Idaho is a state that is a little bit of everything. It is locked between the west coast and the Midwest and has some of the geography, climate, and history of each of these regions. Idaho shares a border with Canada in the north Utah in the south, with Washington and Oregon to the west and Montanan and Wyoming to the east.
Visitors to Idaho will enjoy the gorgeous landscapes ranging from rocky snowcapped mountains, to wide sweeping valleys and arid deserts. Idaho is also known for its historical points of interest as it has been right in the middle of many key historical movements including the Gold Rush and Westward Expansion.
Idaho’s favorite playground is a resort city called Sun Valley. This little mountain village is home to a world famous ski resort and it is just north of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. In Sun Valley vacationers can enjoy skiing, hiking, ice skating, trail riding, tennis, and cycling.
This Idaho city is known for its historical district and beautiful waterfall. It was renamed Idaho Falls in 1891 in honor of the rapids on the Snake River that ran right through the middle of town. Today, those rapids are a full-fledged waterfall. The town is most well known for its cultural and historic districts with an art center, museum, theater, and civic auditorium. In the historic downtown area visitors can enjoy the selection of wineries, restaurants, shops, and many art centers.
Boise River Greenbelt
The Boise River Greenbelt is a recreational and alternate transportation trail along the banks of the Boise River in Idaho. The Boise Greenbelt extends more than 20 miles beginning at Lucky Peak Dam in the east to a short distance beyond Eagle Road in the west in Eagle, Idaho. The Boise Greenbelt links over 850 acres of parks and natural areas along the Boise River. There are several sites and overlooks adjacent to the Greenbelt for wildlife viewing.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Sawtooth National Recreation Area is one of the best places to go to enjoy the great outdoors of Idaho. This central Idaho area encompasses the Boise, Challis, and Sawtooth National Forests. The area was named after the Sawtooth Wilderness which was named in turn for the rugged Sawtooth Mountains whose jagged ridges appear like a saw’s teeth.
Popular activities in the recreation area include hiking, backpacking, and camping. Sport enthusiasts can also find great spots for white water rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, or hunting.
Crater’s of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
This unique area located on the Snake River Plain features volcanic areas and one of the most well-preserved flood basalt regions in the continental U.S. The preserve was created to protect the Craters of the Moon Lava Field, which covers 618 square miles making it one of the largest in the country. Within the field are 25 volcanic cones, and 60 distinct lava flows that range in age from 15,000 to 2,000 years old.
Visitors can learn about the geology of the area at the visitor center, visit view points, or visit the Cave Area to explore lava tubes.
Top Things to Do In Idaho
Idaho Potato Museum
A visit to the “Potato State” isn’t complete without checking out the Potato Museum. The museum is housed at the former site of the Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot which was donated to the city by the Union Pacific Railroad. The exhibits of interest include the world’s largest potato crisp which measures 25 inches, a timeline of the history of potato consumption in the U.S., a Hall of Fame for contributions to the industry, and of course a gift shop filled with potato or Idaho-themed merchandise.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site was a functional prison from 1872 to 1973. From its beginnings as a single cell house, the penitentiary grew to a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a 17-foot-high sandstone wall. The stone was quarried from the nearby ridges by the residents of the penitentiary. Visitors can experience years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows.
This 1,000 foot wide waterfall on the Snake River will definitely impress any visitor. Shoshone Falls is often called the “Niagara of the west” but it actually is 45 feet taller than Niagara at 212 feet high. The best time to visit the falls is during spring when the Snake River is at its highest.
City of Rocks National Reserve
This National Reserve, also known as the Silent City of Rocks, is known for beautiful rock formations and excellent rock climbing potential. The City of Rocks is especially popular among rock climbers and during the 1980’s it was where climbers came to tackle some of America’s most difficult routes. It was also historically significant during the 1800s as the California Trail sent wagon trains past the city and many names of emigrants are still seen today written on Register Rock. Aside from its significance as a historical and climbing area, it is also notable for abundant and diverse wildlife and plants.
Silverwood Theme Park
Over the years, Silverwood has grown in both size and popularity, transforming from a small local amusement park to a regional theme park destination. Today, Silverwood is the largest theme and Water Park in the American Northwest on 413-acre and boasting more than 70 rides, slides, shows and attractions.
Things to Do In Idaho
The beautiful state of Idaho is the perfect destination for seeing the great outdoors and reminiscing about America’s West. Visitors to Idaho should make a point to spend time in one of the state’s many natural areas, but don’t forget to stop by the cities, big and small, to experience the history and culture of this unique state.