Lewiston, in a deep canyon at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, has a distinctly Old West feel. Forest products mills and a few other industries are the economic mainstays, with Potlatch operating the largest of these mills, giving an unpleasant odor at times. Moscow, 20 miles northwest, home to the University of Idaho, is a pleasant small college town offering some entertainment and college amenities.
The nearby terrain is rugged and varied and offers plenty of outdoor and water recreation. The area is isolated; Boise to the south and Spokane to the northwest are both difficult trips over windy two-lane roads. Strong current economic readings, low crime, a pleasant climate and a lack of significant negatives contribute to a relatively high ranking.
The deep, narrow valley, in which Lewiston is located is studded with fruit and cottonwood trees and surrounded by dry grassland hills ranging from 700 to 1300 feet above the valley. Lower Granite Dam creates a 32-mile long lake on the Snake River just below the city. Although quite far north, at the same latitude as Duluth, MN, winters are mild as they are influenced by Pacific air masses.
Occasional cold snaps do occur as continental air masses move in from the north, but the valley location provides some protection. The valley location also shelters the immediate area from precipitation, and the prevailing climate is dry year round. Summers are generally dry and pleasant, but heat can build especially in the valley and 100-plus temperatures are not uncommon.