March Proclaimed Arts and Culture Month in Idaho

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has officially proclaimed March as Arts and Culture Month throughout the state of Idaho.  The proclamation serves as a call to Idahoans and visitors to explore and participate in the many multi-faceted arts and culture events throughout the Gem State.

“Artistic and cultural events play a unique and valuable role in our communities, and our state as a whole,” said Governor Otter. “They enhance every aspect of life in Idaho—improving our economy, enriching our lives, promoting tourism and connecting people to Idaho’s creative community.”

While many events will be happening around the state throughout the month, there are a few standouts to highlight:

Brundage Mountain's Smoky’s Bar & Grill hosts Musical March.

Smoky’s Bar and Grill hosts Musical March. Credit Brundage Mountain

  • Musical March: Every Saturday in March at Brundage Mountain.  From 2-5pm at the Lodge each Saturday, a live music act will be on hand to entertain skiers, snowboarders and lodge-bunnies.
  • Family of Woman Film Festival: March 7-10 at the Sun Valley Opera House. International feature length documentaries and dramas exploring the status of women. Five films from five countries will be shown representing the festival theme, Women and Education.

    Sun Valley Film Festival presenters Melisa Wallack and Craig Borten.

    Sun Valley Film Festival Coffee Talk presenters Melisa Wallack and Craig Borten. Credit Focus Features

  • Sun Valley Film Festival: March 13-16 in Sun Valley and surrounding communities.  This popular event offers the opportunity to enjoy fantastic skiing and outstanding indie cinema.
  • Trey McIntyre Project Spring Performance: Their final performance in Boise, TMP will perform “Mercury Half-Life,” set to the music of Queen, as well as premiere the ballet “The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction,” inspired by Edward Gorey on March 15.
  • Treefort Music Fest: March 20-23 in Downtown Boise. In its third year, Treefort will feature almost 300 bands performing across multiple stages – among those, nearly one-third are from Idaho.

    Treefort Music Fest. Credit Jeremy Conant

    Treefort Music Fest. Credit Jeremy Conant

  • Spring Aged Event: Also taking place March 19-23, the Idaho Cutting Horse Association invites equestrian lovers to get in some Western culture with their “Spring Aged” event taking place at the Idaho Horse Park in Nampa.
  • Music Walk: March 28 in Downtown Coeur d’Alene. The streets of Coeur d’Alene will ring with live musical performances from local favorites. The events take place at restaurants and galleries throughout the downtown core.

For additional events and information and to see the full proclamation, please visit www.visitidaho.org/arts-and-culture-month.  You will also find lodging, attractions, and outdoor recreation information at www.visitidaho.org.

Celebration for Gold Medalist Kaitlyn Farrington, Saturday, March 1

Idaho's own Kaitlyn Farrington, Olympic Gold MedalistThe Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is thrilled to welcome Olympic Gold Medalist Kaitlyn Farrington home to the Wood River Valley. Please join the entire Wood River Valley community for a celebration on Saturday, March 1. We hear it’s going to be a party of epic proportions!

Saturday, March 1
2:30 p.m.– Festivities begin at the Sun Valley Warm Springs Lodge with live music and food and beverage specials from Sun Valley Company.

4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.– Official ceremony on the Warm Springs Deck honoring Kaitlyn.

5:00 p.m to 7 p.m.– Street party commences on Picabo Street between Jane Lane and Lloyd Court. Live music by Old Death Whisper. Food and drink specials available at Apple Bar & Grill.

Five-Minute Recreation Access Survey–We Need Your Input!

Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana are working together to understand vacationer transportation needs while visiting the three states.  This is a survey about your thoughts on recreation access while on vacation.  While we are very interested in your visits or future visits to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, we still welcome your comments even if you haven’t visited any of those states.  This is an opportunity for you to tell us more about yourself and your recreation travel needs.

Please click the link to complete this very short survey: http://outdooraccess.surveyanalytics.com

Thank you!

Idaho Bucket List Continues to Grow

by Cathy Bourner, Idaho Tourism, with ideas courtesy of Pete Zimowsky, outdoor writer for the Idaho Statesman

 

The Idaho Bucket List put together recently by Boise State Public Radio created quite a stir among listeners.  Additional suggestions and comments necessitated an addendum to the already substantial list, but really, it will never be complete.  Idaho just has too much to offer.

With that in mind, we asked Pete Zimowsky (“Zimo” to his fans), outdoor writer for the Idaho Statesman, to share some of his favorite outdoor adventures  from 2013.  Some are appropriate for winter; others best enjoyed in warmer months; and all offer experiences to remember.

1. Winter camping in an RV at Castle Rocks State Park in January.

“What? In the winter?” Absolutely. Castle Rocks State Park is a terrific place for cross country skiing and showshoeing with its miles of ungroomed snow to explore, and a multi-day visit is just the way to get to know the park. The rocks that are so attractiveCastle Rocks State Park to climbers in the summer provide the very intrepid with ice climbing opportunities.   Electricity is available at the park’s camping spots, although water has been turned off.

If you don’t have an RV, the park is still a great place to take a vacation in the winter. The Lodge, an updated, centuries-old ranch house, is available to rent year-round.  Amenities include a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with shower/tub, and a living room with a propane fireplace.

2. Staying at Stargaze Yurt in the Idaho City Trail System in January.

The Idaho City Trail System has six yurts for rent.  All can be reached within a 2-3 mile cross country ski or snowshoe trek .  Stargaze Yurt within the Idaho City Trail SystemThe Stargaze yurt is the newest addition to the system, and is the perfect place if you really want to get away from it all.  A 270 degree view gives you beautiful sight lines for Scott, Wolfe, and Steele  Mountains, Jackson and Pilots Peaks, and the Sawtooth Mountains. Way to embrace winter, Zimo!

The Idaho Parks & Recreation’s website has complete information on what you will need to pack in, what furnishings are provided, and other important details to help plan your trip.

3. Drive the Grangeville-Salmon Road and Visit Square Mountain Lookout and the Gospel Hump Wilderness in August.

Square Mountain Lookout, nestled in the Nez Perce National Forest, looks out on some of Idaho’s grandest scenery—the Gospel Hump Wilderness.  The lookout was built in 1931 and abandoned in the early 1970s. Volunteers began restoration work inGospel Hump Wilderness 1999 and continue to stave off deterioration of the structure. Idaho Public Television has a great program about Idaho’s fire lookouts.  Watch “Eyes of the Forest”.

From the lookout’s 8,345-foot vantage point, the 206,053-acre Gospel Hump Wilderness spreads out before you.  The area connects across the Salmon River with the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, which along with the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness forms a continuous wilderness area of over 4.3 million acres, the largest in the lower 48 states. Read more about the Gospel Hump Wilderness.

4. Hiking beautiful Redfish Lake Creek Trail from Redfish Lake into the Sawtooths in late June.

The Redfish Lake Creek Trail starts at the upper end of Red Fish Lake and can be reached by  a five or six mile hike around the Redfish Lakelake or a short boat ride in season. From the trailhead, you’ll climb along Redfish Lake Creek, passing through boulder fields and skirting granite cliffs. After a steep set of switchbacks, you reach the eastern shore of Alpine Lake.

The Alpine Lake hike is a great introduction to the Sawtooths; it’s also a nice camping spot for a multi-day adventure. The Inlet Trailhead, where you begin the hike, can also be the starting point for a number of longer hikes and camping possibilities.  Visit the Sawtooth National Recreation Area website to learn more.  Details regarding boat service can be obtained through the Redfish Lake Lodge or by calling  208-774-3536.

Read Zimo’s blog about the Alpine Lake hike here.

5. Camping and floating the Salmon River near Stanley in June.

Have you been to Stanley, Idaho in June?  A a meeting location for many river outfitters, it’s teeming with people ready to begin an excellent guided rafting adventure. Rafting Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Each year, approximately 10,000 people float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The Middle Fork is a 104-mile free-flowing river in the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, originating 20 miles northwest of Stanley at the confluence of Bear Valley and Marsh Creeks. Rafters are treated to a smorgasbord of Idaho scenery and climates as the river flows south:  cool alpine forests, high mountain desert and a sheer, rock-walled canyon-the third deepest in North America.

If you’re considering a trip down the Salmon, visit the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association website for valuable information on who is permitted to run the Middle Fork, trip options, and contact information so you can cross this one off your bucket list!

6. Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River near Riggins in October. “Good fishing and lots of wild fish.” 

The quest for this largest of Idaho’s trout brings untold numbers of fisherpeople to Riggins each year to stand on the Salmon’s bank and cast a line or to set float in a drift boat to get their catch. Steelhead returning to the Salmon River for the second year ofSteelhead Fishing their lives can be 10-13 pounds and measure between 31 and 34 inches.  A three-year-old can easily exceed 37 inches and often weighs more than 20 pounds.  It is not uncommon to see fisherman stand almost shoulder to shoulder along the steep bank of the Salmon to try their hand at landing one of these fish.

Like so many of Idaho’s mountain towns, Riggins was a mining camp in the 1850s. The website for Riggins City will tell you about this tiny, but very active town on at the confluence of the Salmon and the Little Salmon Rivers.

2013 was quite a year for Mr. Zimowsky, who spent more than 50 nights camping, hiking, and immersing himself in Idaho. We appreciate his willingness to share those experiences, opportunities and helpful hints with his readers, broadening our horizons and spurring us to get out and see for ourselves.

Are you inspired?  Let Idaho Tourism help you plan your Idaho assault on your bucket list.  Visit www.visitidaho.org for travel information and order an Idaho Travel Guide or RV/Campground directory at www.visitidaho.org/publications.

Snow is falling throughout the state. Which resort will you be skiing at this holiday weekend?

Snow accumulations are climbing around the state. Get your Olympic game face on and ski Idaho this weekend!

Schweitzer Mountain

Schweitzer Mountain

 

Kelly Canyon: 97 inches
Grand Targhee: 96 inches
Lost Trail: 96 inches
Lookout Pass: 94 inches
Schweitzer: 74 inches
Pomerelle: 74 inches
Tamarack: 74 inches
Silver Mountain: 63 inches
Brundage: 66 inches

Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain

Bogus Basin 47 inches (base area, not summit)
Cottonwood Butte: 38 inches
Sun Valley: 52 inches
Bald Mountain: 52 inches
Pebble Creek: 46 inches
Snowhaven: 38 inches

For up to date snow reports, click here. 
Ski Idaho!

Ski Idaho!

Idaho Wines Love Chocolate

by Brenna Christison, Idaho Wine Commission

Ste. Chapelle Moscato pair nicely with dark chocolate.

Ste. Chapelle Moscato pairs nicely with dark chocolate.

Have you ever paired chocolate and wine? Wine and chocolate is an amazing dessert and a great way to end your evening. What could be sweeter on Valentine’s Day?

I enjoy dark chocolate most with a bold red wine; it makes the two even more delicious! When pairing the two, a good rule to follow is to make sure the wine is a little sweeter than the chocolate. If extreme dark chocolate (70% cacao) is your favorite, pair it with a bold red such as a cabernet sauvignon or malbec. You need a big, robust wine that can stand up to a heavy dark chocolate, as a milder wine will be overtaken by a strong cocoa content.  One of my favorite chocolate pairing wines is Koenig Vineyard’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator. If your chocolate has mint flavor or nuts, a cabernet sauvignon is a great option.

If you prefer a milder dark chocolate (60% cacao) try a merlot or syrah. Cold Spring’s 2009 Merlot, a gold medal winner in the 2013 Idaho Wine Competition, would be a great pairing. Milk chocolate has a softer, creamier texture than dark chocolate, and works nicely with a lighter, sweeter wine. Try a dessert wine or a rosè like Sawtooth Winery’s 2012 Classic Fly Series.

Chocolate bars from Cowgirl Chocolates

Chocolate bars from Cowgirl Chocolates.

Cinsault Rosè, another gold medal recipient from the 2013 Idaho Wine Competition. White chocolate, although technically not chocolate, is quite tasty with a moscato. Try Ste. Chapelle’s moscato for a delicious combination.

Idaho has wonderful wines, and there are some terrific chocolate shops, too.

Cowgirl Chocolates in Moscow, ID
Dream Chocolates in Boise, ID
The Chocolat Bar in Boise, ID
Weiser Candy Co. in Weiser, ID
Arno Chocolates in Twin Falls, ID
The McCall Candy Company in McCall, ID
Sandpoint Chocolate Bear in Sandpoint, ID
Coeur d’Alene Chocolates, in Coeur d’Alene, ID

Always remember to eat the chocolate you love and drink the wine you love – especially if it is Idaho wine and chocolates!

Wow, Fat Bikes Rock!

by Steve Stuebner, Stueby’s Outdoor Journal blog

Fat BikesYou’ve probably noticed that Fat Bikes are becoming all the rage as a unique and robust human-powered vehicle for winter and summer recreation. I decided to rent an XL Salsa Mukluk 3 from Meridian Cycle last weekend, and I met up with a bunch of guys from McCall and Boise at Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall to try it out.

I had so much fun on the ride that now I want a fat bike of my own! Ha! Imagine that.

Gregg Lawley of McCall, who runs the groomer and Nordic Center at Jug Mountain Ranch, is allowing both fat bikes and dogs to run free on their cross-country ski trails. They’ve got 15K’s open for fat biking and skiing. Trail fees are $10 per day. It’s an awesome place to ride!

We only touched a portion of the trails as we rode up some singletrack and cross-country ski trails up to to Jug Mountain Reservoir, made a loop around the lake on a groomed ski trail, and then flew downhill on cross-country trails to the Landing, and then rode singletrack trails through the woods to more cross-country trails in the bottom of the valley, and circled back to the Nordic Center, where we started. It was about a 10-mile ride, and everyone was grinning ear to ear. What a blast!

“That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Lawley said.

Fat Biking at Jug Mountain Ranch

All of the cross-country trails at Jug Mountain Ranch were packed nice and hard by Lawley’s groomer, so it didn’t seem like we were making any impact on the cross-country ski trails. I could barely see any of the tracks from the faster riders who were ahead of me. I had no problem getting traction on the way up or the way down. If it had been warmer (above freezing) and the trails were soft, then I’m sure it would have been a different story. We started the ride in the morning to make sure things were firm.

Ready to ride fat bikes at Jug Mountain Ranch.

Getting ready to ride at Jug Mountain Ranch Nordic Center

All of the McCall guys we rode with had fat bikes of their own. They’ve been riding at Jug Mountain Ranch frequently, and they ride on local snowmobile trails and snowshoe trails as well.

They’re all training for the Snowy 45, a super-fun fat bike relay race at Jug Mountain Ranch on March 2 this year. The event was held for the first time last year, and “everyone had so much fun we decided we’ve got to do it again,” Lawley says. Entries are open for this year’s race. Each team needs to pull together four riders for the relay race. Costumes are encouraged, there will be music and beer and the whole deal.

2013 Snowy 45 rider.

2013 Snowy 45 rider.

Reagan said he and his wife, Michelle, got intrigued by fat bikes when they saw they were catching on in the Teton Valley, and as the owners of Gravity Sports in McCall, they thought they’d pick up a few bikes for rentals and sell them as well. They’ve proved to be quite popular. “We decided to get them initially to bridge the shoulder seasons in McCall,” he said. “But as time has gone on, we’ve used them a lot more than we thought we would.”

In the Boise Valley, Meridian Cycles has been renting the bikes for more than a year, and offering rentals of several sizes and models as well. “We can’t keep them in stock,” said Paul McKenna, shop owner. “We’ve been going through like three of them in a week. It’s pretty amazing.”

Word is that even the manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. I made a quick survey of the Boise-area bike shops and at this point, Meridian Cycles and Idaho Mountain Touring have bikes for rent, and the other shops like George’s, World Cycle, Bob’s Bicycles and Ken’s Bicycle Warehouse are trying to get more fat bikes on hand for sales, but they don’t have any for rent.

So if you are heading up to McCall and you want to go fat biking, you might reserve the lone rental model at Jug Mountain Ranch in advance (call Gregg Lawley at 208-315-0575), reserve one at Gravity Sports (208-634-8530), or rent one from Meridian Cycles or Idaho Mountain Touring and take it with you.

In McCall, the city has plowed the golf cart paths on the city golf course, so you can cruise around all over the golf course on a fat bike. I did that on Saturday before I went skate skiing at Bear Basin.

Where else can you ride?

You could ride Boise foothills trails when they’re frozen, and another cool option is that the Idaho City Park n’ Ski Area groomed cross-country trails and snowshoe trails are available for fat biking, according to Leo Hennessy of Idaho Parks & Recreation.  “I’m open-minded about it, and I’ve been encouraging it,” he said. “Conditions are pretty ripe for it right now in the morning when things are frozen.”

“But people should stay off the trails if they’re getting soft and you’re putting a big groove in the trail with your tires.”

If you ride on the Park n’ Ski trails, use common sense. Don’t ride on top of the set classic track and upset the cross-country skiers. Probably the best place to ride will be on the side of the cross-country trails opposite of the set track, Hennessy said. “The middle of the trail will probably be the softest area.”

The McCall guys are riding on groomed snowmobile trails, but apparently, local snowmobile clubs around the state have different policies about whether fat bikes are allowed on snowmobile trails. Check with them first to be on the safe side. It wouldn’t hurt to give them a contribution to the grooming fund or buy a snowmobile registration sticker and put it on your fat bike.

Hot Springs, A Relaxing Feature of Idaho’s Landscape

by Diane Norton, Idaho Tourism

Mineral hot springs have always been popular and many people believe the relaxing water has magical healing powers. Native Americans have a long relationship with hot springs and revere hot springs as sacred healing places. The hot spring areas were also known as neutral ground where warriors could travel to and rest peacefully. “Some tell us it’s spiritual because they are right above the springs source where there’s that interface of water, earth and the atmosphere,” said Mark Lowe, Executive Director of the Lava Hot Springs Foundation.

Lava Hot Springs was originally part of the Fort Hall Indian reservation. In 1902, the government realigned the boundaries and the hot springs became the State of Idaho’s property. With the railway in place and western expansion underway, settlers constructed tents next to the springs as early as 1907. Seven years later the Riverside Hotel, the first hotel in Lava Hot Springs, was built.  Fast forward to today, the region is known as a “Hot Spring Mecca” inviting travelers to enjoy local hospitality at Lava Hot Springs Inn, Home Hotel and Aura Soma Lava.

Whether you are seeking a place to meditate, relax or sooth your muscles, the Gem state offers an abundance of year-round soaking options. Winter is the perfect time to visit Idaho’s steamy springs.  Imagine yourself relaxing in the hot mineral water, watching the snow fall and gazing up at the stars.  Not much compares…

Idaho Hot Springs Map

Click on map for a complete listing of hot springs and the locations.

Below is a sampling of year-round springs to enjoy!

 

Bear Lake Hot Springs, Paris, ID
Soak in large pools near the shore of beautiful Bear Lake. Camping is available.

Burgdorf Hot Springs, McCall, ID
Established in 1870, Burgdorf is both a hot springs and ghost town. Remains of cabins and an old hotel can be seen in a meadow on private land surrounded by the Payette National Forest. Accessible in winter only by snowmobile or cross-country ski. Lodging available.

Challis Hot SpringsChallis, ID
Challis Hot Springs is an historic springs and campground on the banks of the Salmon River south of Challis. Water temperatures range from 90-127 degrees and pools are open year-round.

Downata Hot SpringsDowney, ID
Downata Hot Springs is a full-service hot springs resort south of Pocatello.

Givens Hot SpringsGivens Hot Springs, ID
Long an Indian winter village site, the area was homesteaded in 1881 by Oregon Trail pioneers Milford and Mattie Givens. A pool and hotel were built in the 1880s to accommodate travelers, Silver City miners seeking arthritis relief, and local residents coming out for diversion. Within a 45-mile radius of Givens there are two museums, Indian petroglyphs, ATV trails, and Silver City – an historic mining town.

Gold Fork Hot SpringsMcCall, ID
Gold Fork Hot Springs offers mineral pools and hydromassage.

Lava Hot Springs PoolsLava Hot Springs, ID
For centuries, many Indian tribes gathered at these natural hot water springs, calling them the healing waters. Geologists theorize that the water has been a consistent 110 degrees for at least 50 million years. Today, the State of Idaho maintains this world-famous, family-friendly resort complex year-round. The facility offers hot mineral pools that are odor free.
Travelers Mike and Jurgen take a break at Lava. 

Miracle Hot SpringsBuhl, ID
Miracle Hot Springs is open year-round with two outdoor pools, and 19 private hot pools. The water is soft to the touch and naturally clean with a sensational alkaline pH of 9.6. Professional massage therapists are on site. There is a 12 unit RV park and many tent spaces. Miracle also rents overnight camping domes and a 1000 sq. ft. event dome can be reserved for group activities.

Riverdale Resort Hot SpringsPreston, ID
Two hot springs pools, which are open year round, one Olympic-size pool, water slides, camping and RV sites are features of this new development near Preston.

Silver Creek PlungeGarden Valley, ID
Silver Creek Plunge is a remote mountain hot springs resort on the middle fork of the Payette River in the Boise National Forest near Garden Valley. It features campsites, a mini-mart, snack bar, horseshoes, volleyball and basketball. It’s open year round, but accessible only by snowmobile in winter.

Sligar’s Thousand Springs ResortHagerman, ID
Sligar’s offers an indoor swimming pool and private hydro-jet pools with a scenic view of the Snake River and the Thousand Springs area. Riverside camping spots with electricity are also available.

The SpringsIdaho City, ID
Reservations are definitely recommended on weekends at this luxury hot springs retreat. The pools aren’t overcrowded so everyone may relax and soak in comfort.

Zim’s Hot SpringsNew Meadows, ID
Zim’s is located in scenic New Meadows, just north of McCall. Open year-round, these natural hot springs surface at 90 to 95 degrees, depending on weather. One of the pools is Olympic size and kept at a cool 93 degrees and the other soaking pool is a muscle-relaxing 104 degrees.

For lodging and activity information near these springs, visit www.visitidaho.org.

Last Month for Idaho Winter Giveaways

by Laurie McConnell, Idaho Tourism

Our Idaho Winter Giveaways are are winding down – this is the last month – but there are still some great prizes offered in February.   Prizes include getaways with lift tickets to some of Idaho’s most popular ski areas and outdoor gear.  New offers are posted every Friday and you can enter weekly through February 27.  Feeling lucky?  Go to www.idahowinter.org to enter.

Check out the Idaho Winter Giveaways for February!

Uncrowded slopes at Lookout Pass.Enjoy a winter adventure in Historic Wallace and the Silver Valley. The Panhandle Powder Package includes a two night stay at the Stardust Motel and two lift tickets to Lookout Pass.

 

 

 

Valley views from Bogus Basin Mtn. Recreation Area.Boise, Idaho’s picturesque capital welcomes you with five lift tickets to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area and a two night stay at trendy Hotel 43.

 

 

 

Snowboard the deep powder at Brundage Mountain.Visit scenic McCall and the best snow in Idaho at Brundage Mountain Resort. Offer includes a two night stay at the Best Western Plus McCall and four lift tickets to Brundage Mountain.

 

 

 

Stylish sunglasses from Smith Optics.Be the proud owner of his and her Smith Optics sunglasses. For over forty years, Smith Optics has hung its hat on a heritage of authenticity and innovating products for the fresh-air addicts who push their limits and gear daily.

 

 

We can help with your winter vacation plans, too.  Log on to www.visitidaho.org for lodging, activity and event information.

 

Top Spots to Snowshoe in Idaho

It’s true what they say:  if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Some of the most spectacular scenery in the western U.S. awaits you in Idaho and snowshoeing is the perfect way to explore Idaho’s 30 trail systems and back country opportunities. Today’s equipment

Sun Valley Snowshoers

Sun Valley Snowshoers

is hassle-free and enables everyone, old and young, to walk and climb with ease. Abundant groomed Nordic trails are available throughout the state, but the real fun comes when you get off the trail.

The thrill of snowshoeing down steep, wooded slopes where skiers can’t go and hikers wouldn’t venture in warmer seasons is what makes this sport so exciting. Quickly becoming one of the most popular winter sports in the country, snowshoeing is a great way to stay healthy. SnowSports Industries of America (SIA) says an average person burns between 400-500 calories per hour snowshoeing at moderate speeds.

Snowshoeing in McCall

Snowshoeing in McCall

Near the historic mining town of Idaho City, the Whoop-Um-Up Nordic Trail, part of Idaho State Parks’ Park N Ski program, offers excellent off-trail snowshoeing opportunities. The trailhead is located 17 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. Some of the newest trails in Idaho are located at Jug Mountain Ranch, just south of McCall, off the Payette Scenic Byway.

Harriman State Park lies in the heart of a 16,000-acre wildlife reserve in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 20 miles north of Ashton in eastern Idaho. There are 22 miles of trails in the park with yurts and other lodging facilities available for rent. Harriman is also a wintering ground for the majestic trumpeter swan and many other water birds and animals.

The Selkirk Mountains surrounding Priest Lake in northern Idaho are a virtual paradise for winter-sports enthusiasts and include five areas around Priest Lake State Park. Trail systems have intriguing names like Reeder Indian Rock Translator Trail and Wood Rat Luby Trail. A variety of lodging options are available along Priest Lake’s 72 miles of shoreline in the shadow of the Selkirk Mountains.

Mapquest Travel Blog Snowshoe Itinerary MapGalena Lodge, northwest of Sun Valley, serves as base camp for the 120K North Valley Trails System. Join in a guided snowshoe walk with a Forest Service Ranger on Thursday mornings then enjoy hot cocoa and a freshly baked pastry at the Lodge. The Sun Valley Resort Nordic and Snowshoe Center trails meander through stunning terrain providing families a fun, unique and inexpensive winter sport experience.  Rentals are available and at 6000 feet, the trail system maintains consistent conditions so breathing is easy!

Craters of the Moon snowshoe adventure.

Craters of the Moon snowshoe adventure.

Finally, you can snowshoe through the unique lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument near Arco. The rangers offer winter ecology workshops on Saturdays through February on the rugged landscape where deep snow covers the once fiery lava. The day begins with a 30 minute classroom session followed by several hours of moderately strenuous snowshoeing looking for tracks and climbing a volcano.  Where else can you summit the top of a volcano in the winter?

Take a look at this mapquest travel blog to see these locations plotted on a map.

Jade Broadus offers some additional snowshoeing recommendations in this article about Idaho’s State Parks.

Winter white looks enchanting in Idaho!  Learn more about Idaho trails online at www.visitidaho.org/winter and explore Gem State recreational and lodging opportunities at www.visitidaho.org.