Thompson Pass is at the top of Hwy 471 (Prospect Creek Rd.) at the Montana/Idaho border. This is an easy to access spot with great views, lots of trails, and a good sized parking lot that will accommodate any size trailer or camper. Although the road on both the Montana and Idaho side are newly paved, the upper few miles of the road are not maintained in the winter. It is approximately 21 miles to the top of the pass, which sits at an elevation of about 6814'.
For most of the year, Sanders County residents enjoy using the road as a shorter route to Coeur d'Alene Idaho, and Spokane, Washington. The top few miles also provide access to many trails, including the centennial divide trail, as well as trails to a variety of hike in lakes. On the Montana side, about 16 miles up is the trail to Evans lake, and about a mile from the top are trails to Blossom Lakes and Pear Lake. At the very top, a dirt road crosses the border and continues on for about a mile on the Idaho side, then ends at the trail head to Revette Lake where there is room to pull over and park. The 45 minute hike is fairly easy for most people, and the views along the trail are as impressive as any.
During the winter when the top of the pass is closed to vehicles, snowmobilers use the road and the many trails that can be accessed via the road. Snowshoeing is also popular, as is cross country skiing.
A popular destination for Thompson Pass travelers is the famous Spragpole bar/restaurant. The Spragpole is located in Murray Idaho, the first little town on the Idaho side of the pass. Although the little eatery isn't much to look at, no one has ever come away without emphatically declaring they've just had the best meal of their lives! Throughout the year, whether by car or snowmobile, people come from miles around to sink their teeth into some of the best home cooking on the planet! Some local favorites are the steak tips w/fries, the halibut sandwich on homemade bun, a great shrimp cocktail (at a fraction of the price you'd pay anywhere else), mouth watering prime rib (which is only available on weekends), and last but not least, cheeseburgers that'll ruin you for life! One bite of these tasty burgers will prompt you to give up 'chain' restaurant burgers forever.
Directions to Thompson Pass:
From Main St. (Hwy. 200) in Thompson Falls, head west through town, cross the Clark Fork River, then turn left on Hwy 471, also known as Prospect Creek Rd. It is about 21 miles to the top of the pass, and is a beautiful drive on nice paved road! Pull into the parking lot at the top..... and don't forget your camera!
Please enjoy the photo gallery, and click on any picture to enlarge! You will need to use scroll bars for enlarged panos.