North from Sandpoint, US-2 and US-95 run together through broad flat valleys dotted with small timber towns. The largest of these, Naples, is still a little bit notorious because of its connections to the 1990s battles between the FBI and local neo-Nazi sympathizers around nearby Ruby Ridge. These days things are pretty quiet, but travelers are drawn to Naples’s friendly Northwoods Tavern (208/267-1094), on US-2, a great place to meet locals over a beer and a game of pool (or three). There’s a handy general store, and not too far away is the Naples Inn (208/267-5964).
Ten miles north of Naples, and named after a ferry service across the Kootenai River that started here in 1864, Bonners Ferry (pop. 2,543) is a busy blue-collar town with a natural resource-based (read: logging and farming, especially hop-growing) economy. The Kootenai River Inn (7169 Plaza St., 208/267-8511, $99 and up) is an Native American-run casino and Best Western hotel.
Away from the highway, the Bonners Ferry area has an unusual lodging option: the Shorty Peak Fire Lookout (around $25), about 45 miles from town and a half-mile hike from the nearest road, way up in the wild Selkirk Mountains, where two people can spend the night and take in the panoramic views. For reservations and information on hiking in the surrounding wilderness, contact the USFS ranger station (208/267-5561) on US-2/95 at the south edge of town.
Between Bonners Ferry and the Montana state line, US-2 crosses the once-wild, now-dammed Moyie River on a 450-foot-high bridge.