Places We Protect

Cougar Bay Preserve


at Cougar Bay Preserve.
Wetlands at Cougar Bay Preserve. © Megan Grover-Cereda/TNC

A beautiful refuge just minutes from downtown Coeur d'Alene.




Please adhere to social distancing recommendations for public health and safety and follow the guidelines to Recreate Responsibly. Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from individuals who are not part of your household. These guidelines are subject to change without notice.


Cougar Bay

Cougar Bay, a preserve comprised of The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management property, is located just minutes from downtown Coeur d’Alene. Visitors walking the trails of the 240-acre Cougar Bay Preserve will discover a virtual wildlife nursery on the northwest shore of one of Idaho’s most beautiful mountain lakes. Bordered by towering conifer forests and lush meadows, Cougar Bay attracts migrating and nesting waterfowl, numerous shorebirds, songbirds, moose, beaver, otter and deer.

The rich wetland habitat of Cougar Bay provides an abundance of wildlife watching opportunities. Thirty-four rare animal species are known to utilize the site, including 27 species of birds.

The Nature Conservancy is protecting this sensitive lakefront area from development while offering recreational and educational 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

Explore our work in this region

The preserve offers 2-miles of 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.

Through a partnership between The Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management, the adjoining Cougar Bay lands are co-managed for hiking, recreation and wildlife habitat preservation. Conservancy and BLM 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 by the Conservancy and 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 more information, download our visitors guide and map here
For the latest on trail access and conditions, please contact Kennon McClintock, North Idaho watershed manager, at 208-267-8999 or

Parking is available. There are no restroom facilities.