SPRING & SUMMER

Spring’s arrival in Idaho yields a blossoming of outdoor recreation opportunities across the geographically diverse Gem State. In the Summer, outdoor adventure opportunities are endless. Splash through river rapids, zip from tree to tree, cast a fly into an alpine lake, explore a ghost town, hike and bike through wildflower-filled meadows, pick and munch on huckleberries and so much more.

Festivals & Events (some events are cancelled or rescheduled due to COVID-19)

March

Rock your heart out at Treefort Music Fest — a five-day festival in downtown Boise showcasing more than 400 bands and 10 specialty forts. Foodfort pays tribute to all things culinary, where you can eat your way through special menus and attend tastemaker talks. Alefort highlights mouthwatering beer, wine, cider and cocktails, complete with live canning lines, barrel tastings and more. Hackfort brings techies together to celebrate and discuss all things technology and its impact on our daily lives. Filmfort offers three days of independent film screenings along with panels and Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Fans of cinema should plan to arrive a few days early to catch the Sun Valley Film Festival.

April

Groove to the sounds of world-renowned artists at the Gene Harris Jazz Festival in Boise. Dancers and drummers come from across the Northwest and Canada to take part in the Tutxinmepu Powwow — a vibrant representation of Native American culture. Celebrate Idaho Craft Beer Month with beer dinners, pairing events and tap takeovers designed to showcase the delicious fermentations Idaho brewers craft each year. Stop by one of several farmers markets around the state to pick up fresh, local produce, products and locally crafted goods while enjoying the sounds of local musicians. Markets typically run spring through fall.

May

Celebrate the works of William Shakespeare under the stars in Boise at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival Theater & Reserve. Shows run May-September. Lights & Lasers at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls will mesmerize spectators of all ages when the Niagara of the West and the surrounding canyon are illuminated by hundreds of lasers. Take the family out to the ballgame at the 64th Annual NAIA World Series, which will be held in Lewiston. The Minor League Baseball Affiliate Boise Hawks and Idaho Falls Chukars take the field in June.

June

June is Idaho Wine Month, where you can celebrate with special wine releases, dinner pairings and events throughout the state. For a foot-stomping good time paired with food and a parade, make your way to the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival in Weiser. Get your grub on at From the Ashes — a festival featuring nationally recognized pitmasters firing up the best in American barbecue. Stroll through the lovely Idaho Botanical Garden while sampling award-winning Idaho wines and chatting with local winemakers at Savor Idaho. Boise’s Greek Food Festival will have you shouting “opa!” as you feast on gyros, baklava and other traditional dishes while enjoying live music and performances. Family fun is the focus at the four-day Emmett Cherry Festival, featuring cherries galore, parades and nightly concerts. Beer lovers migrate to the Mountain Brewers’ Beer Fest in Idaho Falls for more than 100 featured breweries, food vendors, live music and more. Take a seat along the churning Payette River to watch one of the toughest whitewater kayaking competitions in the world at the North Fork Championship.

July

Enjoy the masterful sounds of a symphony orchestra in a spectacular setting at the Sun Valley Music Festival’s Summer Concerts. Concerts are free and run July through August. Recognized as one of the top rodeos in the nation, the Snake River Stampede features barrel racing, bull riding, roping and crowd-favorite mutton busting. Julyamsh in Coeur d’Alene is the Northwest’s largest outdoor powwow, showcasing hundreds of Native American dancers, dozens of drum groups and a horse parade with riders and horses in full regalia. Let the sound of blues guide you through the Historic Wallace Blues Festival. It’s up, up and away with hot air balloons at the Teton Valley Balloon Rally in eastern Idaho, where you can watch them take flight or enjoy a tethered ride of your own. Celebrate Idaho’s rich Basque culture with delectable food, colorful dancing and competitive tests of strength at Jaialdi, held every five years in Boise. Revel in eight nights of eclectic music under the stars on Lake Pend Oreille at the Festival at Sandpoint. Celebrate amazing wine, food and music at Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s Northwest Winefest.

August

The Caldwell Night Rodeo features five nights of professional rodeo action. Experience Native American dancing, singing, arts and crafts and more at the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival. Witness jet boats racing through rapids at 140 miles per hour at Thunder on the Snake. There’s no better place to sample Idaho’s flavorful state fruit than at festivals around the state. Enjoy huckleberry-filled foods as well as crafts, games, live music and more at festivals in Donnelly and Wallace.

Whitewater Rafting/Kayaking

Home to the most navigable miles of whitewater in the lower 48, it is no wonder Idaho tops several lists when it comes to paddling adventures. Splash your way through Class III and IV rapids on the iconic Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a trip packed with spectacular scenery, wildlife, hot springs and trout fishing along the way. Many Idaho rivers, including the Selway, Lochsa, Payette Salmon and Snake, offer half, full, and multi-day adventures to keep the thrills coming.

Hot Springs

Thanks to its unique geological location, Idaho is home to 130 soakable hot springs — meaning they are natural and easily accessible or have been developed into pools of varying temperatures and include modern amenities like changing rooms and food service. There is no better way to soothe your soul — and travel-weary muscles — than a bubbling, geothermal soak. Pine Flats Hot Springs, near Lowman, lets you marvel at jaw-dropping views of the South Fork of the Payette River as you enjoy the soothing flow of a hot, mini-waterfall over your shoulders. For a more luxurious experience, take a trip to The Springs in Idaho City, where you can book a soak and a massage and then dine in one of their heated pool-side yurts. 

Yurt Camping

For a true backcountry Idaho experience, there’s nothing quite like a yurt camping adventure. Yurts are circular, tent-like structures that comfortably sleep six people and typically come furnished with fireplaces, bunk beds, a propane stove, pots, pans and more. Idaho State Parks manages six backcountry yurts near Idaho City that are accessible year-round. Reserve a yurt at idahostateparks.reserveamerica.com.

Fishing

Famous for its trout fishing, Idaho is also the only inland state in the western U.S. where you can wrangle king salmon or steelhead. 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 also home to over 2,000 shimmering lakes and expansive reservoirs which tempt anglers with diverse fishing. Cast into Priest Lake, Lake Coeur d’Alene and Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho; Payette Lake, Lake Cascade and Redfish Lake in central Idaho; and Henrys Lake, Grays Lake, and Bear Lake in eastern Idaho.

Rock Climbing

Lying on the western edge of the Continental Divide, Idaho’s volcanic and tectonic history is to thank for the Gem State’s staggering, rugged geography. Our jagged landscapes provide a playground for all types of climbing. Hailed as one of Idaho’s top climbing locations for trad climbers, Elephant’s Perch is a 1,000-foot wall featuring roughly 30 routes ranging 5.9-5.12 that loom over the scenic Saddleback Lakes (pack your license and rod for the trout!). City of Rocks National Reserve is aptly named for the thousands of granite formations rising like skyscrapers across the southeastern Idaho desert. Internationally renowned, this climbing mecca boasts over 600 routes ranging from 30 to 600 feet and ratings of 5.6-5.14.

Ghost & Mining Towns

Idaho’s gold rush drew thousands in search of a better life, forming communities that became forgotten remnants when the prospectors left in search of other areas. These mining-turned-ghost towns offer a glimpse into Idaho’s wild west history.

Breweries

April is Idaho Craft Beer Month, which makes the Gem State a great spring destination for fans of the cold, frothy nectar. Raise a pint and take a tour at over 70 breweries across the state — all serving up a variety of beers and ciders to please any type of palate.

Mountain Biking

Offering thousands of miles of single-track around the state, you’ll find challenging trails wherever you go. The chairlift at Tamarack Resort’s Bike Park takes riders to mid-mountain where you’ll have access to 20 trails and 1,700 vertical feet packed with multiple rock slabs, steep runs, rocky chutes and other technical terrain. Silver Mountain Bike Park claims North America’s longest gondola, which provides access to 3,400 feet of some of Idaho’s best lift-served downhill trails. Excellent mountain biking trails can be found in communities around the state and at many of Idaho’s ski areas, including Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, Grand Targhee, Schweitzer Mountain and others. Idaho also has a huge offering of rail-to-trail routes great for biking or hiking. Check out the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Route of the Hiawatha, Weiser River Trail and Ashton to Tetonia Trail.

Motorsports
From evergreen valleys and snow-covered hills to sand-swept desert landscapes, throttle-happy adventurers will find all kinds of designated off-road territory to get their motor running. Big Southern Butte south of Arco features one of the largest dormant volcanic domes and breathtaking views along a 68-mile, off-road loop that takes you to an elevation of 7,500 feet (pro tip: bring extra fuel). Northwest of Idaho Falls, the St. Anthony Sand Dunes rise up to 400 feet above the valley floor, treating off-roading enthusiasts to a day of dune buggy fun, Idaho-style. Popular trails can also be found around Idaho City, Cascade, Mackay, and all throughout Idaho.

Wildflower Treks

The spring thaw activates a bloom of vibrant wildflowers in Idaho’s mountains, foothills, valleys and meadows for hikers and roadtrippers to enjoy into early summer. Experience Idaho’s brilliant wildflowers at these six must-see locations.

Jet Boating

Hold on for a wild ride as you speed over rushing rapids on a thrilling jet boat trip. Skilled captains navigate riders through scenic country where wildlife and natural beauty are plentiful. Hells Canyon and the Salmon River offer epic, fun-filled experiences.

Zip Lining

Nothing compares to the thrill of wind in your face as you soar over forest canopies, creeks, canyons and valleys at speeds up to 55 mph. Zip lining in Idaho offers some of the best vantage points to experience the state’s raw beauty as you zip from platform to platform. Outfitters are peppered across the Gem State and our diverse geography, so finding some high-speed fun is easy.

Check out the following Travel Tips for more spring adventure inspiration.

The 5 Flies You Need for Spring Fishing in Idaho

9 Strange and Tasty Idaho Craft Beers

Outdoor Offerings Near Boise This Spring

Cycling and Fishing Along the Ashton to Tetonia Trail

6 Must See Places to View Idaho’s Spring Wildflowers

A Family-Friendly Guide for an Idaho ATV Adventure

Soak Away the Day in Idaho’s Hot Springs

Explore Idaho’s Ghost Towns

City of Rocks: Idaho’s Other City Life


WINTER

From bundling up and bombing down slopes to watching the snow fall from the steaming, soothing confines of a hot springs pool, winter’s return is a cause for celebration and recreation in Idaho.

Festivals & Events

November

Take a journey to the North Pole at Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Holiday Light Show, where the whole family will enjoy a short lake cruise to greet Santa and his elves hard at work. For a dazzling display of over 400,000 lights in a beautiful garden setting, check out Boise’s Winter Garden aGlow.

December

Sleigh rides, holiday light displays, musical performances, scavenger hunts and hot cocoa are all part of the fun at Sun Valley’s Winter Wonderland. Nothing will get you into the Winter Spirit like a festive display of more than 500,000 lights along the streets of historic downtown Lewiston or the million twinkling lights along Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell. For a one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve experience, check out the giant, glowing Idaho Potato Drop in Boise, Sugar Beet Drop in Rupert or Cherry Rise in Emmett.

January

Gigantic snow sculptures, fireworks and parades pack the iconic, 10-day McCall Winter Carnival. At the Wild West Winterfest in Island Park, you’ll encounter a torchlit snowmobile parade down the country’s longest main street along with fireworks, a snowman-building contest, ice-fishing derby, dog sledding, a casino night and more. Rev it up for some classic snowmobiling action at the Vintage Snowmobile Races in Priest Lake.

February

February is the month for the unique and unusual. Fling ice balls from a catapult, take part in a polar river float, watch fire performers and more at the Fire & Ice Winterfest in Lava Hot Springs. The 10-day Sandpoint Winter Carnival is capped with the annual K-9 Keg Pull, featuring dogs of all sizes pulling everything from beer cans to full-size kegs along a snow-packed course. From a pub crawl and a beach party to skijoring, fat biking, live music and some never-before-seen races, you’ll find it all at the Stanley Winterfest.

Skiing & Snowboarding

With 28,000 vertical feet of terrain across 18,000 acres, Idaho’s 18 ski resorts offer wintery exhilaration for any type or level of skier or boarder. Take in a stunning summit view atop Tamarack Resort’s Upper Serenity run. Sun Valley Resort’s 2-mile-long Upper-to-Lower Warm Springs run is an infamous leg-burner. Bask in piles and piles of powder accented with a Teton-Range backdrop at Grand Targhee Ski Resort. Enjoy cross-country and skate skiing at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area’s 37 km of Nordic trails. Not for the faint of heart, Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s heli-skiing lets you descend a heart-pounding 10,000-14,000 vertical feet. Experience backcountry beauty — and plenty of untouched powder — on a guided cat skiing trip at Brundage Mountain Resort.

Snowmobiling

Home to more than 7,200 miles of snowmobile trails and terrain, Idaho provides ample access for sledding adventurers to get their ride on. Carve through deep forest up to snowy bowls above the tree line along Priest Lake’s 400 miles of groomed trails. Wellington Snow Park, just south of Cascade, treats riders to 400 miles of trails (250 miles of challenging backcountry). Head off-road at Sawtooth Basin near Stanley, where you’ll encounter alpine lakes and jaw-dropping views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Hot Springs

Thanks to its unique geological location, Idaho is home to 130 soakable hot springs — meaning they are natural and easily accessible or have been developed into pools of varying temperatures and include modern amenities like changing rooms and food service. There is no better way to soothe your soul — and travel-weary muscles — than a bubbling, geothermal soak. Pine Flats Hot Springs, near Lowman, lets you marvel at jaw-dropping views of the South Fork of the Payette River as you enjoy the soothing flow of a hot, mini-waterfall over your shoulders. For a more luxurious experience, take a trip to The Springs in Idaho City, where you can book a soak and a massage and then dine in one of their heated pool-side yurts.

Yurt Camping

For a true backcountry Idaho experience in winter, there’s nothing quite like a yurt camping adventure. Yurts are circular, tent-like structures that comfortably sleep several people and come furnished with fireplaces, bunk beds, a propane stove, pots, pans and more. Idaho State Parks manages six backcountry yurts near Idaho City that are accessible year-round. Reserve a yurt at idahostateparks.reserveamerica.com.

Check out our Travel Tips for more winter fun.

7 Reasons You Need a Winter Getaway in Island Park

Lookout Pass is the Winter Oasis You’ve Been Searching For

Book Yourself the Snowy Getaway You Deserve in McCall, Idaho

3 Untapped Idaho Ski Destinations That Will Blow Your Mind

Idaho Winter Festivals to Explore This Holiday Season

5 Idaho Ski Areas With Something for Skiers & Non-Skiers

Unbelievable Idaho Winter Experiences

A Beginner’s Guide To Winter Activities In Idaho

Rev it up! Snowmobile Idaho

Champagne Powder & Snowmobile Dreams


FALL

Fall, when the temperatures cool and the leaves begin to change, is the perfect season for adventures in Idaho. Here’s a sample of some of our favorites.

Catch the fall colors – While difficult to predict, we can usually count on quality leaf peeping beginning in early October in the higher elevations and running through October in lower elevations.

Scenic Byway Road Trips – Travel any of Idaho’s 31 scenic byways through small towns, past mountain vistas and along tumbling rivers to see the fall colors. Make sure to stop at a hot spring along the way.

Bike or hike – With more than 19,000 hiking trails around the state, it’s easy to find the perfect beginner family trail, or one that will challenge the most avid hiker or biker. Favorites include the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, Route of the Hiawatha (best for biking), Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, and North Idaho Centennial Trail, as well as biking and hiking trails at several ski areas, state parks and along urban greenbelts.

Festival Fun – With Fall for History in Wallace, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival and Wagon Days near Sun Valley, Oktober Fests around the state and more, Idaho comes alive to celebrate the season.

Eats and Drinks – Idaho’s wine industry has experienced continued growth with 3 AVAs in the state and more than 50 wineries, most with vineyard or urban tasting rooms. Craft breweries are also on the rise – as the #1 producer of barley and #2 producer of hops in the U.S. and supply of clean mountain water, it’s no surprise Idaho is on the radar of beer lovers everywhere. There are also a number of cider houses and distilleries in the state. Great drinks demand great eats, and restaurants around the state pride themselves on using locally sourced products to create deliciously creative menus. From the tried and true steak house to a Basque tapas bar, or a culinary tour, tempting tastes await.