Foodie's Diary: Lochsa Lodge, Clearwater National Forest

click to enlarge Lochsa Lodge
Lochsa Lodge

It was deer-thirty when we pulled into Lochsa Lodge for dinner. Deer-thirty is the dusky early evening when deer are often on the move and hard to see. A family of white tails emerged from the brush near the road. The green lawns of the peaceful, family-owned resort near the Idaho/Montana state line must offer fine dining.

Nestled in the Clearwater National Forest, 163 miles east of Lewiston and 57 miles west of Missoula, the lodge serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. There’s a selection to hearten the road weary and substantial fare to bolster those staying for fishing, hiking, camping, rafting and nearby hot springs.  Sandwiches and wraps ($8.99-$11.99) include a Baja Fish Taco and Pesto Chicken. Burgers ($6.99-$9.99) come with fat hand-cut french fries, or go native with a bison or elk patty for $1.99 more. Besides standards like steak and chicken, dinners include Grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon, blackened or glazed with a huckleberry honey ($23.99) or pan-fried Idaho Rainbow Trout with bacon, onions and mushrooms ($22.99). A kid’s menu offers choices under $6.

Free with the meal comes spectacular views of the wild Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area from the expansive back deck of the new lodge built in 2002 to replace the 1929 lodge destroyed by a chimney fire. Rustic and contemporary cabins are available for those who can’t bear to leave, or desiring Huckleberry French Toast ($8.59) for breakfast.

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