Spanning pristine landscapes to striking views, some of Idaho’s most popular and impressive destinations are those created without the work of human hands.
There are more than 500,000 acres of young lava fields protected within the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. In 2017, the monument was designated an International Dark Sky Park. Camping is available so you can enjoy exploring the rock-lined trails during the day and then view the starry sky at night like never before. Summer full-moon hikes and other dark sky viewing opportunities round out the experience.
Plunging 212 feet into the Snake River, Shoshone Falls is one of Idaho’s most famous natural beauties and considered the “The Niagara of the West.” Other must-see waterfalls include Mesa Falls near Ashton and Fall Creek Falls near Swan Valley.
Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge, carves its way between giant slabs of green and black basalt walls along the Idaho-Oregon border. Filled with Native American and homesteading history, the canyon is well known for great fishing, whitewater rafting and jet boating.
Aptly named for its towering granite pinnacles, fins and domes, the City of Rocks National Reserve is a 14,407-acre reserve situated at the southern end of the Albion Mountains. The area is renowned for rock climbing and also counts mountain biking, birdwatching and hiking among its main attractions.
You can’t drive through the town of Stanley in central Idaho without your jaw dropping at the view of the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. This stunning range and its myriad hiking trails, lakes and valleys offer some of the best backcountry experiences in the state, summer or winter.
Henrys Fork, a tributary of the Snake River in eastern Idaho, is one of the country’s top blue-ribbon trout streams. Other prized fly-fishing locations include Silver Creek, Teton River, Henrys Lake, Big Wood River, the South Fork of the Snake River and the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.
Idaho is home to over 2,000 lakes — many of them picturesque bodies of alpine water. Take a dip or cast a fly into Priest Lake, Lake Coeur d’Alene and Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho; Payette Lake, Cascade Lake and Redfish Lake in central Idaho; and Henrys Lake, Grays Lake, and Bear Lake in eastern Idaho.
One of the best ways to experience Idaho’s natural beauty is from behind the wheel. Take a ride on one of our 31 scenic highways and byways that wind through mountain passes, dense forests and past rushing rivers and sparkling lakes.
Read these Travel Tips for more natural attractions to explore.