Posted by Andrew Mentzer
Many recreationists retire their outdoor gear to storage at the first sign of cooler temperatures, despite the fact that the Gem State plays host to one of the most amenable fall seasons in the Northwest. This unfortunate reality is easily curbed—even for fair-weather sportsmen/women—with a visit to one of a myriad of low-elevation Idaho destinations that boast mild late-year temperatures and countless opportunities for play.
At an elevation of 1,821 feet and just three hours from Boise, Riggins is a great mild-weather option this time of year. The Hells Canyon-Oxbow corridor to the southwest is also a nice area to explore when higher elevations start taking on snow. These areas can remain well above 50-degrees during the day in November and seldom drop below freezing for very long.
Due east of Riggins on the Main Salmon road lies numerous large white sand beaches and treed flats, some with fully maintained camping facilities. The steelhead run typically picks up steam in late September, making an October or November trip ideal. Guided multi-day fishing trips are also available in this region from a handful of outfitters.
Short hikes to epic canyon viewpoints can be enjoyed if you are feeling ambitious enough to hit the water for a cool-weather float trip, and there are even a handful of lesser-known remote hot springs adjacent to the Main. If you’re feeling truly adventurous and have a capable vehicle, make a run up the somewhat rougher French Creek Road (before the snow flies) to historic Burgdorf Hot Springs (elevation 6,152 feet)—just a stone’s throw from the north side of McCall’s Payette Lake.
The Main Salmon road towards Vinegar Creek was recently paved to past the 10-mile mark, so accessing this scenic playground is now easier than ever. If you feel like you didn’t get enough out of your summer, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the milder side of Idaho recreation.