What Are Coeur d’Alene Winters Like?
It’s no secret that winters in the Inland Northwest promise tons of snow, plummeting temperatures, and teeth-chattering winds. But in Coeur d’Alene, winter weather is nothing short of magical. So whether you’re a diehard snow sports fan headed to Silver Mountain or enjoying a bundled-up walk by Lake Couer d’Alene and the Christmas lights, It’s a special time of year in Coeur d’Alene when the temperatures drop, wind chills become present, and it starts to snow.
Warm-Summer Mediterranean Climate
Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding areas have what is considered a “warm-summer Mediterranean climate.” So, while summers are often exceedingly dry and hot, the perfect weather to enjoy Lake Couer d’Alene – winters are the exact opposite.
With a temperature variation of nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit between the middle of summer and the dead of winter, Couer d’Alene can feel a little moody throughout the year!
Average winter temperatures range from roughly 40 degrees Fahrenheit to just below 20, with dips down to zero. From November to March, temperatures rarely exceed 45 degrees, though temperature spikes and drops are not uncommon due to the Coeur d’Alene area’s complex microclimates.
Is It That Cold, Really?
For the most part, visitors to Couer d’Alene during winter should expect to spend most of their time in freezing weather, so prepare to stay bundled up! Like loads of cold weather, North Idaho gets plenty of snow to go with those freezing temperatures. On average, Couer d’Alene has nearly 47 inches of snow over the winter season, which, as you might imagine, is a ton! Don’t worry, though, if you’re heading downtown to the Cd’A Resort or sightseeing in the downtown area. City workers, as hard-working Idahoans, typically have the snow plowed promptly. For residents and visitors staying outside of town, exercise extreme caution in winter driving conditions. Typically, these are much slower to get plowed.
4 Things To Do In The Winter in Coeur d’Alene
With all the frigid weather and piles of snow, you might expect to get little done in Couer d’Alene during the winter. But, unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth!
From the end of November to roughly mid-January, visitors and locals alike spend their cold nights bundled up, walking downtown to see the alluring Christmas lights at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Covering nearly all of downtown Cd’A, these lights stretch an almost mile-long segment of Sherman Avenue and total over 1.5 million across the surrounding parks, landscapes, and walkways!
4. Lighting Ceremony & Winter Cruises
A lighting ceremony also takes place in late November, highlighted by a beautiful fireworks display and cocktail party at the resort for those over 21! The Coeur d’Alene Resort also hosts winter cruises, taking you around Lake Couer d’Alene during this magical time of year. Throughout most of November and December, these cruises offer a fantastical journey to the “North Pole,” with views of the lake and a magnificent light show around the resort. This event is just one of the many winter occasions the resort hosts, so check out their other events when you’re in the area!
3. Local Downtown Restaurants
Local restaurants and cafes also gear up for the holiday and long winter season, many offering season-specific selections and offering a respite from the biting cold outside. Downtown Coeur d’Alene is home to a wide array of stellar bars, restaurants, and shopping that fits perfectly into a winter getaway. During the holidays, many local eateries also host seasonal events and community get-togethers!
2. Hiking & Walking Trails
Winter hiking is also popular in Coeur d’Alene; you can find your way out of town! The famous Tubbs Hill Park offers 120 acres of gorgeous Idaho nature miles of trails with varying difficulty, and all are conveniently located downtown. Plus, you’ll get picturesque views of a snow-laced Lake Coeur d’Alene along a majority perimeter of Tubbs Hill!
Along with Tubbs Hill, Coeur d’Alene is nestled between countless mountains and hills, all of which have varying levels of accessibility during the winter. From Canfield to the east, the Spokane River to the west, and Hayden Lake just a bit further north.
The North Idaho Centennial Trail also starts in Coeur d’Alene. It is accessible throughout winter in a few locations, offering a rare chance at snow-free walking along the Spokane River and other CDA landmarks!
1. Coeur d’Alene Ski Resorts
Coeur d’Alene is a lot more than just restaurants and lights if you’re looking to be outdoors during your winter getaway. While there isn’t any ski resort directly in Coeur d’Alene, there are a few close nearby. Whether taking the trek out of town to a local ski resort or staying local, you’ll have options. If you’re up for a trek, there are multiple snowy getaway resorts in the surrounding area, such as the world-famous Schweitzer Mountain Resort or the local favorite Silver Mountain Resort. Lookout Pass, though not technically in Idaho, is also just a short drive away and known for receiving more snow than almost any other resort in the area at nearly 34 feet per year!
Coeur d’Alene might be on the chillier side during winter, but that won’t stop you from having a blast of a time. Just remember to bundle up, plan your trips accordingly, and check out your options for local activities! But, of course, snow is hardly a problem when you’re at your favorite locally owned and operated restaurant anyway. Happy adventuring!