20 Mar Travel Pinspiration – Idaho Scenery That You Won’t Forget!
If you are looking for some of the most beautiful wilderness and scenic byways, then don’t overlook Idaho! Sure, I may be a little biased since it’s my home state, but I’ve lived & traveled all over the USA and overseas — and I’ve realized that Idaho really is that forgotten state between Montana / Wyoming and Washington / Oregon (yes…there’s another state in there!). Get your travel inspiration today with this amazing collection of some of our favorite Idaho scenery in this Idaho Pinspiration!
Not to be confused with Iowa in the mid-west (seriously…not even close to the same thing), Idaho is a state that is covered with wilderness and varying natural landscapes. Outdoor adventurers of all kinds flock to Idaho year-round for pristine country, and less crowds. Growing up, I was used to seeing scenes like this during a weekend road trip!
The Owyhee River area was actually near my childhood home in the southwestern part of Idaho. With deep canyons, steep cliffs, and natural hot springs, you can drive for miles without seeing another soul. While this photo is green and amazing, I can assure you it doesn’t look like this often — as it’s actually a high desert that is quite brown most of the year. But I loved going for a drive out here, and even spotting the Eagles and other Birds of Prey nesting in the rocks or flying about.
Like much of the West, Idaho is full of volcanic hot spots — which are great for finding natural hot springs! And I’m really LOVING this photo! While I’ve never been to this particular hot springs in the picture, I have swam in natural rock-pool hot springs many times growing up. It’s crazy to see the boiling water coming out of the ground, then mixing with cold river water…and arranging rocks to make perfect temperature pools. Many of these are free, but you have to know where to find them!
This picture sums up my favorite scenes in Idaho — rugged rock mountains with glaciers, and a clear high alpine lake! I’ve visited many of these over the years, and while some are accessible by car, many require quite the hike into the wilderness. Be prepared, these trails are definitely not for novice hikers. But the journey is well worth it for tranquil scenes like this.
But Idaho isn’t just about rugged wilderness, the peaceful meadows can be quite stunning as well. I recall many times pulling off the road during a drive to admire a scene just like this one above, especially as the sunsets. It’s even better if you can catch some Elk or Deer grazing or having a drink. Breathtaking nature!
My absolute favorite mountain range in Idaho (and possibly the world) is the Sawtooth Range in central Idaho. Each year we would go camping here in the summer, and what fun it was. To this day, whenever I drive to this area I must stop the car to have a look.
The famous Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho was also a frequent stop for me growing up (we were big travelers). The view from the air like this is quite interesting, because you just can’t get this perspective on the ground — but in person standing on the edge of that canyon, you can appreciate the size. It’s massive! Yes, Evel Knievel did attempt to jump it – but today, visiting the famous Perrine Bridge in the town of Twin Falls you will often see base jumpers throwing themselves off it (and it’s legal!).
Northern Idaho is simply stunning, but in different ways than other parts of the state. The town of Coeur d’Alene (French) is a popular resort town with a beautiful golf resort (famous for its floating green) and summer activities along beach and promenade. I remember living here for one summer with a friend while I had an internship in college, and I LOVED spending every weekend on the lake at a friend’s cabin. If you can swing it, definitely rent a cabin and hang out on the lake — it’s so big, and many coves are quiet. Plus, it’s so clear that it’s great for boating, skiing and swimming!
The northern panhandle of the state is full of little mining towns, such as Wallace. There’s a lot of history in this small corridor of the state, but definitely some fun to be had — especially for the adventurous who want to actually go inside some of the mines!
While the Sawtooths are my favorite mountains, my favorite lake is Red Fish Lake (in the Sawtooths). Accessible by car, you can enjoy the main lake and the “little” lake nearby as well as taking day hikes or overnight hikes to higher alpine lakes. What I love about Red Fish is that it’s where my family went each summer. There’s plenty of camping, a small hotel with cabins and a little marina / store. Other than that, there is NO development or residential anywhere along the lake! Plus, the water is SO clear (and cold). In fact, it’s called “Red Fish” because of the Sockeye Salmon that used to spawn here in massive numbers. After Salmon spawn, they die – and Sockeye’s turn a vibrant red at death. And the lake is so clear that it used to turn red during the spawning season! However, not anymore due to declining salmon numbers.
McCall, Idaho is a wonderful resort and mountain town a few hours above Boise. In recent years, it has become quite developed and the highway can get a bit of traffic — but it’s still a gorgeous area full of wonderful outdoor activities. From white water rafting or kayaking on some of the best rivers in North America, camping, hiking, skiing, hot springs, and lakes, there’s plenty to do all around this area of the State. Plus, it’s conveniently accessible to the main airport in Boise.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little scenic tour of my home state of Idaho. Looking at these amazing photos of Idaho scenery, I can’t wait to get back there to explore more this summer. I’ve moved away to travel the world and explore new areas, but I will always think of Idaho as home — and I feel spoiled to grow up with such beauty all around me.