5 reasons to take an International Selkirk Loop vacation this summer

A 2-nation vacation awaits on one of our family’s favorite scenic drives

From scenic day trips to crossing the entire USA in a motorhome over six months, it’s no secret that our family of four adores road trips. One of our favorite scenic byways is the 2-nation International Selkirk Loop. This 280-mile stretch encompasses two states and one Canadian province, not to mention mountains, forests, lakes, and towns. Here are 5 reasons the ISL has become one of our favorite road trips.

BONUS: Listen to us discuss an International Selkirk Loop vacation on the Amateur Traveler Podcast

The Amateur Traveler Podcast is one of Anthony’s favorite travel podcasts. He regularly saves weekly episodes and re-listens to them for taking notes and getting ideas for our own travels. And now we’ve been on the other side of the headphones!

Here’s our discussion with host Chris Christensen about the ISL and why an International Selkirk Loop vacation is an amazing road trip summer destination:

1. The ISL is one of North America’s most epic scenic drives

We’ve driven beautiful roads and passed stunning scenery throughout the USA. California’s Highway 1? Oh yeah. The Blue Ridge Parkway? You bet. With bold mountains older than the Rockies, shimmering lakes, welcoming small towns, and quiet forests, the ISL holds its own with any scenic road in North America.

2. The loop includes northern Idaho, southern British Columbia, and northeast Washington State

While road access is excellent, the ISL encompasses parts of the USA and Canada that don’t exactly burst at the seams with visitors. Most drivers start the loop in northern Idaho, travel through southern British Columbia, and finish in northeastern Washington State. In addition to the main national scenic loop, visitors can enjoy any of the multiple “side trips” that take in other parts of these scenic regions.

3. Bicycle, motorcycle, car, RV: You can travel the loop your way

We traveled the ISL in a 25-foot Class C motorhome. During our drive we also saw trucks towing RVs, folks driving passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, and bicycle tourists. The ISL is available to pretty much any form of transportation, with lots of campgrounds, other accommodation, and amenities along the way.

4. Beautiful countryside, lakes, and towns await

Checking out art during a sculpture walk in Castlegar, BC, one of the Super Side Loops on the International Selkirk Loop.

Lakes fill this region, and much of your travels will be along or near some sort of lake or river. Tall forests hug the roadside. The loop itself travels around the Selkirk Mountains, which defines a large wilderness area. Yet the ISL also passes through many small towns, each full of history, culture, and character.

5. A 2-country road trip you can travel in as little as a week

Personally, we wouldn’t mind returning to the ISL, visiting more side trips, and returning to some of the areas we loved the most. If time is not a factor, a visitor to the ISL could spend an entire summer on the main loop and its offshoots. However, even with driving days of only a couple of hours, the loop itself is quite doable (and pleasurable) in as little as a week.

A International Selkirk Loop vacation deserves to be on your summer bucket list

Our family has visited many amazing places and taken plenty of beautiful road trips. The International Selkirk Loop continues to stand out to us as one of the most iconic, memory-making destinations we’ve visited. We hope it becomes a fond summer vacation memory for you too.

Learn more about the Selkirk Loop

Listen to our ISL discussion on Amateur Traveler

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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