whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and kayaking. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along the banks of these fine rivers are also available during your stay at the lodge.
Ask our friendly staff about adding one of these outdoor adventures to your stay at the lodge. We are happy to tailor custom vacation packages for your family and friends.
The closest beach to the resort is about 100 yards upstream. Walk carefully along the highway and you’ll see a path through the blackberry bushes that leads to a gravelly beach with marginal swimming. One mile downstream is “Old Number One.” It's clearly marked by a paved turn-out on the highway and a concrete outhouse. This is a very nice beach with a good swimming area. Going upstream, proceed to either Three Devils or Wild Goose, both of which are Forest Service areas with outhouses and picnic tables. Each has a superb beach, especially Wild Goose, which has a giant beach and large swimming hole.
By special request, we may be able to offer the opportunity to try "River Flying." We gear you up with a helmet, mask and snorkel, PFD (personal flotation device), and fins and you swim headfirst down the river. In some of the shallower sections as the river picks up speed, you race over the rocks below and the crystal clear water gives a sense of weightless flying! Not for the faint of heart, this adrenaline pumping activity also mixes in stretches of calm water where you can float and wonder at the beautiful cedar and pine forest surrounding the river. Offered only during July and August when warmer water temperatures make this pleasant. The minimum age is 12.
Little Smith Creek
Depart from the parking lot of the Café and walk along the highway going west about 200 yards. Turn right on Little Smith Creek Road and walk through the hamlet of Syringa. After about 300 yards the road ends at a Forest Service gate. Continue past this and you can hike for miles. After another 250 yards, you’ll pass an old Forest Service building that was used for tree-planting activities. Another 100 yards you’ll cross the creek – a cool place to play with children on hot days. Another few hundred yards and you’ll come to a fork in the trail. The right fork gets rather brushy and follows the creek.
Lochsa Historical Ranger Station
At approximately milepost 116 you’ll see a sign and parking lot on your left. This is worth a stop to learn about the local history of the Forest Service in the area.
Lewis and Clark Trail
Lewis and Clark traveled within a few miles of the River Dance Lodge in the fall of 1805 and early summer of 1806 on the Nez Perce Trail, also known as the Lolo Trail. If you're a Lewis and Clark history buff, this is the ideal Lewis and Clark Trail resort base from which to explore. You can drive to the Lolo Motorway and hike to several of the sites recorded in the journals of Lewis and Clark. Spring and summer are alive with wildflowers and spectacular vistas of scenes that have changed little in the last 200 years.
The Town of Grangeville
The county seat of Idaho County, the largest county in the lower 48 states, Grangeville is small-town America at its best. 45 minutes from the River Dance Lodge, and a beautiful drive up the South Fork of the Clearwater, you'll find shopping, museums, and more. In 1994 the remains of a Columbian Mammoth, a species that went extinct some 10-15,000 years ago, was discovered at nearby Tolo Lake. There is an excellent exhibit and replica of one of these impressive creatures located on Highway 95 just next to Grangeville.
The Historical Museum at St. Gertrude
This famous museum is about an hour from the River Dance Lodge and is one of the oldest and best museums in the state.
Montana and Idaho have many wonderful areas ready for exploration! We've compiled just a few ideas for you on what to do in the area either before or after your stay at the River Dance Lodge.
Fly into the Spokane Airport
- Spend a day with ROW Adventures rafting and bike riding in Spokane, WA.
- Tee-up! Spokane is the Golf Capital of the Pacific Northwest with 40 golf courses in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area!
- Spend an afternoon or evening visiting several of our renowned wineries.
- Head north up to Silverwood Theme Park for a day. This is the Northwest's largest theme park, with more than 65 rides, shows, and attractions - just north of Coeur d'Alene.
- Travel east on I-90. Stop and spend a few days in Kellogg Idaho at Silver Mountain’s Resort. Enjoy scenic gondola rides, an indoor water park, Frisbee golf, and mine tours.
- Stay for a night at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort.
- Spend a day whitewater rafting on the Clark Fork River.
- Head over Lolo pass and down to the River Dance Lodge!
- Relax at the lodge and enjoy your private log cabin and the many activities at Idaho’s Adventure Resort!
- After your stay, drive back to Spokane via Highway 95.
Fly into the Idaho Falls Airport
- Drive about 2.5 hours and reach Jackson, Wyoming.
- Spend several days visiting the Grand Teton National Park. You’ll find breathtaking scenery and plenty of history. Take the family on a wagon ride, watch the afternoon shoot out, hike into one of numerous mountain lakes, take a horseback ride or just drive around the park and see the sites.
- Yellowstone National Park is not far from here. Plan at least 3 days to see the park. Watch the powerful geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. Keep your eyes peeled for buffalo, bears, antelope, deer, moose, and more! Don’t skip heading to West Yellowstone for the Grizzly and Wolf Preserve.
- The next stop is Virginia City where you can spend a day visiting a historic ghost town. Pan for gold; take stagecoach rides; ghost tours, train rides, and view living history re-enactors.
- From here, spend about 5 hours driving through beautiful and historic Montana.
- Reach the River Dance Lodge and spend time in our custom-built log cabins. Enjoy whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, and gourmet dining.
- After your stay, drive east on Highway 12. You’ll be following the Lewis and Clark Trail so take your time and stop at many of the historic Lewis and Clark areas.
- Cross Lolo Pass, which is a beautiful mountain drive, and head up to Glacier National Park. Named for the rivers of ice that continue to carve its spectacular alpine landscape here, Glacier National Park is a truly pristine wilderness and the national park people would most like to revisit.
- Fly home from the Kalispell, Montana airport.
Bikers are welcome at River Dance Lodge!
We are located on US Highway 12, one of only 27 “All American Roads” named in the National Scenic Byways Program. Between Lewiston, Idaho, and Lolo, Montana, Highway 12 is a motorcyclist's dream. The scenery is stunning as you travel along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers. There are many sites of interest along the way, and our River Dance Lodge is a fabulous place to spend a couple of nights.
Here are a few sample rides.
Spokane, Washington loop:
Day 1: From Spokane ride south on the Dishman-Mica road to Freeman, Rockford, Fairfield, and on to Tekoa. Head east on route 60 to join Highway 95 south and continue to Potlatch. Turn east onto Highway 6 and go to the turn-off to Highway 9 that takes you to Deary. Continue south on Highway 3 to Kendrick. Here you have two choices.
A) Ride south to Julietta and the junction with US Highway 12 and then turn east and continue about another 1.5 hours to River Dance Lodge. Or:
B) Just before Kendrick, take the road marked Dworshak Reservoir and ride up through Southwick. This is a winding and a bit narrow two-lane road through farm country and fantastic motorcycle riding. You end up in Orofino, turn north and cross the Clearwater River, then left onto Highway 12 and you’re about an hour to River Dance Lodge.
Day 2: After a relaxing night at River Dance Lodge and a soak in your private hot tub, head out for a great day of motorcycle riding. You’ll head west 16 miles to Kooskia, then turn south on Highway 13 that follows the South Fork of the Clearwater River through Stites and then climbs up to Grangeville. This takes about an hour total. Grangeville is an all-American farming town with a few nice places to eat, a small museum, and a great display of a wooly mammoth found not far from town. Head south to Cottonwood and visit Dog Bark Park and/or St. Gertrude’s Museum. Continue your Idaho motorcycle trip a bit further north on Highway 95 to Craigmont then turn east on Highway 62 to Nez Perce. From there continue on 62 to the town of Kamiah and you’re again on the Clearwater River. Enjoy a ramble around Kamiah, then back to River Dance Lodge for the night.
Day 3: Get an early start and head east on Highway 12 along the Lochsa River. The San Francisco Examiner, July 13, 2009, says: “Head for Lewiston, Idaho and….there you'll find a highway designated US 12, arguably the best motorcycling road in the west. Oh I know, Washington 20 has its fans, as do the rides around Mt. Helens and some choice bits of Oregon, but nothing compares to the pure stamina of US 12. It simply does not stop.”
So enjoy the ride. Stop at the Lochsa Historical Ranger Station or the DeVoto Memorial Grove of Cedars to stretch your legs and learn more about the area. Cross the summit and Lolo Pass where the Idaho/Montana border is and an excellent visitor’s center that tells about the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery that passed through here some 200 years ago. Continue to Lolo, Montana, and turn north on Highway 93 through Missoula. It’ll take about three hours without stops to get from River Dance Lodge to Missoula. Avoid Interstate 90 by continuing north on 93 to Ravalli. Turn west on Highway 200 and ride to Parma, Paradise, and Plains. Follow the Clark Fork River to Thompson Falls. Or, break up the journey by going south on 135 to St. Regis and joining one of ROW Adventures whitewater rafting trips on either the St. Joe River (May-June) or the Clark Fork River (July-August).
From Thompson Falls you’ll turn on the old Mullan Highway and cross back into Idaho ending up on the Coeur d’Alene River. Ride this gorgeous route along the river to Interstate 90 and then ramp onto the Interstate at Cataldo to return to Spokane.
This is a great 3-day ride that some may want to break up on Day 3 in order to make it a 4-day ride.
Missoula, Montana Loop:
Day 1: Head south on highway 93 to Lolo about 10 miles. Then turn west on Highway 12 for the spectacular motorcycle trip outlined above over Lolo Pass and along the Lochsa River. Arrive at River Dance Lodge after about three hours of riding time plus stops. The Lochsa Lodge is a great place to stop for lunch about 12 miles past Lolo Pass.
Day 2: As above, via Grangeville.
Day 3: Continue west on Highway 12 and turn right heading north to Julietta and Kendrick. Continue north to Deary on Highway 3 and at the T with Highway 8, turn right or east. Ride on through forests to Bovill, Clarkia, and St. Maries. You might want to spend the night here or continue up the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene on Highway 97 and overnight in Harrison. Or, you can stay on Highway 3 and join Interstate 90 at Rose Lake. Now, you’re just a couple of hours back to Missoula. Or, add another day by following the route from Cataldo to Thompson Falls.
These are just a few of many motorcycle trip ideas in Idaho!