Top Five Things To See in Idaho
Most people don’t know much about Idaho beyond its reputation for potatoes. That’s really not fair given how much there is to see in the state.
While Idaho’s neighbors like Utah, Wyoming and Montana all have well-earned reputations for amazing scenery, Idaho doesn’t generally get the same kind of love from outsiders. Idaho locals, however, know that there’s no shortage of breathtaking beauty in the Gem state, especially around the banks of the Snake River.
Idaho may not be your first thought in terms of a vacation getaway, but maybe it should be on the list for your next trip. We’ve compiled a list of five things to see in Idaho.
Considered by many to be the “Niagara Falls of the West,” Shoshone Falls is actually larger than its more famous companion. Historically, Shoshone Falls was an important fishing hub for Native Americans, but since the 1960s it’s become a tourist destination given its impressive size and mighty water flows, which are especially strong in the springtime.
Midday visitors will usually be treated to a rainbow when the sun hits the mist at the base of the falls.
You can expect crowds here daily in the summertime, and its scenery can be very impressive during the winter as well.
You don’t have to leave Earth to experience a lunar landscape. The remnants of ancient volcanic activity left behind the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Arco, Idaho.
Craters of the Moon offers a look into the past, as you’ll traverse an ocean of dried up lava that feels oddly out of place yet blends beautifully into the Idaho landscape. Craters covers 54,000 acres of arid lava country – extremely hot in the summer, and dry and cold in the winter.
According to the National Park Service ,“Beginning 15,000 years ago, molten basalt erupted from fissures in the earth’s crust creating this landscape of black and raw lava flows that undulates like a quiet sea.”
In 1969, astronauts Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle all explored the monument in preparation for their trip to the Moon. Today, you can hike or camp there and feel like an astronaut.
There’s no shortage of waterfalls in Idaho, but among the coolest waterfalls is one of the most hidden, Fall Creek Falls.
Surrounded by greenery off the side of a small road in Swan Valley, Fall Creek Falls is somewhat hidden. You’ll probably have to bushwhack your way through a brief but poorly marked trail to find it, but when you come to the clearing, you’ll get a spectacular up-close view of the falls. From the small landing adjacent to the falls, you’ll enjoy distant views that would extend to Wyoming, assuming you could see over the mountaintops.
There’s actually a small cave underneath the upper portion of the falls, which provides a unique view from underneath the water. Use caution, and prepare to get wet if you attempt to climb inside. The falls drop nearly 60 feet into the Snake River, and land upon a bed of rocks before running into the river.
BONUS: When you’re on Highway 26, near Fall Creek Falls, don’t miss the Clark Hill Rest Area in Ririe, Idaho. It provides one of the best scenic views you’ll ever experience at a rest stop.
With two different waterfalls a mile apart, there’s much to see at Mesa Falls in Ashton, Idaho. Upper Mesa Falls are particularly impressive, as water roars into the remains of an ancient volcano that once erupted and spewed ash all over the country.
A well-maintained scenic walkway provides spectacular views of the falls at a safe distance. However, in the wintertime, you’ll need skis or a snowmobile to access the visitor center.
Speaking of “falls”, perhaps the most spectacular falls to be seen in Idaho aren’t waterfalls, but they’re people instead. Adrenaline junkies from all over the world come to Twin Falls to test their fears at the Perrine Bridge, where BASE jumpers plunge off the 486-foot bridge toward the Snake River below before pulling the rip-cord to open their parachutes.
Perrine Memorial Bridge is technically the only location in the US that’s open to BASE jumpers year-round. The location was made famous by Evil Knievel in the 1970s, and today, you’ll see multiple jumpers plunge from the bridge on a daily basis.
If you’re brave (crazy?) enough to try it, several companies like Tandem Base offer tandem jumps with experienced pros.
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