Celebrate National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in Idaho!

by Laurie McConnell, Idaho Tourism

Humans were never meant to hibernate, so gather your friends and family and head outside for winter fun and exercise. New to the slopes Hit the slopes during National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.and want to give skiing or boarding a try? Need a refresher or want to improve?  Idaho ski areas are ready to help.

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month.

Idaho ski areas are offering convenient learning programs, rentals and special discounts throughout the month, making learning easy and affordable!  Learn to ski or snowboard by taking lessons from a pro. Visit www.skiidaho.us for more information about Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.

When planning your Idaho ski vacation, be sure to check out these special packages and offers for additional savings and activities.  Or sign up for the Ski Idaho e-newsletter on www.skiidaho.us – it’s packed full of special offers, updates and ski area information.

Family Blogger Elizabeth Rodgers skied Brundage Mountain last January. Read about her family’s experiences.

There are also classes, clinics and ‘days out’ geared especially for women.  See the list compiled by Ski Idaho.

Go to www.visitidaho.org/winter to learn more about Idaho’s winter offerings and start planning your trip today.

Exploring Idaho’s Backcountry Ski Options

by Andrew Mentzer, Idaho Tourism

It’s time to start thinking about where to play this winter. Idaho is home to some of the coolest and most lively mountain towns in the USA.  If you’re looking for a little adventure as the snow starts to fly, but are weary of tackling the back country on your own, check out these great options to get into some steep and deep terrain without risking life and limb.  From human powered skinning trips to full service, family-friendly snowcat tours and to heli-skiing options, Idaho’s back country has something for every budget and skill level.  Below are a few options we have assembled with a little help from our friends at Ski Idaho.

Enjoy a backcountry ski or snowboard adventure near McCall, Idaho.

Payette Powder Guides

Payette Powder Guides
Take a trip out to one of the most scenic alpine areas in central Idaho with Payette Powder Guides. Their snowmobile and cat tours will leave you awestruck atop the Lick Creek Range—adjacent to the beautiful resort town of McCall.  Rates start at $360 for a two-person guided day trip.  Multi-day tours are also available; as well as yurt rentals and avalanche courses for those looking to go it alone.

Sun Valley Resort Heli-Skiing
As the birthplace of U.S. heli-skiing, Sun Valley has a long tradition of flying visitors to an untouched skier’s paradise on top of the Rockies. A vast territory—covering three mountain ranges—provides unparalleled access to Idaho’s legendary powder and terrain for all abilities in some of the lightest and deepest powder in the lower 48.  Sun Valley Resort offers heli-skiing packages starting at $1250 per person.

Ski the spectacular backcountry of Sun Valley with Sun Valley HeliSki

Sun Valley HeliSki

Selkirk Powder Company at Schweitzer Mountain
Best Overall USA Cat Skiing Experience—ranked second place by Powderhounds.com for 2013.  Located just 30 miles from the wettest spot in the entire U.S. Rockies and based out of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Selkirk Powder Company offers heaps of fresh powder, untracked trees lines, steep chutes and pillow lines. Click here to sign up for an epic session of powder skiing. Prices start at $400 per person with discounts for groups.

Snowcat skiing in the backcountry near Brundage Mountain.

Brundage Mountain Snowcat Skiing

Brundage Mountain Snowcat Skiing
Join Brundage Mountain on a guided cat skiing trip into the beautiful backcountry of the Payette National Forest and experience a pristine, snowy wonderland.  Brundage’s cat tours access more than 17,000 acres of snowy steeps, tree-lined glades and powdery bowls.  Riders can experience this rush for only $269 for a single seat or book a whole cat for as little as $180 per person.  Click here to see Brundage Mountain cat skiing options.

Grand Targhee Snowcat Skiing
Grand Targhee’s snowcat adventures are an experience not to be missed, with breathtaking views of the Grand Tetons, 600 dedicated skiable acres, and incredible powder stashes. Terrain is appropriate for an intermediate skill level and above.  You and eleven other skiers and riders will enjoy up to 18,000 vertical feet during your adventure alongside Targhee’s powder cat guides.  Offerings include expansive bowls, gladed cruisers and steep tree pitches—all with awe inspiring views.  Prices start at $199 for a half day. Click here for additional full day, private and group pricing.

Teton Mountain Heli-Skiing
Teton Springs Lodge and Spa located in Victor, Idaho offers excellent back country options for those looking to get off the beaten path.

Perfect lines below the helicopter on a Teton Springs Lodge & Spa heli-ski outing with High Mountain HeliSki.

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa/High Mountain HeliSki

The helicopter will pick you up in the parking lot of the resort!  Teton Springs Lodge has partnered with High Mountain Heli-Skiing to provide an unmatched powder skiing and boarding adventure. For less than $1,500 (includes 3 days of lodging, breakfast, one day of heli-skiing and a ticket to Grand Targhee Resort) High Mountain Heli-Skiing offers 305,000 acres of skiable terrain in and around the Teton Mountains.  After a day of magnificent skiing or boarding, breathtaking scenery and glorious powder turns, round out your day with a visit to the Stillwaters Spa & Salon where you can choose from a wide variety of luxury spa treatments, including deep-tissue and sports massage!  Click here for more information.

Soldier Mountain Cat Skiing
Soldier Mountain Cat Skiing is back in action!  With a new 11-passenger snowcat, a flat screen TV to enjoy on your way up the mountain, an optional overnight stay in our yurt, and fresh powder all day long, Soldier Mountain’s cat skiing is first class. It’s also affordable, starting at $275 per person.  Turn your snowcat adventure into a moonlight overnight in a cozy yurt for only $38 per person. The hilltop yurt sleeps 12 with padded full and single bunk beds. To reserve your space, call (208) 764-2526 or email catski@soldiermountain.com.

Lodging and après ski options are plentiful in Idaho ski towns and the friendly locals are always willing to point visitors to a favorite bistro or bar.  Gear up and make memories in the incredible Idaho backcountry.  Learn more about Idaho’s winter activities at www.visitidaho.org/winter.

Top Eagle Watching Spots in Idaho

by Cathy Bourner, Idaho Tourism

Seeing bald eagles in flight is something to behold. Here in Idaho, a traditional winter nesting ground for eagles, sightings are frequent.  January is celebrated as National Bald Eagle Watching Month and from November through February, eagles are easy to see around the state.  It isn’t the cold temperatures that drive the birds south. Instead, when the rivers freeze in their northern ranges of Canada and Alaska, the eagles move south to Idaho’s open waterways and a plentiful supply of fish.  An abundant food supply and trees capable of supporting a nest that can exceed 10 feet in diameter are two factors that eagles require in a nesting area, and Idaho has a number of locations that fit the bill.

Photo Credit:  Lake Pend Oreille Cruises

Photo Credit: Lake Pend Oreille Cruises

–Northern Idaho is a bald eagle spotting mecca.  In the area around Bonners Ferry, eagle watchers are sure to have excellent viewing opportunities.  Favorite locations to see nesting pairs include the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Perkins Lake and McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area.

–Wintering eagles are most abundant along Lake Coeur d’Alene, Lake Pend Oreille, and sections of the Priest River in northern Idaho. Sightings at Wolf Lodge Bay and Beauty Bay are particularly rich viewing areas on Lake Coeur d’Alene.  You may also take a winter eagle watching cruise with Coeur d’Alene Lake Cruises. Lake Pend Oreille Cruises offers eagle watching trips in the warmer months.

–Both bald and golden eagles can be seen during the winter at Silver Creek Preserve in the Wood River Valley south of  Hailey in central Idaho.

Photo Credit: Jerry Rega

Photo Credit: Jerry Rega

–In south central Idaho, Thousand Springs State Park’s Box Canyon in the Hagerman Valley is a good place to eagle watch. Head south of Hagerman to the top of Vader Grade to watch eagles soar as the sun sets.

–Southwest of Nampa, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Lowell provides the right combination of fish and nesting locations for bald eagles.

Barber Dam in southeast Boise is a more urban location to spot eagles, but it is not unusual to see them closer to downtown when you’re on the greenbelt.

–In eastern Idaho, The South Fork of the Snake River, stretching some 60 miles from Palisades Dam to its confluence with the Henrys Fork, hosts the largest breeding population of bald eagles in Idaho.

There are many more locations where you may catch sight of these magnificent birds.  The Idaho Birding Trail is an outstanding

Photo Credit: Jerry Rega

Photo Credit: Jerry Rega

resource for locating the hundreds of bird species that inhabit Idaho.  The Idaho Department of Fish & Game has put together an exhaustive list of an enormous variety of birds and where you can find them.  The guide lists over 50 locations where bald eagles might be seen.

Leave your calendar open February 14-16, 2014 for Hagerman Idaho’s first Bird Festival. February is a spectacular time to view the thousands of waterfowl that winter in the open waters in this valley. The sheer number of birds in the area is impressive, but there is also a remarkable diversity with 75 to 100 species present. Programs for all levels and ages will include guided bird field trips with experts, workshops, the premier showing of “Idaho Owls,” a wine and cheese social and much more. Learn more at www.facebook.com/HagermanBirdFestival.

The Idaho Statesman ran an article about eagle watching in southwest Idaho on December 19. Take a look here.

Adding birdwatching to your Idaho winter adventure is easy! Contact a local chapter of the Audubon Society   for more information or visit the links throughout this post.  For more information about visiting Idaho go to www.visitidaho.org.

The Season Sparkles with Holiday Lights

Whether you are visiting for the first time, reconnecting with family or friends, or are a long time Idahoan, nothing says ‘holidays’ like twinkling light displays.  Gather your loved ones and check out these favorites.

Winter Spirit, LewistonHoliday
Ignite the holidays with Winter Spirit! The community lights up with interactive displays and dancing trees in Locomotive Park. A large gas fireplace warms visitors and children are fascinated by the pageant of colors. Holiday tradition that uses over a half million lights making Locomotive Park a spectacular site to visit.  Enjoy Winter Spirit through January 3.

Caldwell lights2013Winter Wonderland, Caldwell
Downtown Caldwell’s Indian Creek is illuminated with 500,000 lights.  Bridges that span the creek, railings, lamp posts, trees and character displays are covered with twinkling lights. This event brings families and visitors from all over to enjoy the beauty and celebrate the season.  Don’t miss the Treasure Valley Night Light Parade on December 7, with over two miles of brightly lit floats!

Winter Garden aGlow, Boise
You’ve seen the gardens in bloom in summer, but have you seen one glow in the winter? Explore the Idaho Botanical Garden under the dazzling array of more than 308,000 lights. Shop the Holiday Garden Gift Store and warm your hands alongside crackling fire barrels while live choirs fill the air with holiday music. Visit Santa and view the Holiday Express train display.

Coeur d’Alene Holiday Lights Show, Coeur d’Alene
Bring the family to see the Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show, a wonderland of over 1.5 million lights and the largest on-the-water holiday light display in America.  The “Journey to the North Pole” Lake Cruise visits Santa’s North Pole Toy Workshop where one of the world’s tallest Christmas trees awaits, towering and twinkling in the evening sky.

Boise Shuttle Holiday Lights Tours, Boise
Take an old fashioned trolley excursions into Boise’s most elaborately decorated neighborhoods. The hour-long tours have been a favorite family tradition since 1991.  Scheduled tour dates are December 13, 14, 20 and 21. Tickets are $14.00 for adults and $7.00 for children and can be purchased by calling 208-342-1900.

Winter Wonderland Festival, Sun Valley
The lights turn on December 1st signaling a month filled with festivities.  Stroll through Sun Valley Village enjoying the sparkling lights, window decorations and snow sculptures.

The Thunder Mountain Line’s Santa Express offers something a bit different.  Departing from Horseshoe Bend, ride the rails to Santa’s Village in festively decorated cars while enjoying Christmas music and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  In the Village, take pictures with Santa, visit the Candy Cane House and stroll through the Magic Forest to decorate trees with carrot ornaments for Santa’s reindeer.

Check Out the Vitamin ID Winter Sweeps!

Idaho Tourism and Ski Idaho have teamed-up to give you the chance to experience the “soul of skiing” through great Idaho giveaways! The Vitamin ID Winter Sweepstakes offers an abundance of prizes, ranging from getaways to Idaho’s most popular ski areas (including Sun Valley, Brundage Mountain, and Schweitzer Mountain), to lift tickets and outdoor gear. New offers are posted every Friday, and you can enter weekly through February! Visit www.idahowinter.org for your chance to win!

IdahoWinterBug 2013Here are the weekly prizes for December.

–It’s off to eastern Idaho and the Teton Valley to relax and unwind. Enjoy a two night stay in a one bedroom suite at Teton Springs Lodge and Spa. Offer includes continental breakfast each day and unlimited scenic views.

–Enjoy south central Idaho with four lift tickets to Pomerelle Mountain Resort in Albion and a two night stay at the Best Western Plus Burley Inn.

–Get ready to explore your outdoor habitat in any type of sunlight with Native Eyewear. Be the proud owner of his and her sunglasses – the perfect companion for seeing the path ahead.

–At Core Concepts, they create authentic adventure apparel, distilled from grand days on Idaho’s rivers and mountains. Prize includes a $100 gift card for purchase of Core clothing or accessories.

Snowmobile Trails Open for Adventure

By Andrew Mentzer

After what feels like ages, it’s finally time to fire up that snow machine for the winter season. Mother Nature has been

courtesy of Tony Herald

courtesy of Tony Herald

cooperative thus far, with encouraging early season precipitation across many parts of Idaho. In the southwestern region of the state, hundreds of miles of trails in Valley County are already taking on substantial snowpack. According the USDA’s SNOTEL site, Secesh Summit (elev. 6520) near McCall already has a roughly 14-inch base, with more on the way.

The folks at Burgdorf Hot Springs posted on November 24th that their facility is only reachable via snowmobile or tracked vehicle for the rest of the season!

What does this all amount to? Great early season trail riding conditions are underway in some areas, with the rest of the state not far behind.

Smiths Ferry and Anderson Ranch are working towards a good start, with higher elevations accumulating a solid November pack. Keep an eye on their progress through the Idaho Snowmobile Association’s website.

Be sure you pay a visit to Sled the Rockies.  It has helpful information, trail maps and you can enter to win a totally sweet sled trip for four.

For information on Idaho’s statewide snowmobile offerings, check out Visit Idaho.

Idaho Winter Festivals are Everything but Ordinary

Woohoo!  Winter has arrived!  Grab your coat and mittens and make plans to enjoy these great family-friendly festivals and activities. Idaho has everything you need for starting traditions and making memories.

CDAfire breathing dragonCoeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show, thru January 1
Must see:  The Journey to the North Pole Cruise

Coeur d’Alene glows with a stunning 1.5 million lights and 255 displays. Journey to the North Pole Cruises depart every night from the North Pole Cruise Terminal at The Coeur d’Alene Resort Plaza Shops. Passengers are greeted by friendly elves, and learn the Grinch is planning to sabotage the voyage. To every child’s delight, the boat makes it safely past the Grinch and finds Santa and his elves at the North Pole, where Santa reads each child’s name from his “nice list.”  Revelers may also enjoy “A Christmas Cabaret,” starring Mark Cotter with special guest Jack Bannon, in a performance of holiday music, laughter and stories. Sunday matinees and weekend evening performances run through December 21.  Tickets at (208) 765-4000 or online.  Lodging, dining and cruise packages are available (800) 688-5253 or www.cdaresort.com  

TetonValleyGreatSnowFestTeton Valley Great Snow Fest, January 16-20
Must see:  Snow Bike Race
The 2014 Teton Valley Great Snow Fest will include snow sculpting, ice sculpting, skijoring, snowmobile snowcross competitions, a snow bike race, the Backcountry Film Festival, a comedy show, wildlife cross country ski tour and the festive Snow Ball!  More events are coming so check back or follow the Snow Fest on Facebook!

Snow SculptureThe McCall Winter Carnival, January 24-February 2
Must see: fireworks and snow sculptures

Celebrating its 49th year in 2014, Winter Carnival has evolved into a 10 day celebration of all things winter. Favorites include fireworks over the lake, Mardi Gras Parade, Children’s Torchlight Parade, live music, the polar plunge, McCall Starz on Ice show, bull and bronc riding and the famous snow sculptures. Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure and join in the fun at the lobster feed, Barley Brothers Winter Ale Festival, Ice Fishing Derby, wine dinners featuring local wineries, karaoke, bingo, a comedy show, monster dog pull, the high-octane FlashPoint Snow Bike Race, and more.

lava-fire-iceFire and Ice Winter Festival, February 7-9
Must see:  Polar Bear Float

The event includes a Polar Bear Float down the Portneuf River where contestants compete for the fastest time down the river and for the most original costume in the inner tube flotilla.  There is a Running of the Bulls event, where participants run down Main Street in swimming suits and flip flops just for the fun of it.  After the chilly run, all contestants are rewarded with a soak in Idaho’s World Famous Hot Pools in Lava Hot Springs.  Enjoy wine tasting,karaoke events, chili cook-off, a casino night and a swimming pool carnival for the kids.  Don’t miss the torch parade on Lava Hot Springs’ L Mountain. www.fireice.lavahotsprings.org

Sandpoint Winter Carnival, February 14-23
Must see:  Skijoring

In its 40th year, the Sandpoint Winter Carnival is pure fun celebrating the best of the snowy season, indoors and out.  The 10 days are packed full of entertaining events and activities including a laser light show, ski events at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, the Taste of Idaho with culinary favorites and Idaho wines, Cirque de Sandpoint (featuring a unique group of players, performing various acrobatics, dance routines, firespinning and an aerial show), K-9 Keg Pull, entertaining adult spelling bee, a coffee tasting, and lively parties.  A highlight of the festival, skijoring has a rider on horseback pulling a skier at high speeds around a course of jumps and gates. At Carnival Finale watch skiers decked out in neon ski-wear and glowing lights shoosh down the slopes and enjoy a spectacular fireworks display over the snowcapped mountains.  (Photo credit: Annie Pflueger)

Autumn Ales—Boise’s Brewers Offer a Fine Arrangement of Beers and Food for the Fall Season

Posted by Andrew Mentzer.

Woe is me. It’s shoulder season. I can’t ski yet and it’s far too cold to jump in the river. It only makes sense that this happens to be the finest time of year for seasonal beers and comfort grub at many Idaho brewpubs. While fall temps may have dropped, it’s the perfect time of year to dust off that old cruiser bike and pedal down to one of Boise’s brewing establishments.

Crooked Fence Barrelhouse
5181 Glenwood, Garden City, ID 83714; (208) 376-4200

Crooked Fence Brewing

Crooked Fence Brewing

One of the area’s newest brewery/brew houses, Crooked Fence mixes traditional recipes with innovative branding. Their fall offerings include a Grim Reaper Imperial Black IPA to go along with soul-warming shepherd’s pie and lasagna seasonal menu additions.

Highlands Hollow
2455 Harrison Hollow Blvd  Boise, ID 83702; (208) 343-6820

This little north Boise gem is home to some of the Treasure Valley’s finest polenta, oysters, and halibut. Fall seasonal brew offerings include the Red Ryder (a rye ale) and Bonnie St. Nan (a cherry smoked porter).

Payette Brewing Company
111 W 33rd St  Boise, ID 83714; (208) 344-0011

One of Idaho’s most prolific beer makers in recent years, Payette hosts local food trucks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Chase down gourmet wagon eats with this fall’s Slaughterhouse Imperial Red Ale, or Barrel Aged Imperial Stout—which debuts at Payette’s Black Friday event the end of November.

10 Barrel Brewing Company
830 W Bannock St  Boise, ID 83702; (208) 344-5870

10 Barrel Brewing

10 Barrel Brewing

This new downtown Boise hot spot offers a diverse menu with weekly food specials and a robust rotation of seasonal beers, including five fall pumpkin beers (get them while they last), an Oktoberfest, Suede Imperial Porter (a collaboration with Stone Brewing Company), and a Cascadian Dark Ale (aka Black IPA).

Sockeye Brewing
3019 N Cole Rd  Boise, ID 83704; (208) 658-1533

One of Boise’s most storied breweries, this brewpub offers legendary beer-battered Alaskan Halibut on Friday nights, daily grub specials and a nice fall line-up of beers. Settle into the robust Winterfest seasonal, Seven Devil’s Imperial Stout or one of Sockeye’s “benefit beers,” like the Spruce’n Trail (a spruce tip beer benefiting the Selway-Bitterroot/Frank Church Foundation) or Dagger Falls IPA in the pink can which benefits the Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI).

TableRock BrewPub
705 W Fulton St  Boise, ID 83702; (208) 342-0944

TableRock BrewPub

TableRock BrewPub

Boise’s oldest microbrewery, this popular downtown pub & grub spot boasts daily food specials and a nice line-up of fall beers. On tap are Tablerock’s old go-tos, Kristalwizen (a wheat beer) and Munich Hellis. Seasonal offerings include an American Stout and the Rye Saison—aged seven months in a whiskey barrel.

 

Slanted Rock Brewery
2374 E Cinema Dr  Meridian, ID 83642; (208) 288-2192

This Treasure Valley newcomer boasts a wide range of fall flavors, including an Oktoberfest Marzen lager, a Vanilla Baltic Imperial Porter, an American style Imperial Stout, and a malty Scotch Ale. Grub from area food trucks is available for some special events as well.

Learn more about Boise area breweries along the Boise Ale Trail, and breweries around the state at www.visitidaho.org, then search for breweries.

Enter to Win Idaho Winter Giveaways

The Idaho mountains have already seen some snow with more in the forecast.  Start thinking about how you would like to enjoy your winter and check out www.idahowinter.org to enter the Vitamin ID Winter Sweepstakes.  Prizes include getaways to some of Idaho’s popular destination ski areas including Sun Valley, Brundage Mountain and Schweitzer Mountain along with lift tickets, cat skiing excursions, outdoor gear and more. New offers are posted every Friday.  Enter weekly through February!

Here are the weekly prizes for November.

Schweitzer Mountain

Schweitzer Mountain

 

–Enjoy one of Idaho’s winter gems – Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint. Prize includes two nights lodging in the Selkirk Lodge, two days of lift tickets for four adults and breakfast each morning of your stay.

Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee Resort

 

 

–Cradled in the western slope of the Tetons, Grand Targhee Resort promises deep powder and bluebird days. Offer includes two nights lodging in the Teewinot Lodge, one day of cat skiing and one day of lift skiing for two people.

Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort

 

 

Pebble Creek Ski Area

Pebble Creek Ski Area

–Come experience America’s first destination resort in breathtaking Sun Valley. The Ski and Stay Free Package includes a one night stay at the Resort and lift tickets.

 

 

 

 

–Experience a winter getaway to Southeastern Idaho with four lift tickets to Pebble Creek Ski Area and a one night stay at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn in Lava Hot Springs.

 

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa

 

 

–It’s off to eastern Idaho and the Teton Valley to relax and unwind. Enjoy a two night stay in a one bedroom suite at Teton Springs Lodge and Spa. Offer includes continental breakfast each day and unlimited scenic views.  Nearby activities include downhill and nordic skiing, sleigh rides and snow tubing.

 

 

Learn more about Idaho’s ski areas, visit www.skiidaho.us or explore Idaho’s many winter recreation opportunities at www.visitidaho.org/winter.

Extend Fall Outdoor Activities in Idaho’s Low-Elevation Destinations

Posted by Andrew Mentzer

47_Reg2_Spread_Riggins

Riggins, Idaho. Photo credit: Regal 360

Many recreationists retire their outdoor gear to storage at the first sign of cooler temperatures, despite the fact that the Gem State plays host to one of the most amenable fall seasons in the Northwest. This unfortunate reality is easily curbed—even for fair-weather sportsmen/women—with a visit to one of a myriad of low-elevation Idaho destinations that boast mild late-year temperatures and countless opportunities for play.

Fishing

Fishing for Steelhead.
Photo credit: Exodus.

At an elevation of 1,821 feet and just three hours from Boise, Riggins is a great mild-weather option this time of year. The Hells Canyon-Oxbow corridor to the southwest is also a nice area to explore when higher elevations start taking on snow. These areas can remain well above 50-degrees during the day in November and seldom drop below freezing for very long.

Due east of Riggins on the Main Salmon road lies numerous large white sand beaches and treed flats, some with fully maintained camping facilities. The steelhead run typically picks up steam in late September, making an October or November trip ideal. Guided multi-day fishing trips are also available in this region from a handful of outfitters.

Biking

Hells Canyon Byway.
Photo credit: Idaho Tourism

BurgdorfHotSprings

Photo credit: Burgdorf Hot Springs.

Short hikes to epic canyon viewpoints can be enjoyed if you are feeling ambitious enough to hit the water for a cool-weather float trip, and there are even a handful of lesser-known remote hot springs adjacent to the Main. If you’re feeling truly adventurous and have a capable vehicle, make a run up the somewhat rougher French Creek Road (before the snow flies) to historic Burgdorf Hot Springs (elevation 6,152 feet)—just a stone’s throw from the north side of McCall’s Payette Lake.

The Main Salmon road towards Vinegar Creek was recently paved to past the 10-mile mark, so accessing this scenic playground is now easier than ever. If you feel like you didn’t get enough out of your summer, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the milder side of Idaho recreation.