Geography of Latah County, Idaho

Latah County, located in the northern part of the state of Idaho, USA, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, rugged landscapes, and rich natural resources. Encompassing an area of approximately 1,077 square miles, the county offers a unique blend of mountains, forests, rivers, and agricultural plains. In this comprehensive overview, we will explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features that define Latah County. Check acronymmonster to learn more about the state of Idaho.


Latah County is situated in the Palouse region of northern Idaho, bordered by the state of Washington to the west. The county seat and largest city, Moscow, is home to the University of Idaho and serves as a cultural, educational, and economic center for the region. Other notable communities in Latah County include Potlatch, Troy, and Kendrick.

The landscape of Latah County is characterized by its diverse terrain, ranging from rolling hills and fertile agricultural plains to rugged mountains and dense forests. The county is part of the Palouse region, a unique geological formation known for its rich soil, gentle slopes, and distinctive landscape.

The county is intersected by several major highways, including U.S. Route 95, which runs north-south through the county, and State Highway 8, which traverses the county from east to west. These transportation routes provide access to the county’s communities and attractions and serve as important conduits for travel and commerce.


Latah County experiences a continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The region’s climate is influenced by its elevation, proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and the prevailing weather patterns of the inland Pacific Northwest.

Summer temperatures in Latah County typically range from the 70s to 80s°F (21-27°C), with occasional heatwaves pushing temperatures above 90°F (32°C). The region enjoys long daylight hours during the summer months, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

Winters in Latah County are cold, with average temperatures ranging from the 20s to 30s°F (-6 to -1°C). Snowfall is common, particularly in the higher elevations, where several feet of snow can accumulate during winter storms. Residents and visitors alike enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in the nearby mountains.

Spring and fall offer mild, pleasant weather conditions in Latah County, with temperatures gradually warming in the spring and cooling in the fall. These transitional seasons are favored by residents and visitors alike for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and exploring the region’s natural beauty.

Rivers and Lakes:

Latah County is blessed with an abundance of rivers, creeks, and lakes, which play integral roles in the region’s ecology, economy, and recreation.

The primary river flowing through Latah County is the Palouse River, which originates in the mountains of northern Idaho and flows southward through the county before joining the Snake River. The Palouse River supports diverse aquatic habitats and provides opportunities for fishing, boating, and other water-based activities.

Several smaller rivers and creeks also meander through Latah County, draining into the Palouse River and its tributaries. These watercourses provide habitats for aquatic species, support riparian vegetation, and offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking.

In addition to its rivers and creeks, Latah County is home to several lakes and reservoirs, including Elk Creek Reservoir and McConnell Mansion Pond. These bodies of water provide opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and picnicking, attracting residents and visitors alike to their shores.

Natural Resources:

Latah County is rich in natural resources, including forests, agricultural land, and mineral deposits, which support a variety of ecosystems and economic activities.

The county’s forests, located primarily in the northern and eastern parts of the county, provide valuable timber resources for lumber, paper production, and other wood products. Douglas fir, western red cedar, and ponderosa pine are common species found in the county’s forests, supporting wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and scenic beauty.

Agriculture is another important component of Latah County’s economy, with fertile soils and a favorable climate conducive to farming. The county’s agricultural sector produces a variety of crops, including wheat, barley, oats, and peas, as well as livestock such as cattle, sheep, and poultry. The Palouse region is renowned for its productive farmland, rolling hills, and iconic barns.

Latah County also contains valuable mineral resources, including deposits of gold, silver, lead, and zinc. Mining has historically been an important industry in the region, with several mines operating in the early 20th century. While mining activity has declined in recent decades, the industry continues to play a role in the county’s economy and cultural heritage.


Latah County, Idaho, offers a diverse array of geographical features, climate patterns, and natural resources that contribute to its unique character and appeal. From its rolling hills and fertile plains to its rugged mountains and dense forests, the county boasts a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation, economic development, and cultural enrichment. As stewards of this remarkable landscape, residents and visitors alike are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and protecting Latah County for future generations to enjoy. Through sustainable practices, conservation efforts, and a commitment to environmental stewardship, Latah County will continue to thrive as a vibrant and cherished part of northern Idaho’s landscape.