A beautiful day for a drive!

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Have you been up the river lately? The drive from St. Maries to Calder is breathtaking.

It’s a short, scenic drive so be certain to take your time stop and take in some of the points of interest along the way.

To get to the St. Joe River Road head north from St. Maries on Hwy 3 about a half mile, turning onto FS50 heading past the high school.

At around the two-mile mark you’ll see Bel’s Lake to your right and another mile and a half is the wild rice fields. Elk, moose, deer and geese are plentiful. In the spring the swans and an occasional flock fresh-water pelican will be seen in the shallow waters.

At the five-mile mark is Turtle Lake, a popular fishing hole for area bass fishermen.

The Omega Gospel Hall on the edge of the meadow near the 6 mile marker has been a local landmark since the Swiss first settled the valley more than 100 years ago.

The first of many campgrounds on the St. Joe River Road is the Shadowy St. Joe Camp Ground at the 10 mile mark. It is maintained and operated by the Forest Service

Dirt roads split from the highway at Rochat Creek, Wittenburg Draw and St. Joe City and several other points along the highway.

St. Joe City is the highest navigable point conventional boats traveling from Coeur d’Alene can reach. There is public river access at Scott Park on the north side of the river near the old logging town.

To your left at the 15 mile marker is Falls Creek with the turnout just ahead on the right.

The former Milwaukee Railroad bridge is to the right and is a good place to take walk. Fish can be seen in the clear water below the bridge. At the east end of the bridge there is an unimproved campground to the right.

At the 18 mile mark is the Big Eddy Resort which offers dining and spirits with a view of the river.

For the next several miles be sure to watch the slopes of the hills across the river for wildlife.

In the pullout at the 23 mile marker is a sign with detailed fishing regulations.

You’ll find the little town of Calder at the next turn off. Calder features a general store, post office and emergency services. The Calder school is the large white building above the town. There is access to the river at Calder, a popular pull starting point and finishing point for rafters and fishermen in smaller -boats.

If you don’t already have plans for the weekend, perhaps a visit to St. Maries and a drive to Calder along the beautiful St. Joe River would be just the ticket to enjoy the best Idaho has to offer.

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