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Top Ten Destination Spots for Idaho

Updated on October 20, 2015

10. Evel Knievel Jump Site

The Evel Knievel jump site is located in twin Falls Idaho and Snake River canyon. The Snake River jump ramp is still there to this day and draws tourists from all over the place.

On September 8, 1972, Evel Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River jump ramp and make it to the other side of the Snake River with no luck. Even though he did not achieve what he went to Snake River Canyon to do, the anticipation of this stunt was huge and aired on television as well as in theaters.

Along with the jump site; there is also a museum and a monument dedicated to him.

Snake River Canyon is five hundred feet deep in some areas and is a tourist attraction due to its parks and golf courses along with the breathtaking views of the canyon.

If you are visiting The Evel Knievel Jump SIte, why not take a drive on the Snake River Scenic Byway where you will see Rock Map, which is a rock engraved with old hieroglyphs. This scenic byway also enters a wild life refuge along with a number of vineyards and wineries.

Fort Boise is another point of interest on the Snake River Scenic Byway. This historical fort was founded in 1863 by the US Government and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fort Boise

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Evel Kneivel Snake Canyon Jump Site

9. Craters of the Moon

In-between Boise and Yellowstone lies a natural area called Craters of the Moon. This site is full of caves, lava fields (which are the most preserved in the US) and unusual volcanic formations.

There are three major lava fields located in this unique preserve and home to a deep rift crack which stretches down into the earth at 800 feet. This crack is the deepest known of its kind of the world.

This land also houses plants and wildlife.There are hundreds of species of plant at Craters of the Moon. There are wildflowers which bloom in May but when there is a drought you will find plant growth in the cracks and crevices in the area. A common plant which grows here is Dwarf Buckwheat. The animals here include; reptiles, birds and many mammals.

Campgrounds can be found in the area and included are: water, restrooms, charcoal grills and trash cans.

Trails are available as well which gives you the perfect opportunity to get different views of the preserve. The caves are in dark color due to the volcanic rocks that have eroded over years from the Snake River. These caves are also in the form of tunnels that are open for public viewing however; flashlights are required for all but one.

Stop by the visitor center to learn about the geology of Crater of the Moon and take a ranger led walk. You can also take a self guided tour.

On top of the inferno Cone Viewpoint you will overlook all of the preserve along with views of the mountains that are a backdrop at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Tree molds can also be seen here.

The trees were mostly incinerated by lava after an eruption however, when some of them burned, they would release water causing the lava to cool down forming a unique mold, which are now known as tree molds.

Dwarf Buckwheat at Craters of the Moon

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Craters of the Moon Idaho

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Craters of the Moon

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8. Boise Art Museum

The Boise Art Museum houses many art exhibits including; glass work and woodwork.

There are also cultural exhibits with objects from Africa and Papua New Guinea and North America which are from the time periods of the pre European era to current.

The exhibit that houses cultural objects in the Boise Art Museum is called, Origins: Objects of Material Culture.

There are many events hosted by the Boise Art Museum. one of the events is called, Art in the Park. This event is held at Julia Davis Park and happens yearly. There you will be entertained with art, food and music.

Another event is the Art of Nature Annual Gala where items are donated and auctioned off. Art classes and school programs are available at the Boise Art Museum.

James Orr at Art in the Park

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Boise Art Museum

Boise Art Museum
Boise Art Museum | Source

7. Gold Fork Hot Springs

Gold Fork Hot Springs is located in Donnelly, Idaho. There are six springs located at this site and both hot and cold springs are available.

Many people soak in them for the hydro massage it offers. Gold Fork Hot Springs is 100% natural and is full of minerals that are great for the skin and hair which is another attraction to this hot spot.

The scenery is perfect for a nice relaxing dip in one or all of the springs.

Between the mountains and the forest that surround this area, you are bound to have a serene experience.

Would you prefer the hot springs or the cold springs?

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Gold Fork Hot Springs

6. Lewis and Clark Trail

Many of the popular hot-spots in Idaho are areas that the Lewis and Clark Exposition went through in hopes of reaching the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark trail is a hot spot in itself and crosses over many states leaving behind historical attractions along the trail.

Lewis and Clark, Along with Sacagawea were in Idaho from August, 12 1805 and left that October. The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway will take you on the same path that the Lewis and Clark Exposition took while in Idaho.

This byway will take you along the Clearwater River and pass through the Nez Perce National Historic Area. This path will end in Montana where you will have the opportunity to visit the Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

While you explore this path you will see one beautiful vista after another and you wont regret it. You will see many different types of terrain as well as lakes, rivers, wildlife and landmarks while you explore this historical trail.

There are different tour companies which will take you along the Lewis and Clark Trail throughout each state they passed through.

Lewis and Clark trail

Lewis and Clark Trail
Lewis and Clark Trail | Source

Clearwater River

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5. Nez Perce National Historic Park

The Nez Perce National Historic Park covers areas in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. This park is full of rivers, canyons, prairies and mountains. This was the location of the Nez Perce war in 1877 and was settled by Nez Perce people. The headquarters of this beautiful park are located in Lapwai, Idaho.

There are trails that are connected to many of the sites. One of the trails located there is the Nez Perce National Trail.

While visiting the Nez Perce National Historic Park you will see many points of interest which include; Fort Lapwai, The William Craig Homestead which was home to the first european settler in Idaho, St Josephs Mission which was built in 1886 and is closed to the public, Weis Rockshelter which is a shelter made of rock.

This structure was built by ancestors of the Nez Perce Tribe over 8,000 years ago and The Canoe Camp where Lewis and Clark built canoes to head west.

The Nez Perce National Historic Park is also home to a couple of battlefields which are the White Bird Battlefield and the Clearwater Battlefield.

There are also several sites where the Lewis and Clark Exposition went through. There is even a camp where they stayed for a month. This camp is called the Lewis and Clark Long Camp. These are just some of the sites located at the Nez Perce Park National Historic Park.

The Canoe Camp

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Nez Perce Battlefield

Nez Perce Battlefield
Nez Perce Battlefield | Source

St Joseph's Mission at Nez Perce National Historic Park

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4. Clearwater National Forest

The Clearwater National Forest is full of beautiful scenery as well as places to camp, hike and fish. It is surrounded by mountains, rivers and even lakes.

There are also a couple of natural hot springs located in this stunning forest. The Jerry Johnsons Hot Spring and The Weir Creek Hot Springs. This is another area where the Lewis and Clark Exposition went through.

There are two rivers in the area; the Clearwater River and the Lochsa River where you will have the opportunity to go fishing, boating or just to relax and take in the views. This is another piece of land where Lewis and Clark traveled through.

William Clark is known to have said, "From this mountain I could observe high rugged mountains in every direction as far as I could see." That is what you will see while visiting the Clearwater National Forest along with views of the flora and fauna.

Lochsa River

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Clearwater National Forest

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3. Hells Canyon

Carved by the Snake River and located in Western Idaho, Hells Canyon borders Oregon and Washington. Hells Canyon is 10 miles wide and is said to be the deepest river gorge in the United States.

Early settlers are the Nez Perce tribe, Shoshone-Bannock, Paiute and Cayuse Indians. The Lewis and Clark Exposition also went through this gorgeous canyon on the Salmon River as well.

This is a great place to go camping and fishing and there are a lot of camp spots available on this land with fantastic scenery.

The perfect place to camp in Hells Canyon is Pittsburgh Landing which houses 28 campsites and even has a place to launch your boat on the river.

A popular place to go is the Hells Canyon Dam which was used to create Hells Canyon Reservoir and was built by the Idaho Power Company. With a combination of hiking, camping, fishing, the history and its beauty; this is the place to go.

Visit Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon Reservoir Dam

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View of Hells Canyon from Heavens Gate

Hells Canyon from Heavens Gate
Hells Canyon from Heavens Gate | Source

2. Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Sawtooth Scenic Byway isn’t just one spot to see. It’s littered with many hotspots to see and everyone one of them are worth stopping for.

One of the main attractions located on the Sawtooth Scenic Byway is Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave is a cave that is a half a mile long and is formed by lava, making it a lava cave.

Also on this wonderful byway is the Sculptured Canyon which offers wonderful views, some of which are rock structures and potholes.

Looking for fishing, camping and hiking? Then there isn’t a better place to go than Redfish Lake. Redfish Lake is known for its salmon.

Galena Summit is a great place to overlook the Sawtooth Mountains and the Salmon River. This overlook is also located on this byway.

Ernest Hemingway spent the last of his years in this area and was an avid fly fisherman.

Would you rather go fishing or go hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains?

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Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Sawtooth Scenic Byway
Sawtooth Scenic Byway | Source

Sawtooth Mountains

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1. Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls is a spectacular waterfall located on the Snake River. It has been called, “Niagara of the west” by many people and is 212 feet high making it 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls.

These falls are beauty beyond words and are a must see. Close to Twin Falls, Idaho, Shoshone Falls is best views during Spring and Summer time however; the views will be spectacular any time of the year as long as there is enough water to keep it flowing during Winter and Fall.

It is accessible by car and there is also wheelchair accessibility. Dogs are also welcome here if you want to bring your dog along.

Shoshone Falls Park is close by and offers many trails along with a playground for kids and even concession stands if you want to grab a bite to eat or drink.

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Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls | Source

Here is a road map to help get you around!

show route and directions
A markerCraters of the Moon National Monument -
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Arco, ID 83213, USA
get directions

B markerEvel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump Site -
Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump Site, Idaho 83301, USA
get directions

C markerShoshone Falls -
Shoshone Falls, Idaho, USA
get directions

D markerBoise Art Museum -
Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Drive, Boise City, ID 83702, USA
get directions

E markerGold Fork Hot Springs -
Gold Fork Road, Donnelly, ID 83615, USA
get directions

F markerLewis and Clark Trail -
Lewis and Clark Trail, ID, USA
get directions

G markerNez Perce Park -
Nez Perce National Historical Park, 39063 US Highway 95, Nezperce, ID 83540, USA
get directions

H markerClearwater National Forest -
Clearwater National Forest, Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544, USA
get directions

I markerHells Canyon Idaho -
Hells Canyon, Coeur D'Alene National Forest, Idaho 83835, USA
get directions

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    • profile image

      Jessica Davidson 3 years ago

      What an interesting article. Now I know that Idaho doesn't only have potatoes.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 3 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Did not know about many of these sights although I have been through Idaho a few times. Great hub.

    • April Dawn Meyer profile image
      Author

      April Dawn Meyer 3 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Thanks again :) I love the Sawtooth Mountains. They are so majestic.

    • profile image

      AK Chenoweth 3 years ago

      Loved this hub April, thank you for posting...AK

    • April Dawn Meyer profile image
      Author

      April Dawn Meyer 3 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Thanks for reading. :)

    • profile image

      Buck 2 years ago

      A little rationality lifts the quality of the debate here. Thanks for corugibttinn!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      This is beautiful. I have never been here but it certainly looks interesting and I love the photo of shoshone falls. We love looking at natural things like falls. Great Hub, will read more.

    • Romanian profile image

      Nicu 2 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      This is a very beautiful state, with a lot of great places to visit. I wish I could visit some of these destinations one day.

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