Did you know that Idaho has a waterfall higher than Niagara Falls, river canyons deeper than the grand canyon, an entire town on the National Historic Register, and a lake where the U.S. Navy maintains an acoustic research center? Idaho is well known for its tasty potatoes, rugged mountains and outdoor recreation options, but here are some lesser known tidbits to chew on. There is a lot people don’t know about Idaho. Come see what we’re all about!
What Idaho waterfall is higher than Niagara Falls? Shoshone Falls, located in south central Idaho at Twin Falls is 212 feet high – 36 feet higher than Niagara Falls. The falls, rock formations and Snake River canyon are beautiful year-round, but the falls are most spectacular in the early spring before the river is diverted for irrigation. Zipline or golf in the canyon and dine on the rim.
What is the deepest canyon in North America? Hells Canyon is located in north central Idaho south of Lewiston. It is deeper than even the Grand Canyon (but not as wide.) The Snake River flows through the canyon offering fishing, rafting and jet boating. Wildlife is plentiful and visitors can see Native American pictographs and historic homesteads.
What Idaho town was once the largest town in the Pacific Northwest? Idaho City developed around gold mining in the 1860s. Today it is a true taste of the Old West, complete with wooden boardwalks, historic buildings and a pioneer cemetery. Nestled in the mountains just 45 minutes north of Boise, this little town is home to The Springs, a hot springs resort, and offers easy access to miles of hiking trails and camp sites.
Where can you find the world’s densest population of nesting eagles, hawks, and falcons? At the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area located along the Snake River in southwestern Idaho, visitors can take an airboat tour to see the nesting raptors, or enjoy nearby Celebration Park – an ancient Native American wintering ground with an interpretive center, trails and ancient petroglyphs.
Where can you find the largest captive geyser in the world? Soda Springs in eastern Idaho was discovered during an attempt to find a hot water source for a swimming pool. The geyser is now timed to erupt every hour on the hour. The extreme pressure is caused by carbon dioxide gas mixing with water in an underground chamber which allows the geyser to reach heights of 100 feet year round. Soda Springs is located on the Oregon Trail, and has plenty of historic sites to explore.
What is the most inland seaport on the west coast? Lewiston, Idaho is best known for its proximity to Hells Canyon and the recreation and fishing available on the Snake and Salmon Rivers. Cargo ships travel from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River and to the Port of Lewiston. A Columbia River cruise recently began sailing to Clarkston, WA, just across the river from Lewiston.
What was America’s first destination ski resort? Sun Valley Resort, located in central Idaho, was created in 1936. The world’s first chairlifts were installed here where local wildlife was seen sharing the mountain with European nobility and Hollywood royalty. The year-round resort offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities, including horseback riding, a gun club, ice skating, movies, concerts and more.
Which Idaho State Park was a former Naval Training Station during World War II? Farragut State Park was the former site of Farragut Naval Training Station. Ground was broken in March 1942, and by September the base population was 55,000, making it the largest city in Idaho. At the time, Farragut was the second-largest naval training center in the world. The park adjoins the deepwater Lake Pend Oreille, where the Navy still maintains a submarine research center at Bayview, the Acoustic Research Detachment. The park offers unique scenery, history, fishing, hiking, biking and more.
Where can you find the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America? Located in Southwestern Idaho, a dune within Bruneau Dunes State Park rises 470 feet above the surrounding desert floor. Hike the dunes and surrounding trails, and rent a sand board for thrilling ride. The park has fishing and campsites, or visit the Bruneau Dunes Observatory and gaze at the night sky through the Observatory’s collection of telescopes.
Where in Idaho can you find an entire town listed on the National Historic Register? Wallace, in northern Idaho, has quite the history. A true, old west, mining town that still prospers today, Wallace traces its roots back to 1884. Take a silver or gold mine tour, visit the Oasis Bordello Museum and mining museum, stroll through an ancient cedar grove or enjoy the nearby bike trails, golf courses and zip line tour.
Where were the first commercial river rafting trips in the United States launched? Idaho, and why not? No other state can claim as many recreational river miles as Idaho, with more than 3,100 whitewater river miles in the state. Outfitters offer rafting trips of all kinds for all ages and abilities, including family friendly excursions, quiet flat-water floats or thrilling whitewater. The scenery is beautiful and the memories last forever.
What is the second largest Wilderness Area in the Lower 48 (second in size only to California’s Death Valley Wilderness)? The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is a wilderness of steep, rugged mountains, deep canyons and wild, whitewater rivers. The Salmon River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in North America, deeper even than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado in Arizona. In contrast, the Salmon River Canyon is not noted for sheer walls and towering heights, but instead for the variety of landscapes visible from the river; wooded ridges rising to the sky, huge eroded monuments and bluffs and slides, picturesque castles and towers, and solitary crags.