Whether you are looking for a heart-pounding white-water rafting trip or a calm hike through the colorful fall foliage, there are plenty of outdoor activities and adventures to choose from in the unforgettable State of Idaho. There is a reason why the Idaho Tourism Board chose the slogan “Adventures in living!” One look at an Idaho map and you will see numerous attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities including 7 National Parks, 9 National Forests, 18 ski resorts and over 3,000 miles of whitewater rafting. If you are planning a trip to Idaho, here are 5 of the best outdoor activities that you may want to try.
Idaho is a downhill paradise for skiers and snowboarders alike. Unlike other states that only have ski resorts in a certain geographic region, Idaho has world-class ski resorts powdered all over the state. Grand Targhee, located on the west side of the Tetons, boasts over 2,400 acres of skiing across two mountains and receives over 500 inches of snow each year. In central Idaho, Sun Valley Ski Resort has over 2,000 acres of varied terrain. This ski resort is a favorite of many A-list celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and, of course, Bruce Willis.
2. Mountain Biking
Even if you aren’t visiting Idaho in the winter months, you may still want to spend some time at one of the many ski resorts. Most offer a network of downhill mountain biking courses as well. Tamarack Resort, for instance has over 60 miles of mountain bike trails! What could be better than riding a lift up the mountain and biking down?
There are also a number of single tracks throughout the state that you will be guaranteed to get air on; but hopefully won’t auger on the landing! They include:
Frog Lake Loop, a 24-miler in Clayton
Rocky Creek Loop, a 19-miler in Leadore
Shane’s Loop, a 7 miler in Boise
Discovery Hills Trail, a 40-miler in Salmon
Just about anywhere you travel in Idaho, you will find an abundance of trails to traverse. Some of the most stunning scenery is found in the Sawtooth Mountains. Hardcore backpackers may want to do the entire 63-mile Sawtooth Loop, but there are plenty of shorter day hikes that still offer breathtaking views and gorgeous greenery. On the east side of the Sawtooth Valley, for instance, there is an easy 3.6 mile round trip hike to Fourth of July Lake that offers forest, meadow and mountain views. Or, for something a bit more challenging, a 5.6 round trip hike to Washington Lake is a great hike as well. For spectacular fall foliage, try any of the hikes along the Teton Scenic Byway in late September or early October.
Idaho is home to well-known rivers such as the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon—all of which angler’s will appreciate. The Salmon River is set against a backdrop of majestic mountains, making it one of the most beautiful to fish. One lesser known river in the middle of the state, the Selway River, is so clean and clear that you can see trout swimming as far as 50 feet from where you are standing. Silver Creek and Henry’s Fork are also great places to drop a line in Idaho. Whichever waterway you choose, there are a number of fish native to Idaho, including:
5. River Trips
Idaho boasts more miles of whitewater than any other state in the continental United States! Whether you prefer rafting or kayaking, a trip down any of the rivers in Idaho will certainly get your adrenaline flowing! You can choose trips by length—ranging anywhere from ½ day to a week; by the type of scenery; or by difficulty. Novices will want to limit their river trip to Class I, II or II rapids, while more experienced kayakers and rafters can choose from Class IV or V rapids.
As you can see, there are a number of outdoor activities to choose from in Idaho. It truly is an adventure in living! Additionally, you may want to try snowmobiling on some of the 7,200 miles of trails, golfing on one of the 14 courses, or riding a 9-foot tall hot air balloon! Horseback riding, swimming in hot springs and sledding are all popular outdoor activities as well.
Author: Article Written by Charlie Withers, Independent travel correspondent for TwoGuysWineSupplies.com. When not touring the globe, Charlie loves to cook and hang out with his pomeranian, Snickers.
Photo Credits: OnTheSnow.com