Welcome to Idaho
Explore country where rivers run through wild landscapes and snowcapped mountains line the horizons. Larger-than-life Idaho will keep you busy. Raft the whitecapped rapids, ski down endless slopes, catch a bounty of fish from the waterways or just take a stroll and absorb all the beauty.
Urban Base Camps for Outdoor Recreation
Even Idaho’s largest city, Boise, retains its natural beauty, with views of the Rocky Mountains beyond the glittering skyline. Although outdoor recreation beckons just beyond, there’s plenty to do within the city as well. Tour the many museums and art galleries, dine in chic restaurants, partake in the microbrewery culture or enjoy the scenery along the Boise River Greenbelt. To the east, small cities like Pocatello and Idaho Falls provide welcoming base camps for adventures in the nearby mountains and rivers. In North Idaho, the city of Coeur d’Alene is bejeweled by more than 55 glacial lakes.
Although only 1 percent of Yellowstone National Park lies in Idaho along the state’s eastern border, the Gem State serves as a welcoming gateway to this legendary park, known for its geological formations and stupefying geysers. Within the state, Shoshone Falls is an epic natural wonder, known as the “Niagara Falls of the West.” These roaring waters tumble 212 feet. After taking in the views, enjoy the surrounding park. An otherworldly landscape greets visitors at the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, where visitors can explore a 600-square-mile lava field. Formed by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago, strange formations line the trails.
The famed Snake River slithers across Idaho, providing plentiful fishing for trout anglers. For epic views, hike the 10-mile trail that runs along the south rim. Spanning the river in a graceful arc, the Perrine Bridge is a site to behold. If you can take your eyes off the epic scenery, the Little Salmon River and Silver Creek are packed with trout, while bass anglers will want to hit the CJ Strike Reservoir and Lake Lowell. For boating and watersports, Lake Cascade and Lake Coeur d’Alene are top picks, though Idaho boasts many fantastic lakes to choose from. Idaho’s whitewaters are renowned. Paddlers can find epic adventures on the Main Payette River and the Salmon River.
Idaho’s Sawtooth Range provides epic scenery across the state, but the best way to experience their beauty is to get up close and personal. Take a drive along the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, or visit the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which features 700 miles of trails, several of which take visitors to stunning alpine lakes. Cyclists won’t want to miss the Route of the Hiawatha, which is considered the crown jewel of rail-to-trail conversions. Experience the heart-stopping views from the sky-high trestles. Idaho’s epic landscapes also beckon to wildlife, providing ample hunting grounds. Head to North Idaho for some of the state’s most plentiful supply of elk.
Rodeos, Shakespeare & Fiddling
Known as one of the top rodeos in the nation, the Snake River Stampede takes place each July in Nampa. With a full week of rodeo events and community activities, there is fun for the whole family. During the summer season, Boise turns its attention to Shakespeare, thanks to the annual Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Grab a picnic and head to the banks of the Boise River to take in beautiful views and vibrant performances. Known as the “superbowl of fiddling,” the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival is held each June in Weiser. Watch some of the nation’s best fiddlers perform their toe-tapping tunes, then join the fun at the carnival.