Not Many People Know There's An Eerily Beautiful Shipwreck Hiding Right Here In Idaho
North Idaho is a rich oasis where pristine water and dense forests collide – a lush, magical region of natural wonders, hidden landscapes, and flawless beauty. But our breathtaking Panhandle is also home to a unique history that is steeped in water travel. We’ve shared some of this history when we wrote about
Lake Coeur d’Alene’s steamboat history a while back – and its buried steamboat graveyard – but truth be told, treasures, oddities, and historic relics galore litter the watery depths of Idaho’s lake beds. What’s more, Lake Coeur d’Alene isn’t the only place to find the waterlogged remnants of the Panhandle’s past…
Deep, dark, and mysterious, Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho has two very different personalities on any given day.
This beauty is not only Idaho's largest and deepest lake, it's also the 5th deepest in the entire country! Portions of this plunging water body are as deep as 1,150 feet - more than twice the depth of the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls.
The first: an idyllic, beachy haven, boasting calm, reflective waters that perfectly mirror the surrounding landscape.
The second: an eerie and unexplored expanse so deep and isolated that it is home to Idaho's own naval testing facility.
Bayview's Navy Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD) is well worth a visit if you ever get the chance! With Farragut State Park not too far away, you'll be in for a fascinating day trip.
More info and directions
But much like Coeur d'Alene's underwater steamboat graveyard, Pend Oreille is hiding its own skeletons...
Sanders Beach boat wreck
might be the most famous of this lake's underwater tragedies, but the houseboat's story is just as mysterious as that of its deeper, more northern off-shore counterparts.
CdA's steamers on the other hand have a more documented history. The worn-out ships were stripped of any useful parts, set ablaze, and sunk near Independence Point during Fourth of July festivities. This area is an underwater theme park for divers with an explorer's heart and a hankering to swim in and out of port windows of ships like the
Both underwater and on land... like this rustic fella in Sandpoint.
Each of these abandoned tugs, steamers, and rowboats have a story to tell... some known, some shrouded in mystery.
Or this photographer favorite near Sagle.
The unreachable depths of Idaho's largest and deepest lake hide a number of mysteries: a vintage Navy torpedo, decaying skeletons, car parts, and houseboat appliances, just to name a few.
Supposedly, even the highly valuable remains of a downed mid-century bomber.
Most of the lake's secret treasures and unfathomable relics of the past are far too costly and dangerous to raise from the murky, 39-degree water, however. Others are reachable by dedicated and trained divers.
And the possibility of a Navy submarine graveyard? Highly likely.
But of all of North Idaho's abandoned or sunken shipwrecks, perhaps none are more unexplored than those near Bayview...
Each of these abandoned tugs, steamers, and rowboats have a story to tell, like this stranded fella on the lake shore.
Can’t venture out for a dive? Check out just a few of the shipwrecks hiding beneath the waters of Lake Pend Oreille.
Awesome YouTube video,
Idaho’s deepest waters are a treasure trove of history – both tangible and in memory. If you have any additional info about or photos of the wrecks shown, please share!
Author’s Note: While every effort was made to preserve the integrity of these locations and their histories, this article contains certain photos that are for illustrative purposes only.
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