Visitors to Idaho are not surprised by its nickname, which is the “Gem State”. After all, they find the emerald green landscape to be as vibrant as a jewel. There are also gorgeous sapphire lakes and amber colored desserts. The state is also rich in history. The Oregon Trail passes through here as does the Clearwater River, which was used by Lewis and Clark to get to the Pacific.
If you love the outdoors, then Idaho will seem like paradise to you. There are great places for hiking, camping and skiing as well as mountain biking and golfing.
With all that Idaho has to offer, it’s hard to pick just 5 spots that would be considered essential to visit. The following places, though, are some of the most distinctive sites that Idaho has to offer.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is a must-see for a variety of reasons. It takes pride of place as the first national park in not only America but also the world. It is considered the most beloved of America’s parks, filled with some spectacular scenery as well as being abundantly filled with wildlife.
There are wolves and bears as well as bison, so visitors are advised to be cautious and enjoy the wildlife from a distance. When driving, remember that bison have the right of way, so be patient if they hold up traffic. Use the time to shoot some pictures to upload to your social media feed.
While you’re here, make sure to check out Old Faithful. It erupts 17 times a day, so you can be sure of witnessing the geothermal activity.
Boise is the state capital as well as Idaho’s largest city. This historic enclave was once a stop on the Oregon Trail. In the 19th century, an estimated 400,000 pioneers came through here on their way westward. Unfortunately, approximately 10 percent died before they reached their final destination.
Today, this city is a delightful place to visit in between your outdoor adventures. You can learn more about the history of the region here – not just of the Oregon Trail but also about Boise’s Basque heritage.
The North End was named by the American Planning Association as one of America’s 10 Great Neighborhoods in 2008. For architectural buffs, it boasts beautiful older homes. For music lovers, the Gene Harris Jazz Festival is an annual tradition.
For the adventurous, the Tamarack Resort offers a wide variety of sports and activities as well as onsite lodging and dining. Designed as an all-season resort, the mountains provide over a thousand acres of trails for skiers and snowboarders. There are also trails suitable for fat tire biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
In the summer, you can go mountain biking, ziplining and white water rafting as well as hiking. There are also other watersports available on temperate Lake Cascade.
Located just 90 miles north of Boise, the resort is easily accessible.
Hells Canyon Recreational Area
Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. Carved by the Snake and Clearwater Rivers, it runs nearly 8,000 feet deep and provides a dramatic backdrop to countless miles of hiking and biking trails.
The recreation area actually divides Idaho and Oregon. It is considered an important archaeological site, as 15,000 year old human remains have been found here. There are also remnants of the more recent European explorers, making this a historic site as well.
Located in the Idaho Panhandle, Coeur d’Alene is situated just 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington. The city is famous as a mining town. When both gold and silver were discovered in what would be called Silver Valley, prospectors and miners rushed to the region. It’s also the site of Fort Sherman, named after the famous Civil War general.
Nowadays, one of the main attractions is the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s golf course. Its famous 14th hole sits on a floating green in the crystal clear waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. In the summer, people flock here for the annual Iron Man competition and in the winter, the Christmas lights cruise on the lake is a popular attraction.
Hopefully these wonderful attractions have whetted your appetite for visiting beautiful, scenic Idaho.