There is no shortage of things to do in Idaho. Whether you're visiting for a day trip or a week-long expedition, you will find that there is plenty to entertain you. From majestic scenery to adventure attractions, Idaho has enough variety to keep even the most jaded traveler entertained. If you're planning a trip to the Gem State, be sure to add some of these incredible sights to your bucket list.
Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg is home to the longest gondola in the world. Travel the 3.1 mile-long stretch from the base of Silver Mountain up to the summit, and enjoy the picturesque views as they change from peaceful greenery to a stunning snow-capped peak. These are views that you will remember for a lifetime.
Sun Valley is home to some world-class downhill and Nordic skiing facilities. The mountain scenery is truly breathtaking, and there are trails and slopes to suit all abilities. Visit during the winter months and you can enjoy a selection of seasonal events and festivals too. If you ever get bored of skiing, you can take a trip to nearby Ketchum for shopping, dining and entertainment options.
Idaho owes its unusual topography to the lava that once flowed through what is now the central plains of the state. The Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is an area where you can see the impact of the lava up-close. There are short trails and long hikes to hike and, during the winter months, the terrain is perfect for cross-country skiing. Just outside of the park you will find a hot spring that is suitable for a lazily soaking in after a vigorous day's hiking.
Located just 14 miles northeast of Stanley, this fully intact gold dredge is an engineering marvel and a reminder of the state's gold-mining history. The long-idle mining machine is reached via a ten-mile long gravel road that follows the piles of tailings left by it. The dredge is one of the most well-preserved vessels of its type in the lower 48 states. It was donated to the U.S. Forest Service in 1966 and has been open to the public for guided tours since 1980. Learn how the old-timers got gold out of rivers, and see firsthand the impact that mining had on the area.
The Black Magic Canyon is a place that truly lives up to its name. It's one of Idaho's hidden gems, located near the Big Wood River, and is the kind of place that you would imagine fairy tales being set in. It's hard to believe that the mysterious rock sculptures are naturally carved, being the product of thousands of years of erosion rather than the work of an ancient culture. The canyon is only safe to hike at certain times of the year, and it will require some fitness to navigate, but it has many secrets to show those who explore it.
The Peregrine Fund has worked to bring back many species from the brink of extinction. They breed endangered birds of prey at this facility and release them back into the wild in Idaho and in other states. Get up-close to condors and falcons, see raptors in flight, and learn about these incredible birds and their habitats. It's hard not to be inspired by these amazing and majestic creatures.
Heyburn State Park is the oldest of state parks in the Northwest. It was established more than 100 years ago, and it remains incredibly well-preserved. Take this chance to camp out far from the city in a place with no light pollution and enjoy a truly dark night sky, with clear views of the Milky Way. Spend the day bird watching, or relaxing by the side of the gorgeous Chatcolet Lake. This peaceful and well-maintained state park lets you reconnect with nature.
Shoshone Falls is often referred to as "The Niagara of the West." This majestic waterfall is 232 feet tall, and around 900 feet wide, which makes it taller than Niagara Falls and one of the largest natural waterfalls in America. Visit during the spring, when the snowfalls from the mountains are melting, and you will see the waterfall flowing at full capacity. During the summer, some water from the Snake River, which would normally serve the falls, is diverted to reservoirs for farmers to use, so there is less water passing over the falls. Either way, the scenery surrounding the river is an inspirational sight.
Relive your childhood by taking a festive sleigh ride. There are many Idaho operators that run sleigh rides during the winter. Some companies will run snow-free riding opportunities in the warmer months too. Snuggle up under a blanket and enjoy some hot cocoa and some local stories too, putting the finishing touches on a magical riding experience.
The Sawtooth Mountains are a great source of Instagram-worthy photos and lifelong memories too. If you aren't up to hiking all the way to the summit, take a drive along the Sawtooth Scenic Byway to enjoy the scenery without the effort. Stop off in Shoshone, Ketchum and Sun Valley along the way for some more sightseeing.