Places We Protect

Cougar Bay Preserve


Wetland marsh with conifer trees and mountains in the distance.
Wetlands at Cougar Bay Preserve. © Megan Grover-Cereda/TNC

Diverse wildlife habitat and abundant recreational opportunities just minutes from downtown Coeur d'Alene.



Visitors walking the trails of Cougar Bay, located on the west side of Lake Coeur d'Alene, enjoy the splendor one of Idaho’s most beautiful mountain lakes. The rich wetland habitat of Cougar Bay provides an abundance of wildlife watching opportunities from birds to moose.

Bordered by towering conifer forests and lush meadows, Cougar Bay attracts migrating and nesting waterfowl, numerous shorebirds, songbirds, moose, beaver, otter and deer. Thirty-four rare animal species are known to utilize the site, including 27 species of birds.

In 2021, after years of co-management, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acquired this sensitive lakefront habitat from The Nature Conservancy. This next step in TNC's partnership with BLM ensures Cougar Bay will remain undeveloped while continuing to offer recreational opportunities for the community.



Please note: dogs are allowed but must be under owners' control at all times


Sunrise to sunset year-round


Hiking, birding, kayaking, canoeing

Explore our work in Idaho

Cougar Bay offers hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking, and wildlife and bird watching.

The entrance can be accessed from Hwy 95, at the big Cougar Bay Preserve sign.

Adjoining Cougar Bay lands are managed for hiking, recreation and wildlife habitat preservation. Public trails are connected by a small portion of trail on private land. Please be respectful of this private property to ensure continued use by future visitors.

Special notes:

  • In addition to the trails managed by the BLM, there is an older trail system located to the south. They are located on private land and not open to the public. Please be respectful and stay on clearly marked and maintained trails.
  • Dogs are allowed on trails but must be kept under close control. This is habitat for sensitive wildlife. Please keep dogs at a safe distance from wildlife to prevent conflicts.

For additional information on the lands managed by the BLM in Cougar Bay and recreational opportunities, please visit the BLM website for the John C. Pointer Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary.

Facilities: Parking is available. There are no restroom facilities.