The landscape at the southern end of Priest Lake is dominated by Sundance Mountain. In late summer of 1967, a forest fire erupted on Sundance and eventually consumed approximately 56,000 acres on the mountain and adjacent areas. A lookout tower sits atop this 6,300 foot peak and the summit is accessible by high clearance, 4X4 vehicles during the summer.
In the winter, a major snowmobile route passes below the summit on the west side of the mountain at the 4,500 foot level. Depending on snow conditions, it is also sometimes possible to snowmobile to the summit of the mountain. However, even at the lower trail elevation, the views of the lake and surrounding mountains are spectacular. Don't be surprised to see deer, or a moose in the forest leading up to Sundance Mountain.
If you want a really sporting adventure and have eaten your Wheaties, try your hand (and body) at mountain biking "The Sundance". Only the bold and fit (and maybe those about a quarter bubble off the level) need apply here! Many start, but few finish the trip. Those who do reach the summit receive the reward of a wild, exhilarating, unforgettable downhill ride. The ever twisting, turning, tire-skidding downhill road drops the knobby-wheeler over 1,800 feet in the first 2+ miles!! Not much technical skill required here - just hang on, scream to the wind, AND ENJOY - YOU'VE CONQUERED "THE SUNDANCE"!!
For the more sedate adventurers who gave up climbing 6,000 foot peaks with their mountain bikes "a couple of years ago", Sundance is a more quieting experience. Its splendid views, crisp mountain air, and Mother Nature's bounty of flora and fauna beckon to the simple pleasures of life - a refreshing mind and body experience awaits you atop Sundance Mountain.
To drive to the summit from the Inn at Priest Lake in Coolin, proceed on the Cavanaugh Bay-East Lakeshore Road for about one mile until it intersects with State Forest Road #19. Turn right onto Road #19 and continue for .9 mile at which point you will be at the junction of Road #19 and #191. Bear right to continue on Road #19 and travel 2.8 miles. At this point, you will be at the junction of State Road #19 and #2. Turn left onto Road #2 and travel 1.4 miles until you arrive at the intersection with State Forest Road #207. Turn right onto Road #207 and ascend 2.3 miles to the lookout tower -and watch out for the "knobby wheelers".
NOTE: This road system is minimally maintained and travel may include negotiating downfalls, brush, and other obstacles. Land navigation equipment and skills may be required to remain on the correct roads as some are not well marked. High clearance or 4X4 vehicles are recommended for this route. Information and maps are available at the Idaho Department of Lands office at the foot of Cavanaugh Bay.
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