Forces of nature (wind) tried to keep us away from Farragut State Park by knocking over trees and power lines, but we persevered and got to explore (some) of this beautiful park.

Farragut State Park entrance sign
Welcome to Farragut!

State Park Overview

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Farragut State Park in northern Idaho is located on the southern bank of the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille. This part of the state features pine trees and strikingly blue lakes, and Farragut State Park is no exception. Unlike most of the other state parks, this place has a crazy history as it was once a military base during World War II. The park is 4,000 acres and will pretty much have something for everyone to do.

Pros:

  • Interesting history
  • Frisbee golf mecca
  • Very pretty

Cons:

  • Bit of a downer with no electricity and crazy wind
  • Slightly isolated from major population centers
  • The nearest town is very small and called Athol

What To Do

  • Play some frisbee golf
  • Hike
  • Camp
  • Learn some history
  • Boat
  • There is actually a really long list of activities on the park and rec’s website for this particular park
Mad skillz.

Amenities

Like activities, this park has a lot to offer. There’s a nice visitor center, vault restrooms, showers, even an equestrian campsite. Check out their website for more information.

Crowd situation

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot speak to the usual crowd situation at Farragut. We had a really weird day there, with lots of wind and the park partially shutting down. I would guess this kept more than a few people away.

Unique to Farragut State Park

This park was used in the war efforts for World War II. Not a lot of places can boast that.

A little history about Farragut State Park

Farragut State Park was once the Farragut Naval Training Station during World War II. In 1942, there were so many soldiers and others at the base that it was the largest city in Idaho. During the war years almost 300,000 soldiers came through here for basic training. Interesting to note—not only Americans live here at that time, they even had some German prisoners of war! The U.S. Navy still maintains a submarine research center in the deep water of Lake Pend Oreille. After the war it became a college and then in 1965 it became a state park. 

The story of how it became a park is a weird one–we can thank the Girl Scouts. Farragut State Park was whipped into shape after the opportunity to host the 1965 Girl Scouts Roundup was presented to Idaho legislators. Two years after that the park hosted the 1967 World Boy Scouts Jamboree, the first one located in the United States. So we can thank the Navy and the Scouts for what we nowadays appreciate as Farragut State Park (cuz that’s normal).

Explore nearby

Our experience at Farragut State Park

We did not get to experience Farragut State Park the way I would have liked to. This bums me out, but this park is so expansive I would love to come back and see more. When we arrived to the visitor center, the rangers informed us that they were contemplating shutting down the park entrance because the wind storm was so bad. Apparently, it was so strong they worried about trees blowing over and landing on people! In addition to that, there was no power in most of Northern Idaho, which meant that the Museum at the Brig which highlighted the military history of the park was closed down. 

We told our plight to the friendly rangers (that we were on a quest to visit all the state parks and have a meaningful experience at each one before moving along) and they were nice enough to point out a hiking trail we could go on. We wandered out through the woods to check out the Lynx Trail and then headed back to the car. 

Farragut State Park is huge and has multiple entrances. We decided to at least drive past one of the frisbee golf courses and low and behold, it was still open. Knowing our skill level, we decided to try our hand at the junior course. We are not pros but had a lot of fun. It was basically like the Lynx trail, only throwing discs every now and then. 

Our last stop was to check out the Lake. We did this down at the town of Bayview, which is not technically part of the park, but did give us a stunning view of Lake Pend Oreille, so I feel confident that boating on this lake would be a worthy endeavor.

Conclusion

Farragut State is big, beautiful, and varied. Even with the park mostly shut down and no electricity, we still managed to have a great time.

Note: we visited Farragut State Park as part of our Idaho State Parks Challenge. The challenge consists of visiting all of Idaho’s state parks in one year. We made up this challenge to see a bit more of our beautiful state and help alleviate the restlessness caused by Covid-19 travel restrictions. Feel free to join the challenge!

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