Let’s go hiking! Five of my favorite kid-friendly hikes in Stanley and McCall

Reposted with permission from Steve Stuebner, Stueby’s Outdoor Journal

The summer is fast slipping away! There’s only a couple of weeks left before school starts, so time is running short to get the kids and family out of town for some mountain adventure in our state’s top scenic locations in SW Idaho — Stanley and McCall.

For my outdoor tip this week, I’m recommending five kid-friendly hikes in these cool, high-elevation areas:

4th of July Lake

4th of July Lake (courtesy panoramio.com)

1. Short hike to 4th of July Lake and Washington Lake, Stanley area – This one is ideally suited for young kids because it’s not a very long hike. It’s about 1.7 miles to 4th of July Lake, and 2.8 miles to Washington Lake. Very easy hiking in a beautiful mountain setting in the White Clouds! Access the trailhead by driving south of Stanley to Iron Creek Road on the left side of Idaho 75. Take the road about 10 miles to the trailhead. Bring your flower book.

Alpine Lake

Alpine Lake has some nice camping spots.

2. Iron Creek Trail to Alpine Lake or Sawtooth Lake, Stanley area – The Iron Creek Trailhead is located a few miles west of Stanley. Follow the Iron Creek Road to the trailhead and park. It’s 8 miles out and back to Alpine Lake and 10 miles out and back to Sawtooth Lake. Alpine Lake lies in a shady forested setting. Sawtooth Lake is much higher with open views of the Sawtooth Mountains. It’s a hefty hike to either location on a steep mountain trail, but your kids will do great. I also see a lot of young kids backpacking to Alpine Lake on this hike.

Marsh Creek

Marsh Creek

3. Marsh Creek fishing special, Stanley area - Fish for native westslope cutthroat trout on the Marsh Creek trail (single-barbless hooks only; catch-and-release) in this key tributary of the famed Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It’s a 5-mile hike one-way from the trailhead to a glory hole at the junction with Bear Valley Creek. It’s worth the walk if you’re a diehard. Access the trailhead by taking Idaho 21 to the Lolo Campground and Bradley Boy Scout turnoff in the Cape Horn area. Turn left and proceed to the Lolo Campground. The trailhead is just past the campground.

Snowside Lake Trail

Snowside Lake Trail

4. Snowslide Lake, McCall - It’s a steep two-mile hike on a rocky trail to Snowslide Lake, but it’s a lovely forested lake with a bunch of small brook trout available for kid fishing. My son, Drew, and I hiked up there with Wendy and Huck last weekend. Had a great time! Took us about an hour to get to the lake at a swift pace.

Huckleberry Trail in Ponderosa State Park.

Huckleberry Trail in Ponderosa State Park.

5.Huckleberry Trail, McCall - Ponderosa State Park built an addition to the Huckleberry Trail late last fall, and hikers and mountain bikers are really enjoying it — for good reason. The trail runs alongside the east side of the peninsula, providing great views of this quiet side of Payette Lake. The trail starts off of the Fox Run Trail, best accessed from Pilgrim Cove Road. Follow the Huckleberry Trail along the lake for 2-3 miles until you join the main Huckleberry Trail. Continue on if you wish and enjoy a more deep forest setting to the top of Osprey Point.

There you have it!
Have fun!

Idaho Small Towns Promise Big Memories

Idaho is known for scenic vistas, historic sites and endless outdoor recreation. Quite often these beautiful areas and fun activities are accessed through some of the state’s smaller towns. Offering lodging, fuel, groceries, dining and a variety of amenities and services, these rural oases will keep you comfortably supplied and ready for your next adventure. Read on to learn more about some of these towns and the recreation they offer.

Historic Wallace.

Historic Wallace.

Wallace, in northern Idaho.

Gold and silver were discovered in Wallace in 1882 and the Silver Valley area became the largest silver mining region in the world. There are many activities and historical sites to explore.

Museums, including the Northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum, Oasis Bordello Museum, and the Wallace District Mining Museum tell stories from the past.

Underground gold and silver mine tours and gold panning – see what it’s like to mine precious minerals.

Bike the Route of the Hiawatha – 15 miles of tunnels, trestles and stunning views.

Silver Streak Zip Line – Two courses have heights up to 300′ above ground at elevations ranging from 3,349 – 3,773′.

Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park is just 30 minutes away and home to the oldest building in Idaho. It was built by the Coeur d’Alene Indians with assistance and direction from the Jesuit priests, known as Black Robes.

 

Wheat fields in the Palouse Region near Moscow.

Wheat fields in the Palouse Region near Moscow.

Moscow, in north-central Idaho.

The eclectic mix of small-town friendliness and college-town energy found in Moscow makes it a perfect vacation destination.

Play a round of golf at the University of Idaho Golf Course.

At the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center learn about this noble breed and its ties to the Nez Perce Tribe.

Bike Moscow Mountain or one of the many surrounding trails. Local bike trail maps are available.

Raft the Salmon River or jet boat in Hells Canyon for a thrilling experience that’s sure to make memories.

Local wineries include Camas Prairie Winery in Moscow and Colter’s Creek in nearby Juliaetta. The farmers market celebrates local farmers, artists, craftspeople and musicians through October.

 

 

Play waves at Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade.

Play waves at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade.

Cascade, in southwestern Idaho.

This small town on the banks of Lake Cascade is perfect for those who love fishing, boating and spectacular scenery.

Kelly’s Whitewater Park, on the north fork of the Payette River is the perfect place to hone your kayaking or whitewater skills, or just watch and be amazed. Tube and watercraft rentals are available in town.

Camp at Cascade Lake State Park and enjoy swimming, fishing and hiking.

Take in a movie at the newly renovated Roxy Theatre in downtown Cascade. The theatre opened for her first film July 14th 1939. A 2013 upgrade kept many of the original elements intact while adding digital cinema upgrades. This beautiful single screen theater offers great service and first run movies.

Visit Tamarack Resort in nearby Donnelly. Golf the award winning Osprey Meadows golf course, bike and hike the IMBA designed mountain bike trail system, fly on the Tamarack Canopy Zipline tour, play in the water or enjoy the luxurious amenities of the lodge overlooking the lake.

Visit Gold Fork Hot Springs in nearby Donnelly, with five mineral-rich outdoor pools set amidst the cool shade of the pines.

Visit historic Roseberry, a Finnish style ghost town.  Enjoy their many special events and visit the General Store and other historic buildings.

Hagerman Horse fossil.

Hagerman Horse fossil.

Hagerman Valley, in southern Idaho.

The Hagerman area offers pastoral countryside and a wealth of wonders to discover. Once off the interstate, pause at the viewpoint and take in the captivating vista of the valley that unfolds below. Follow Highway 30 on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway to continue your journey.

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument holds the richest fossil deposits of the Pliocene Epoch, about 3.5 million years ago. Stop at the visitor center to see a replica of the Hagerman Horse and learn about the Minidoka Relocation Center, a National Historic Site.

Natural springs gush from the canyon walls, providing a picturesque and naturally flowing cold water environment for nurturing trout. Visit the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery to learn more.

Visit any of the four units of Thousand Springs State Park: Malad Gorge, Billingsley Creek, Niagara Springs and Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Preserve, a 350 acre state park with a 20-ft waterfall and crystal clear springs.

The Thousand Springs Scenic Byway leaves the valley floor and emerges at Buhl, a delightful town with a thriving arts community. Just south of town, see Balanced Rock. At 48-ft tall and 40 tons, it is balanced on a pedestal of just 17 x 36 inches. Have a picnic in Balanced Rock Park or soak your bones at Miracle Hot Springs.

 

Salmon River near Challis.

Salmon River near Challis.

Salmon/Challis area in central Idaho.

Salmon is known as the whitewater capital of the world because of its access to the Main Salmon River, while Challis has a rich mining history and is home to the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. Together, they offer a world of recreational opportunities.

Visit Land of the Yankee Fork State Park located along the Salmon River Scenic Byway. The interpretive center near Challis has exhibits, a gold panning station, audiovisual programs, and friendly personnel to provide information on local mining history and area attractions. Visit the nearby ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer and Bayhorse. The Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, Custer Motorway and Challis Bison Jump are sites within the park.

The sister cities of Custer and Bonanza were once booming with people set on finding their futures in gold. Beginning in 1870, the area attracted gold seekers searching its streams and mountains. But the gold eventually played out leaving Custer and Bonanza ghost towns by 1911. Today, restored buildings, the tales of the miners and secluded cemeteries are all that remain. A trip to Bayhorse, an 1880s era ghost town will help you understand the trials and tribulations of this historic site.

See the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, a 988-ton monster barge that searched the gravels of the Yankee Fork for gold as recently as 1952, recovering an estimated $1,037,322 in gold and silver.

The Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center in Salmon is dedicated to honoring and providing education about America’s great historical heroine, Sacajawea, an Agai Dika Lemhi Shoshone, and her role in Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.

At the Lemhi Historical Museum in Salmon, see artifacts with new eyes to better understand the American West and Lemhi County history.

Hiking, horseback riding, rafting, fishing, wildlife watching and hot springs are just some of the activities available in the SalmonChallis area.

 

Soda fountain at the Corner Drug in Driggs.

Soda fountain at the Corner Drug in Driggs.

Teton Valley in eastern Idaho.

The communities of Driggs, Tetonia and Victor comprise the less crowded side of the Teton Mountains. The valley is a rural agricultural area perched at 6200 feet in elevation with outstanding outdoor recreation year-round.

Fish the Teton River, Snake River, and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River with or without an outfitter, for exceptional trout fishing.

The Ashton-Tetonia Trail opened in 2010 and extends nearly 30 miles between the two towns. This scenic gravel trail includes five bridges and restored rail trestles. The 8-mile Victor to Driggs Trail connects the two towns with the Teton Mountains in the backdrop.

Explore the Teton Valley Museum on Hwy. 33 and the Warbirds Museum at the Driggs Airport.

Relax and unwind at Teton Springs Lodge and Spa. Enjoy fabulous restaurants, beautiful scenery, relaxing spa treatments, luxurious accommodations, on-site fly fishing and world-class golf at Headwaters Golf Club.

Take a hot air balloon ride with Teton Balloon Flights and enjoy picturesque views of the mountain ranges and forested wilderness.

Mount up for a scenic horseback ride with Dry Ridge Outfitters or Linn Canyon Ranch.

Grand Targhee Ski Resort has special events throughout the non-skiing season and great hiking.

Harriman State Park is a great place for wildlife watching, fishing and historical exploration.

You’re just a short distance from Yellowstone National Park…. Use the Teton Valley as your base camp. The new Teton GeoTourism Center is a great resource for the Grand Teton Yellowstone loop.

Private soaking pool at Aura Soma Lava in Lava Hot Springs.

Private soaking pool at Aura Soma Lava in Lava Hot Springs.

Lava Hot Springs in southeastern Idaho.

Lava Hot Springs is a popular family-friendly resort town southeast of Pocatello. Once a sacred gathering place for the Bannock and Shoshone Indians, today it is a popular spot for travelers world-wide seeking its soothing waters.

Soak in any of four separate pools ranging in temperature from 104 to 110 degrees. Cool off in the Olympic-sized pool, complete with water slide and kids’ fun zones. Or enjoy private soaking pools at area hotels.

Float the Portneuf River on an inner tube. Tube rentals are offered in town.

Feel the thrill with Lava Zipline Adventures.

Enjoy a wagon ride and dinner with western entertainment with Baker Ranch Wagon Rides.

Downata Hot Springs, south of Lava Hot Springs, offers pools, a water slide, driving range, mini golf and more.

Soda Springs, just to the east of Lava, is home to the only captive geyser in the world today. See it erupt, shooting gallons of sparkling water over 100 feet into the air every hour, on the hour.

Byway Bites: Foodie Stops Along the Western Heritage Scenic Byway

To drive the Western Heritage Historic Byway is to experience “wild” Idaho. Museums, birds of prey, ancient sites, and mining towns along with the rugged outdoors invite travelers to create their own unique Idaho frontier adventure. The Birds of Prey National Conservation area is well worth a visit. It is the home to the largest population of nesting raptors in the world.

Another historical site is the Swan Falls Dam. This dam was the first powerhouse on the Snake River and is known as the birthplace of modern electricity – with the same standards used throughout the world today. As you descend into the Snake River Canyon, imagine a trip back in time as you witness the volcano path that created today’s Yellowstone Park and a field of hundred-ton boulders that were deposited by one of the largest floods in geologic history. And still visible today ready for you to discover, are thousand-year-old petroglyphs inscribed by early Native Americans.

Begin your route in Kuna with a visit to the Kuna Visitor’s Center which can provide orientation for all the byway attractions. And if you are interested in food and wine on this byway, Kuna is the place!

Indian Creek Winery

Visit one of the best wineries of the Northwest, a hidden gem with magnificent summertime gardens boasting hundreds of colorful dahlias, dancing butterflies and home-town charm. It’s a true shangri-la located only 30 minutes outside of Boise.

Family-owned and operated, Indian Creek Winery truly believes in that old saying “Work hard, play hard.” Bill and Mui Stowe have been working hard since 1982 to craft premium wines from the best grapes in the heart of Idaho’s Snake River Valley appellation. Second generation Tammy Stowe-McClure and husband, Mike, stepped on board in 2005 to help continue the success of this growing winery. All the hard work has been paying off – taking home gold medals from several wine competitions and receiving recognition as “Idaho Winery of the Year” in Wine Press Northwest’s spring ’08 edition.

Indian Creek produces a wide variety of wine, and most are available for sampling in the winery tasting room. Our most popular wines are the Pinot Noir, Star Garnet, Mountain Syringa, White Riesling and White Pinot along with their small-lot wines: Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, Viognier, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Man’s Best Friend Malbec, Ragin’ Rapids Late Harvest Riesling, and our Ruby Dahlia Port.

Besides the tasting room, Indian Creek offers custom wine labeling, wine bars, a wedding and special event venue, group tours, and  a variety of events throughout the year. The wine club lets members take full advantage of special releases, wine discounts, and gift shop discounts.

El Gallo Giro

Culinary Specialist Patrick Rolfe visits with Enrique Contreras, owner of the famous El Gallo Giro restaurant in Kuna, where authentic Hispanic cuisine has been served for fifteen years…

Q: Enrique, tell me about your background a bit on how you got into the restaurant business.

A: I was born in Mexico where my father was a farmer in a village smaller than Kuna! My parents owned a Taqueria, which I worked at. But I had bigger dreams of opportunities in the restaurant business. My mentor, Lucio Prado first hired me as a dishwasher at his restaurant Acapulco’s in Boise. Within six months I was a server, and shortly thereafter when the chef quit I was offered the job of running the kitchen on the spot! Eventually I worked up to managing two of Lucio’s restaurants and then buying one. It has been a lot of hard work which I couldn’t have done by myself. I credit my wife Ana Pez for standing by me and finding ways to differentiate our restaurant. And our main success is derived from the warm embrace of the city of Kuna.

Q: What are some of your signature dishes?

A: We are very well known for our Camerones Borrachos, referred to as “drunken shrimp” (the shrimp is soaked in Tequila)! It is served in a traditional lava rock bowl which brings out the rich red color of the sauce. Also, our fresh table-side guacamole creates a fun atmosphere while a server whisks together a custom guacamole to each customer’s liking. But our famous street tacos are just like Mom used to make, so they are very popular. For me personally, I like to create specials using seafood. It is always a great platform for a chef to explore.

Q: Is there one dish you love but don’t like to make?

A: Yes, tamales! To make them right they take a lot of time. So we usually make them fresh for a special on Wednesday nights and of course for Christmas… that’s a tradition! We follow my mother’s recipe as she has made tamales all her life. This includes our scratch recipe for the masa from grinding the corn and then adding milk and cotija cheese. Most restaurants skimp by adding water and lard.

Q: What’s it like to be essentially one of the only restaurants on the Western Heritage Historical Byway?

A: The local community enjoys the richness of the byway year-round. This is a very tight community where everyone participates in supporting one another. But for our traveling customers, they tell me almost every time, “I’m stopping by the birds of prey”!

Patrick enjoyed some street tacos and table-side guacamole. It was fantastic! Upon leaving, he spoke briefly to Crystal, the manager who radiates with pride about working for Enrique.

“I want to emphasize Enrique’s commitment to El Gallo Giro because it goes far beyond words. Enrique is involved in every aspect that happens on a day-to-day basis. He also shows commitment to the customers by going around to each table to make sure that the customers’ experience is only the best. People often ask when we will expand and branch off, but Enrique is only one person and a chain of restaurants wouldn’t be the same without Enrique being there. He has a special way of making all the customers feel like family.”

Western Heritage Historic Byway

Location: Beginning at exit 44 off Interstate 84, follow Idaho 69 southbound for 8 miles to East Avalon Ave. in Kuna. Turn south on Swan Falls Road and continue 21 miles to the dam. Follow signs to Celebration Park, then head north to Ferry Rd. From Ferry Road go south on Idaho 45 to the Snake River.

Length: 47 miles. Allow 1.5 hours for travel.

Travel & Dining – Check out these Byway Bites
Sawtooth Scenic Byway Bites
Thousand Springs Byway Bites
Ponderosa Pine Byway Bites

#bywaybites

#18 Summers August Vacation Ideas

It is August – the last official month of summer. Whether it’s your 6th summer together as a family, or your 14th, there is still plenty of time to make it a memorable one. We’ve been sharing vacation ideas over the last two months, covering bike trails, hot springs, whitewater rafting, jet boating, unique geological attractions, cool museums and interesting trivia about some of our most popular sites. This month we will add theme parks, water parks, zip lines and lake recreation to our list of summer memory makers.

Cool off on Silverwood's Thunder Canyon ride.

Cool off on Silverwood’s Thunder Canyon ride.

Be sure to check out our 18 Summers docu-memory at 18Summers.us and enter to win an awesome family vacation in Sun Valley. The giveaway ends August 31, so head to 18Summers.us now to enter.

Theme Parks/Water Parks

Idaho’s only theme park and the largest in the northwest, Silverwood Theme Park has over 70 rides, slides, shows and attractions, including four roller coasters, Boulder Beach Water Park, a steam engine train, live entertainment, restaurants and more. A Silverwood pass also gives you access to Boulder Beach Water Park, where kids from age one to 100 can cool off on crazy slides, a lazy river or toddler friendly splash zones. Located just north of Coeur d’Alene guests can take advantage of hotel lodging and ticket packages, simply buy your tickets online and save $4.00 each.

Triple Play is another family fun park located in northern Idaho near Coeur d’Alene. Triple Play has activities such as laser tag, arcade games, bumper boats, bowling go karts and more. Raptor Reef is an indoor water park with a wave pool and children’s lagoon with a 2-story play structure complete with slides, water guns and a tipping bucket. Guests can ride one of the three amazing slides, one banking in at over 390 feet, or just lean back and relax in the indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi while the kids play. Triple Play is conveniently connected to the Holiday Inn Express where stay & play packages are available. Some area hotels also offer discounted tickets.

Idaho has more fun parks sprinkled around the state, including Lava Hot Springs, and Roaring Springs and Wahooz Family Fun Zone in Boise. Guests at Silver Mountain’s Morning Star Lodge will enjoy the indoor Silver Rapids water park year-round.

Lovely Lakes

Looking to enjoy water in a more natural setting? Head to one of Idaho’s many lakes. We have too many to list them all, but here are some of the more popular spots to enjoy the cooling waters.

Soft sand beaches on Payette Lake.

Soft sand beaches on Payette Lake.

Redfish Lake, Stanley – Swim at the beach, or the marina has paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and a few different types of boats to rent. Lake cruises and shuttle rides to the main trailhead for the Redfish Lake Drainage are also available.

Payette Lake, McCall – Swim at the Beach, or rent jet skis, kayaks, paddle- boards and boats at Mile High Marina. Enjoy an afternoon or evening scenic cruise with McCall Lake Cruises, or head to Ponderosa State Park for swimming, fishing, boating and camping with lake views.

Lake Cascade, Cascade – Swim at the Beach, take a water sport boat tour or rent, jet skis, waverunners, boats and anything you might need for water skiing/boarding/tubing at Invert Sports. Tamarack Resort overlooks the lake, and rents kayaks and paddleboards from the golf shop. Lake Cascade State Park is situated on the southwestern side of the lake and offers lake view camping, swimming and much more.

Fun in the waters of Priest Lake.

Fun in the waters of Priest Lake.

Priest Lake, north of Sandpoint – Way up in northern Idaho, Priest Lake is a hidden gem. Some of the lodging properties along the lake are beachfront, making swimming fun and relaxing super-easy! Blue Diamond Marina offers rentals, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and a variety of power boats. Priest Lake State Park also offers excellent day use areas with large sandy beaches with designated swimming areas. Learn about more access points here.

Lake Coeur d’Alene, at Coeur d’Alene – There are more than 55 lakes within easy driving distance of Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho, but none more scenic and full of activities than Lake Coeur d’Alene itself. There is plenty to do: swimming, lake cruises, kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, sea plane tours and lakeside dining. Want a real thrill? Try the Jetovator!

Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint – Lake Pend Oreille is a deep water lake and home to a U.S. Navy submarine research center. Its miles of shoreline are dotted with rental cabins and resorts and Farragut State Park offers public beach access and spectacular lake views. Sandpoint’s City Beach is a local favorite for swimming or launching a kayak. There are many marinas around the lake offering a variety of rentals and services or take a narrated lake cruise aboard the Shawnodese.

Turquoise waters of Bear Lake.

Turquoise waters of Bear Lake.

Bear Lake, near MontpelierBear Lake spans the border of Idaho and Utah in Idaho’s southeastern corner. Often called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its intense turquoise blue water, the lake is best known for its waterskiing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing and fishing. Paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, and watercraft of all sorts can be rented at Bear Lake area shops and marinas.

Zip Line Tours

There are so many fun things to do in Idaho! Moving on to ziplines…Idaho has seven to delight and entertain. There are often weight requirements, so check with the zip tour company to make sure you little ones aren’t too little or to see if they can ride tandem with an adult.

Silver Streak Zipline Tours - Located near the historic town of Wallace in northern Idaho, segments on both courses of this platform-based zip course allow riders to fly like superman. Zippers will travel about 300 feet above ground with beautiful views of Wallace and the surrounding mountains.

Zip the Snake offers an educational tour of the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls. Riders will learn about the history, geology, and wildlife in the Snake River Plain as they travel the lines.

Schweitzer Mountain Zip Line stretches over 700 feet, beginning at the resort village and running towards Lake Pend Oreille, offering spectacular mountain and lake views year-round.

Riding the lines at Zip Idaho.

Riding the lines at Zip Idaho.

Zip Idaho in Horseshoe Bend provides a unique eco-adventure that combines Idaho’s longest zip lines with tree based canopy-tour style zip lines. The course offers seven lines, ranging from 200 to 2,030 feet in length, and beautiful mountain views.

Tamarack Canopy Zip Line Tour, located near Donnelly in the southwest Idaho mountains, promises a thrilling, action packed mountain tour experience. Eight zip lines range in length from 250-800 feet, whisking zippers above 4,425 feet of rugged, scenic terrain with a 1,700 change in elevation.

Heise Hot Springs Zip Line in Ririe in southeast Idaho has seven zip lines covering nearly a mile of terrain. During the 2-hour tour, riders learn the history of Heise Hot Springs while enjoying the beautiful mountains and the valley and river below.

Lava Zip Line Adventures near Lava Hot Springs in southeast Idaho, features a course with three lines of 800,1000 and 1500 feet in length. The two and one half hour tour travels through a scenic canyon with views of the Portneuf River, Petticoat Peak and Haystack Mountain.

Go to www.visitidaho.org for lodging options and more travel ideas.

New Idaho Bed & Breakfast Map Shows Lodging Along Idaho Bike Routes

Log Spirit Bed & Breakfast in Idaho's panhandle.

Log Spirit Bed & Breakfast in Idaho’s panhandle.

Who doesn’t enjoy the comforts of a nice soft bed and delicious home cooked breakfast? Did you know you could enjoy these comforts while biking through Idaho? You can, and it is easier than ever. The Idaho Bed & Breakfast Association (IBBA) has created a map that shows the state’s most popular bike routes and the bike friendly bed and breakfasts, inns and lodges found along the way. Whether you pedal paved paths, mountain trails or 2-lane highways, you are sure to find a fluffy mattress ready to cradle your saddle weary bones.

This list of trails and routes will get you started on a path to biking in Idaho. To request the Idaho Bed & Breakfast Association’s bike map please email info@idahobba.com or call 208-765-5200.

The Panhandle Region – 20 IBBA member properties
Tunnel entrance on the Route of the Hiawatha.

Tunnel entrance on the Route of the Hiawatha. Credit Carlos Ferrari

There are many trails in northern Idaho that showcase spectacular scenery. The Route of the Hiawatha is the most celebrated trail in the state and features tunnels, trestles and historical markers. The Milwaukee Road Trail connects the communities of Person to Calder and passes through the scenic St. Joe River Valley. This 36-mile trail has grass, stones, dirt and gravel so choose your bike equipment carefully. The North Idaho Centennial Trail hugs the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River for 26 miles and passes through the city of Coeur d’Alene. The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is 72 beautiful miles of paved trail with scenic Chatcolet Trestle crossing over the southern end of the lake. The International Selkirk Loop is a series of highways circling through Idaho, Washington and Canada. A beautiful route, it is considered intermediate to challenging due to terrain and highway road conditions.

Land of Rivers in north central Idaho – 15 IBBA member properties

The Bill Chipman Palouse Trail is a 7-mile path in Moscow is flat, wide and offers opportunities for bird and wildlife watching.   The 11-mile Lewiston Levee Parkway Trail is part of the 25-mile Clearwater and Snake River National Recreation Trail that starts near Hells Gate State Park. The

Potlatch River along the Ed Corkill Trail.

Potlatch River along the Ed Corkill Trail. Credit Kendrick-Juliaetta & 7 Ridges

5.3 mile Ed Corkill Trail connects the communities of Juliaetta and Kendrick. Bald eagles and osprey are frequently seen along the trail. Travel for 12-16 miles between Moscow and Troy on the Latah Trail, a former right-of-way of the historic Moscow to Arrow railroad. The BikeCentennial 76 Trail (or Trans-America Trail) begins at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center on Hwy. 12 and covers 275 miles in Idaho. This road route follows Highways 12, 95 and 71 with views of rivers, dams, Hells Canyon and the Salmon River Gorge.

The High Country in central Idaho –7 IBBA member properties

Ride into Idaho’s frontier mining history at Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. Try your hand at gold panning and explore the ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer and Bayhorse. The Wood River Trails are a system of paved multi-use trails connecting the communities around Sun Valley and Ketchum. The 30 miles of trails offer spectacular scenery and easy access to in-town amenities. The Sun Valley to Stanley route along Highway 75 slices through the serrated Sawtooth Mountains. This stunning ride begins with a 2,800-foot climb and ends with an epic 2,500-foot descent winding past several hot springs.

Yellowstone Teton Territory in eastern Idaho – 5 IBBA member properties
Rail trestle on the Ashton-Tetonia Trail.

Rail trestle on the Ashton-Tetonia Trail. Credit Idaho Parks

The Ashton-Tetonia Trail opened in 2010 and extends nearly 30 miles between the two towns. This scenic gravel trail includes five bridges and restored rail trestles. The 8-mile Victor to Driggs Trail connects the two towns with the Teton Mountains in the backdrop. The multi-use Idaho Falls Greenbelt runs adjacent to downtown and the falls. It connects to Freeman Park in the North and other river pathways to the south making a 10-mile loop. The Ashton Trail System offers a series of routes following lightly traveled public roads around Ashton. The Trestle Loop has moderate hills and crosses Fall River twice, one on a trestle. The Grainville Loops follows the Trestle Loop until Grainville Road and crosses the river on Hwy. 32 (use caution). The Warm River loop follows Hwy 47 for 5 miles and then has 5 miles of gravel so mountain-type bikes are suggested. The Ora Loop, west of Ashton, is relatively flat, lightly traveled and crosses the Henry’s Fork Twice. The Lamont Loop is paved with moderate climbs. All offer beautiful scenery.

Canyon Country in southwestern Idaho – 10 IBBA member properties

The Bear Basin Trail System is single track system near the town of McCall. There are two flow trails, a pump track and around 15 miles of beginner to intermediate cross-country singe track. The 22-mile, paved Boise Greenbelt is one of the area’s most popular, known for its scenic river views, wildlife and access to parks and recreation sites. The Ridge to Rivers Trail System is an interconnected 130-mile network of roads and trails snaking through the hills above Boise. The trails link neighborhoods with public lands and people with nature. The Weiser River National Recreation Trail offers 80-plus miles through desert canyons, evergreen forests and alpine meadows between the towns of Tamarack and Weiser. The trail has stone, dirt and gravel surfaces and includes over 60 historic rail trestles and frequent wildlife sightings.

View along the Weiser River Trail.

View along the Weiser River Trail. Courtesy WRT

Magic Valley in south central Idaho – 4 IBBA member properties

Located in Twin Falls, Auger Falls trail is wide, relaxing and easy. Be sure you ride the full six miles of this gravel trail in the Snake River Canyon to see the water falls. Located in Jerome, the Devil’s Corral trail head is located at the top of the grade on Shoshone Falls Road west. The 12-mile round trip ride takes riders to Devil’s Corral on varying surfaces, including stones, so use caution.

Snake River Plains in southeastern Idaho – 6 IBBA member properties

The 13-plus mile Portneuf Greenway trail system follows the Portneuf River through Pocatello connecting nearby cities, parka and Old town Pocatello, and leads to a network of trails. The Pocatello City Creek Management Area is a network of trails covering a variety of ability levels. Riding from March to November, beginners can cruise Rim Trail, Bench and Bail trails for a warm up. Intermediates will enjoy City Creek, Serengeti and The Grove Advance. Over the Top, 911 and Ritalin trails will challenge skills and fitness.

For additional rides and trail information please contact the Chambers of Commerce or Visitors Bureaus in the towns or regions you are interested in. Find more information and Idaho vacation ideas at www.visitidaho.org.

Fourth of July Celebrations in Idaho

Fireworks light up the Idaho skies.

Fireworks will light the skies across Idaho.

Ahhhh, July. Summer has arrived in full force. Barbecues, apple pie, lemonade, water gun fights, baseball games and sleeping under the stars are all top of mind. Summer festivals from around the state are filling up the calendar and Fourth of July celebrations lead the way. These Independence Day celebrations will keep your summer rolling in the right direction, with fun favorites and a healthy dose of patriotism and pride.

Rupert Fourth of July, July 1-5 – The celebration begins at 6:00am Tuesday with a “Christmas in July” breakfast. Then get ready for the action with the The Firecracker 500 lawnmower race, parade, live concerts and family rodeo. As the sun goes down the sky lights up with fireworks on July 1. Rupert

Treasure Valley God & Country Festival – Enjoy family-friendly fun, the valley’s largest fireworks show, Christian bands, military appreciation and more on July 2.  Caldwell

Antique Tractor in the Border Days Parade.

Antique Tractor in the Border Days Parade. Credit Grangeville Border Days.

Grangeville Border Days – Enjoy the rodeo and weekend events July 2-4, including the wild horse race, cowboy breakfast, live music, kids games, carnival, art show and fireworks at dark. Grangeville

Hailey Days of the Old West Celebration – Pancake breakfast, children’s carnival, antique fair, parade, criterium bike race and fireworks at dusk. The Days of the Old West Rodeo takes place July 2-4. Hailey

Treaty Day Fireworks Show – Watch the show at dusk on July 3 at the Fort Hall Rodeo Grounds. Fort Hall

Malad Independence Day Celebration – Be entertained July 3 – 4 with bed races, a parade, western shoot out and fireworks. There is a salmon bake on the 3rd. Fireworks and a live concert in the Park on the 4th. Malad

Soda Springs Independence Day Celebration – Join in the festivities July 3-4, with a Lions Club breakfast, parade, carnival, Foam in the Park, sports tournaments and fireworks. Soda Springs

Paris 4th of July Celebration – On July 3 and 4, hear live music and enjoy the Paris City Chuckwagon Breakfast, the Patriotic Pageant at the Paris Tabernacle, a parade and youth rodeo. Paris

Biggest Show in Idaho Music Festival and Extravaganza – July 3-5, enjoy the fireworks, parade, music festival, golf tournament and bicycle race during this action-packed event. Pocatello

Awaiting fireworks over Payette Lake.

Awaiting fireworks over Payette Lake. Credit John Poimiroo

McCall Fourth of July Celebration – The fun runs through July 6. Enjoy live music, kids’ games and crafts and fireworks over Payette Lake. On July 5 and 6, head to historic Roseberry near the town of Donnelly for the annual Roseberry Arts & Crafts Fair. McCall/Donnelly

Thunder Mountain Days – Start July 4th with a Buckaroo Breakfast, followed by a parade, barbecue, live music and fireworks over Lake Cascade at dusk. Cascade

Crouch/Garden Valley 4th of July Celebration – Have fun on the fourth with children’s games, rafting races, the infamous “duck race”, a parade at 6:00pm and fireworks at 10:00pm. Garden Valley/Crouch

Coeur d’Alene Fourth of July Festival – American Heroes Parade begins at 11:00am on July 4 followed by a festival in City Park with live music, food and games. Fireworks over the lake begin at approximately 9:45pm. Coeur d’Alene

Silver Valley Independence Day Celebration – Begin the fourth with great breakfast sponsored by the Elks Club followed by a parade and festivities in the park. Trolley rides are offered through the day that ends with a choreographed fireworks. Kellogg

Liberty Festival on the Falls and Freedom Celebration – The parade begins at 9:00am on July 4, followed by a classic car show, live entertainment, arts & crafts, kids’ activities and fireworks. Idaho Falls

Works on display at the Boise Chalk Art Festival.

Works on display at the Boise Chalk Art Festival. Credit Idaho Statesman

Fourth of July Celebration in the Park and Chalk Festival – The festivities begin at 8:00am on July 4 with artists hard at work on chalk art creations. There are kids’ games, live music and fireworks followed by a movie in the park. The Fourth of July Liberty Parade begins at 11:00am in downtown Boise and the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast kicks off at 7:00am in Julia Davis Park. Boise

Stanley 4th of July Celebration – Enjoy a parade in the afternoon and fireworks at dusk in Pioneer Park on July 4. Stanley

Melba Olde Tyme Fourth – The July 4 celebration promises fun, laughter, games, parade, arts & crafts, a car show, and an antique tractor pull, culminating with a grand fireworks display.   Melba

Enjoy fireworks on the waterfront. July 4. Harrison

Sandpoint 4th of July – On July 4, enjoy parades downtown in the morning – the children’s parade begins at 9 a.m., and the main parade is at 10:00am. Games for the kids begin at 2:00pm at City Beach followed by live entertainment until the fireworks show over the lake.  Sandpoint

 

Caldwell Fourth of July Parade.

Caldwell Fourth of July Parade. Credit Gerry Slabaugh

Caldwell Fourth of July Celebration – On July 4, the parade begins at 10:00am in Memorial Park followed by a patriotic ceremony in the band shell. Family activities, the Pathway of Fallen Heroes, food and craft vendors, a car and bike show, kid’s zone, and live music can be enjoyed at the park until 4:00pm. Fireworks begin at dusk at Brothers Park. Caldwell

Montpelier Fourth of July Celebration – Start your day with a chuckwagon breakfast. Beginning at 3:00pm, enjoy bounce houses, a climbing wall, waterslide and more at Allinger Park. Fireworks close out the evening on July 4. Montpelier

Lava Hot Springs Independence Day Celebration fireworks on the 4th. Lava Hot Springs

Fireworks in the Mountains – Held on July 5th, this celebration has taken place in the community of Elk River for over 20 years. Elk River

Make plans to experience this Independence Day weekend in Idaho.  Our small towns and urban cities have a wide variety of lodging, dining and recreation opportunities to make sure your visit is a memorable one.  Go to www.visitidaho.org for more information and vacation ideas.

Idaho Travel Trivia – Bet’cha didn’t know…

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!

 

Shoshone Falls - Niagara of the West.

Shoshone Falls – Niagara of the West.

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.

 

Historic buildings in Idaho City.

Historic buildings in Idaho City.

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.

 

Soda Springs Geyser.

Soda Springs Geyser.

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.

Aerial view of Lewiston.

Aerial view of Lewiston.

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.

 

Farragut State Park and Lake Pend Oreille.

Farragut State Park and Lake Pend Oreille.

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.

The Bruneau Dunes near Mountain Home, ID.

Bruneau Dunes rise 470 ft. above the desert floor.

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.

 

Historic Wallace.

Historic Wallace.

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.

 

Salmon River near Stanley.

Salmon River near Stanley in the Frank Church Wilderness Area.

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.

 

Idaho Rodeos and Fairs – Rustle up some fun!

Grab your cowboy hat and boots, and head to Idaho for some exciting rodeo action and the best fairs this side of the Mississippi.  Crowd favorites, like wild cow milking and mutton bustin’, offer an entertaining twist on traditional rodeo events, and culinary treats like funnel cakes, caramel apples and corn dogs are a staple. Whether you are looking for ‘small town’ or ‘big time’, there are plenty of summer rodeos and fairs to entertain the whole family.

 

Mutton Bustin at the Snake River Stampede.

Mutton Bustin’ at the Snake River Stampede.

Eagle Rodeo, June 19-21, Eagle

Mackay Rodeo, June 21, Mackay

CVRA Rodeo and Spurs & Spokes Parade, June 21-22, Kamiah

Daniel Dopps Memorial PRCA Rodeo, June 27-28, Mountain Home

Gold Dust Rodeo, June 27-28, Idaho City

Days of the Old West Rodeo, July 2-4, Hailey

Grangeville Border Days, July 2-4, Grangeville

Dash 2 Tetons Barrel Race, July 12-13, Victor

Extreme Mustang Makeover, July 25-26, Nampa

Minidoka County Fair, July 28- August 2, Rupert

Elmore County Fair & Rodeo, July 16-19, Glenns Ferry

Snake River Stampede, July 15-19, Nampa

Canyon County Fair, July 24-27, Caldwell

The Famous Preston Night Rodeo, July 31- August 2, Preston

Washington County Fair & Rodeo, July 28-August 2, Cambridge

Gem-Boise County Fair & Rodeo, July 30-August 3, Emmett

War Bonnet Roundup, August 1-3, Idaho Falls

Valley County Fair & Rodeo, August 4-9, Cascade

 

Brightly lit midway at the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

Brightly lit midway at the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

Caribou County Fair, August 4-9, Grace

Jerome County Fair & Rodeo, August 5-9, Jerome

Shoshone-Bannock Festival, August 7-10, Fort Hall

Payette County Fair & Rodeo, August 7-10, New Plymouth

Bear Lake County Fair, August 11-16, Montpelier

Cassia County Fair & Rodeo, August 11-16, Burley

Caldwell Night Rodeo, August 12-16, Caldwell

Gooding Pro Rodeo, August 14-16, Gooding

Madison County Fair & Rodeo, August 15-17, Rexburg

 

Entertainment at the Idaho Cutting Horse Futurity & Aged Event.

Entertainment at the Idaho Cutting Horse Futurity & Aged Event.

Iron Horse Classic Barrel Race, August 15-17, Victor

Bonner County Fair & Rodeo, August 15-23, Sandpoint

Western Idaho Fair, August 15-24, Boise

Wild Weippe Rodeo, August 16-17, Weippe

North Idaho Fair & Rodeo, August 20-24, Coeur d’Alene

Eastern Idaho State Fair, August 30-September 6, Blackfoot

Idaho Cutting Horse Assoc. Futurity & Aged Event,
August 30-September 8, Nampa

Lewiston Roundup, September 3-6, Lewiston

#18 Summers- Visit Idaho Museums to Spark Imaginations

By Laurie McConnell, Idaho Tourism

In researching this post, I learned about museums I didn’t even know we have here in Idaho. There are historical museums, flood museums, bird museums, Native American museums, arts and science museums and many more. The museums I’ve listed below focus on a specific subject, such as potatoes, aviation or mining, and are clustered within regions of the state. Just because it is summer break doesn’t mean our brains stop learning, so include some of these museums in your Idaho vacation and open your family’s eyes to new ideas and interests.

Eastern Idaho

Metallic guard at the Museum of Clean.

Metallic guard at the Museum of Clean.

Farnsworth TV & Pioneer Museum Learn about early photography and Philo T. Farnsworth (the inventor of television), and see Native American artifacts and ancient Egyptian artifacts from biblical days. (Rigby)

Museum of Clean Here, at a museum dedicated to the history and promotion of cleaning, there is a high value on clean. Kids have hands-on fun, without even realizing they are learning the importance of a clean home, clean community and clean world. (Pocatello)

Idaho Potato Museum From the original potato planted in Idaho, to the largest potato crisp made by the Pringle’s Company, you’ll be intrigued as you stroll through this museum built in 1912. Learn about potato history, the growing/harvesting process, nutrition, trivia and educational potato facts. (Blackfoot)

Collector’s Corner Museum Over 100 collections on exhibit including dolls, bears, antiques, trains, coins, stamps and military memorabilia. (Idaho Falls)

Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) Atomic Museum See where usable electricity was first generated from nuclear energy in 1951, along with four nuclear reactors, two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes, a reactor control room, radiation detection equipment and more. (Arco)

Legacy Flight Museum The Legacy Flight Museum is an operational hanger and all aircraft are airworthy. See the machines that have served our country and provided us with the freedoms we currently enjoy. (Rexburg)

Shoshone Bannock Tribal Museum The museum exhibits showcase Chief Pocatello, tribal history, old photographs from 1895, artifacts from the Old Fort Hall and unique beadwork. (Fort Hall)

Idaho Museum of Natural History Home to collections in anthropology, earth sciences, and life sciences, the museum nurtures an understanding of and delight in Idaho’s natural and cultural heritage. (Pocatello)

Northern Idaho

Exhibits at Bird Aviation Museum.

Exhibits at Bird Aviation Museum.

Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center Learn about the historic contributions of aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology and celebrate these individuals who have forever changed the way we live. (Sagle)

Wallace District Mining Museum Artifacts, models, photographs, paintings and displays of mining activity and techniques take you back in time and deep into the history of one of the most lucrative mining districts in the country. (Wallace)

Oasis Bordello Museum (Perhaps not suitable for younger kids unless you’re up to answering the questions sure to be asked.) The museum is housed in a former brothel which operated as recently as 1988. The final occupants left in a hurry, leaving their belongings behind in the upper rooms, and there is a still and an old wine press in the basement. (Wallace)

Appaloosa Museum Located in the heart of Palouse Country, home of the Appaloosa breed, the museum illustrates the history of the Appaloosa horse and its region of origin. Get nutty at the super fun, hands-on Kid’s Area or visit the outdoor Appaloosa exhibit in the summer. (Moscow)

J. Howard Bradbury Logging Museum – Housed in a 1928 log cabin, it preserves the local mining and logging history. (Pierce)

Southwestern/Central Idaho

Warhawk Air Museum The museum represents the American experience of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and

Curtiss P-40N Warhawk

Curtiss P-40N at Warhawk Air Museum.

Vietnam War. Enter a world of sweetheart pillows, ration books, and Victory Puzzles and see two of only a few remaining Curtiss P-40 World War II fighter airplanes left in the world, a very rare World War II P-51C razorback Mustang fighter airplane and others. (Nampa)

Discovery Center of Idaho See, touch and hear more than 130 hands-on science exhibits. Blow a 3-foot bubble, build an arch and capture your shadow. (Boise)

Basque Museum & Cultural Center A tour is an enriching experience for everyone, especially students from Idaho and the western United States. See the exhibits and tour the boarding house for a look into the colorful Basque culture. (Boise)

Idaho Black History Museum Learn about the history and culture of African Americans with special emphasis on African Americans in Idaho. The museum displays permanent and travelling exhibits. (Boise)

Idaho Military History Museum Enjoy displays that interpret military history and artifacts that have a geographical tie to the history of the people and State of Idaho. (Boise)

 

Meteorites display at Museum of Mining & Geology.

Meteorites at the Museum of Mining & Geology.

Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology Located next to the Old Penitentiary, the IMMG offers exhibits and educational programs about Idaho’s fascinating geologic history and rich mining heritage. See minerals, gems, meteorites, fossils and fluorescent rocks and check the seismic station for earthquakes. (Boise)

J. Curtis Earl Arms Collection The wide-ranging collection and dramatic settings illustrate the development of weapons throughout history and includes ancient Luristan bronzes, medieval arms and armor, Revolutionary War firearms and swords, Civil War artifacts, an 1883 Gatling gun on its original carriage and much more. (Boise-inside the Old Idaho Penitentiary)

Lincoln Legacy Exhibition  Explore the chronological and topical depiction of Abraham Lincoln’s life, achievements, and relations with the West.  Books, letters, photographs, publications, cartoons, relics and Lincoln family items are now part of the collection of the Idaho State Archives located at 2205 Old Penitentiary Rd. (Boise)

Old Idaho Penitentiary The Old Pen opened in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals. Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to solitary confinement, cell blocks and the Gallows. (Boise)

World Center for Birds of Prey Explore and discover the amazing world of raptors eye to eye. Outside, see native and non-native birds and the California Condor exhibit, then continue your experience indoors with daily raptor presentations, interactive exhibits and tours of the Archives of Falconry. (Boise)

Herrett Center for Arts and Science The center features six galleries, fossils, ancient stone tools, and Native American cultural items along with a planetarium, observatory and gallery of public art. (Twin Falls)

Trailside teepees at the Sacajawea Center.

Trailside teepees at the Sacajawea Center.

Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center See interpretive exhibits and artifacts that focus on Sacajawea and enjoy the Heritage Community Gardens, Kid’s Garden and scenic walking trails. Even your dog can enjoy itself in the Seaman’s Dog Walk and Play Area where the bronze statue of Seaman, Captain Meriwether Lewis’ Newfoundland, stands watch. (Salmon)

Idaho has its share of historical museums, too, that offer a look into the state’s pioneer past and development. See all of the Idaho’s museums at www.visitidaho.org/museums or explore more vacation ideas at www.visitidaho.org.

Bluebirds, Raptors and Sandhill Cranes – Birding in Idaho

With over 400 known bird species, Idaho has become a gathering spot for birdwatchers of all experience levels. Locations such as American Falls Reservoir and Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge are teeming with birds year-round.

Your birding bucket list should include exploring and seeing:

Idaho’s state bird, the Mountain Bluebird, is found in all regions above 3,500 feet and is the star of the new documentary that releases on June 13 along with human co-star Al Larson AKA Bluebird Man.

Gray’s Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Idaho has the largest nesting population of Sandhill Cranes in the world.

 

The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is believed to have the largest density of nesting raptors in the world, with an estimated 800 pairs in the area.

The World Center for Birds of Prey near Boise is the headquarters for the Peregrine Fund. The Peregrine Fund’s captive breeding program successfully removed the Peregrine Falcon from the endangered species list and is having great success with other birds and raptors, including the California Condor and Aplamado Falcon.


Finally, check out the Idaho Birding Trail to increase your awareness of birding locations and wildlife conservation throughout Idaho.

Upcoming Birding Events:

June 13 in Boise, Premiere of Bluebird Man
June 14 in American Falls, an event for new and experienced birders
June 16 in Boise, Birds of a Feather