1. ALL THE NATURAL BEAUTY – WITHOUT THE CROWDS
For travellers wanting to get off the beaten path and escape the crowds at the major national parks, look no further than beautiful Idaho. With 31 scenic byways covering over 3,800 kilometers of road, Idaho makes for the perfect relaxed road-trip. Here are a few of our favourite must-see sights:
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Explore this vast lava plain and the surreal moon-like landscape – this site will give you an appreciation for the overwhelming force and power of volcanic activity.
This is the deepest river gorge in North America at over 2,860 meters. This dramatic gorge offers stunning views and some of the world’s finest white-water rafting.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area
With over 1,100 kilometers of trails, 40 peaks rising over 10,000 feet and more than 300 high mountain lakes, adventure and spectacular scenery are guaranteed. Outdoor recreational pursuits include camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, rafting, observing nature, photography and bicycling.
2. SMALL CITIES WITH BIG VIBES
While most Americans would pronounce Idaho’s vibrant capital city as ‘BOY-zee’ make an impression and adopt the local pronunciation of ‘BOY-see’. Boise makes a great base for those seeking outdoor adventure alongside the comforts and convenience of being in a city.
Spend your days exploring the trails and water activities along the Boise River Greenbelt and your evenings sampling Boise’s trendy local food scene. From fine dining to food trucks – there is something for everyone. For those looking to stay out later, the city has a vibrant live music scene, distillery, local wineries, breweries, and plenty of atmospheric watering-holes for a night out on the town.
Culture vultures might be interested to discover Boise’s unexpected, but well-established Basque culture. Home to the most concentrated population of Basque-Americans in the US, Boise’s ‘Basque block’ features several restaurants, a museum and market with a weekly paella bake!
Named for the lake on which it sits, Coeur d’Alene – like everything in Idaho, is surrounded by natural beauty. The lake offers beautiful views and plenty of water-based activities including boat tours, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. For those preferring to stay dry, there are dozens of scenic hikes and trails right on your doorstep – one of our favourites is the Tubbs Hill trail which follows the shore of the lake and the trailhead is conveniently close to downtown!
For those seeking a bit of culture, Coeur d’Alene has an impressive array of galleries and museums. Browse works by local and regional artists or visit one of the museums (there’s even a bordello museum!) or take a mining tour try your luck and panning for gold!
3. INDIGENOUS CULTURE
Like other western states, Idaho boasts a rich Native American heritage. Visitors have ample opportunities to learn about native culture through powwows, interpretative centres, museums and historic trails. Here are a few highlights:
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Learn the heartbreaking story of the 1877 flight of the non-treaty Nez Perce people, who embarked on a 126-day journey that spanned over 1,900 kilometers and through four states. The centre has an impressive range of fascinating artefacts and photos.
Sacajawea Interpretative, Cultural & Educational Center
Learn about the incredible legacy of America’s great historical heroine, Sacajawea, an Agai Dika Lemhi Shoshone, whose tribal lands were in what is now Idaho, played an invaluable role in the success of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. The centre is home to an impressive collection of artefacts and scenic walking trails.
Images provided by Idaho Tourism