Although it’s sometimes overlooked in favour of neighboring Montana and Oregon, Hemingway’s favourite state is home to a serious amount of beauty. In fact, it’s probably up there as being one of the USA’s most underrated destinations. The scenery here is mostly made up of wilderness but with a network of truly stunning razor-edged peaks, gushing rivers, dramatic gorges, deep vallies, wonderful waterfalls and welcoming small towns punctuating the unspoiled landscape. It’s hard to know where to start in such a list but I’ve tried my best and here is my choice for 15 of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Idaho…
Boise – said to be one of the best places for millennials to live in the US
This capital city is also known as the city of trees and is one of the best spots to visit in Idaho. Named by the 19th-century French Canadian trappers, this wooded river became a distinct landmark due to the oasis dominated by cottonwood trees.
A nature lover’s paradise, you’ll love the time spent among rivers, mountains, canyons, deserts, and lakes with all sorts of recreational activities. The bustling downtown is a cultural epicenter with the Idaho State Capitol and the Classic Egyptian Theatre and home to many small businesses. Full of incredibly welcoming people, chic cafes, and quirky shops, this mid-sized city retains the charm of a small town.
Sawtooth mountains – a stunning rugged wilderness with miles of trails and gorgeous jagged mountain peaks
Easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Idaho, the rugged Sawtooth Mountains of the Rocky Mountains are rivaled for its size and beauty. Once home to Ernest Hemingway, this landscape offers miles of hiking trails, fast-flowing rivers and pristine mountain lakes.
The most popular lakes in the wilderness include Alice Lake. Hike the serene Alice Lake to witness the true beauty of the Sawtooth wilderness. Another alpine Lake worth exploring is Redfish Lake. Be it leisure or adventure, there’s something for everyone at this scenic lake. The gateway to the picturesque Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho City. Once a populous city during the gold rush, today it hosts historic structures, antique stores & wooden sidewalks.
Idaho state capital building – the state’s most beautiful treasured neoclassical building
The very attractive Idaho State Capital Building in Boise sits at the end of Capitol Street. Designed by John Tourtellotte and Fredrick Hummel, the state Capitol completely constructed in 1920. Highly influenced by the U.S Capitol Building, the life-size statue of Lincoln, and the replica of the liberty bell, there’s a lot to take in.
Within the beautiful sandstone walls, symmetrical wings and Roman columns several laws have been passed to safeguard citizens for nearly a century. Tour around to learn more about the state’s rich cultural history.
Snake River Canyon – one of the most beautiful places to visit in Idaho
Formed along the Snake River in Southern Idaho, this scenic canyon stretches east 7 west on either side of Twin Falls city. Spanning across 50 miles, the Snake River cuts through and flows across ancient basalt lava. A scenic setting for hiking and boating, the Canyon features two major waterfalls amd several springs.
The majestic Perrine Bridge along the canyon provides a striking view. On the north-east lies of the city of Twin Falls is the alluring Shoshone Falls. Often called the most charming waterfalls of the North American sub-continent, the Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the U.S.
Idaho Falls – a stunning beauty spot to visit in Idaho
Encompassing the Snake River in eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls is widely known for its access to the outdoors. The beautiful Idaho Falls River Walk provides a five-mile scenic attraction on both sides of the Snake River. Highlighting some of the spectacular scenery of the city, the greenbelt is a favorite spot for cyclists, runners and strollers.
A blend of art of culture, this city celebrates history with fine places like the Art Museum, The Museum of Idaho, and the Japanese Friendship Garden at Sportsman Park. World-renowned places like the Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole can be reached easily from Idaho Falls.
Sandpoint – is home to astounding beauty and world-class recreational opportunities
Nestled between three mountain ranges on the splendid Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint is buzzing with a variety of outdoor sports & cultural events. Situated in Bonner County, this city is a visitor’s favorite destination in the lap of Mountains.
Home to Idaho’s largest ski resort, the Schweitzer Mountain Resort, it provides excellent ski slopes and terrain parks. Climb the nearby Selkirk and Cabinet mountain ranges or trail through the lake Pend’s skirt, Sandpoint was once named as nation’s most beautiful small town and is a must-see visit in Idaho.
Shoshone Falls – one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States
This spectacular beauty along the Snake River is located on the edge of Twin Falls. Falling off at a marveling height of 212ft, the Shoshone Falls is about 45ft higher than the Niagara Falls. Formed around 14,000years ago, it was a vital fishing and trading place for Native Americans.
With the alluring basalt spectacle and multiple viewpoints, visitors can see the dramatic features of the Snake River on the constructed platform that extends over the water. Pack your lunch and enjoy the natural scenery in the Shoshone National Park – this is a seriously stunning spot to explore in Idaho.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve – a vast ocean of lava flows and a surreally beautiful places to visit
Step into the mystical and surreally beautiful terrain of the Moon in Central Idaho. Located on the Snake River plain between the small towns of Arco and Carey, the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is one of the historic national monument of the country.
With a striking resemblance to the surface of the Moon, this worldly-wonder is filled with scattered islands, cinder cones, lava tubes, and volcanic bombs. The desolate yet sublime landscape was formed by molten lava fields nearly 15 million years ago. Observe the iconic wildlife or camp out under the twinkling stars, this surreal place with the quirky landscape is worth a visit.
Thousand Springs State Park – a magical public recreation and nature preservation area to explore in Idaho
A public recreation and nature preservation area to explore in Idaho, this state park is full of beautiful wonders to explore. Created in 2005 by merging four existing state parks of the Hagerman Valley, the park brims with picturesque landscapes like the Malad Gorge, Kelton Trail, Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve, Billingsley Creek, Ritter Island, Niagara Springs, and Crystal Springs.
Watch the beautiful falls and springs cascading right out of the canyon walls and enjoy wandering the grounds, this place is bound to leave you awe-struck.
Lake Coeur d’ Alene – mentioned by the National Geographic as being the most beautiful lake in the world
Enveloped in the bewitching mountains, the Coeur d’Alene Lake is the second largest lake in northern Idaho. Covering an area of 26 miles with shorelines, parks, campgrounds, trails and beaches, the Lake is primarily fed by the St. Joe River and Coeur d’Alene River.
The pristine blue waters and small beaches come with some of the best water activities. At its northern end is the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene. This mountain town with a floating boardwalk hosts many places to eat and drink. Talk a walk around the stunning lake or indulge in water adventures, your Idaho trip is incomplete without stopping by this scenic lake.
Hells Canyon – North America’s deepest river gorge and a stunning place to visit in Idaho
Encompassing the remote region of Idaho and Oregon, the Hells Canyon was carved by the meandering water of the Snake River. Featuring dramatic terrains, elevation, and climate, this gorgeous landscape contains acres of beauty and adventure.
The protected area around the Hells Canyon, the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area was created in 1975. Hammed by the jagged cliffs and snow-covered Seven Devils Mountain, the scenic wilderness is ideal for hike or mountain bike ride. Definitely one of the states most beautiful places to visit!
Sun Valley – a beautiful resort to explore in Blaine County
Be it skiing or summer fun, the lively Sun Valley offers a galore of recreational activities in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Central Idaho. While the Bald Mountain offers steep and challenging runs for pro skiers and snowboarders, the Dollar Mountain offers gentle slopes perfect for the novice.
Home to the world’s first chairlifts, the Sun Valley’s Ski Resort is also a hotspot for some of the biggest celebrities. Warm-up at the Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum and find out more about Ernest Hemingway’s time in the Sun Valley.
Wallace – one of the most unique and authentic towns to visit in America
The timeless silver producing mining town of Wallace is a registered National Historic Place. Located near the principal town of Coeur d’Alene, Wallace is the “Silver Capital of the World”. Today, the historic Wallace offers much world-class recreation along with the area’s colorful history.
Enjoy the underground mine tours, mine museums, logging, mountain bike, and snowmobile trail on the Forest Service roads against the backdrop of lush green forests. This quaint and attractive town is a perfect place for history buffs and adventurists.
Silver Mountain – is a fun, beautiful and family friend ski resort
The Silver Mountain region is best known for thrilling terrain, deep snow, and sunshine. Close to Coeur d’Alene, Silver Mountain offers excellent nature trails, biking, and skiing. Home to some of the best skiing in Northern Idaho, the ski area sits nestled in the mountains above the nearby town of Kellogg connected by gondolas.
A relaxing destination for families, the Silver Mountain Resort hosts North America’s longest gondola, Idaho’s largest indoor water park and many more attractions.
Stanley – one of the most beautiful small towns to visit in America
It’s a known fact that Idaho has a connoisseur of beautiful small towns to visit in America and Stanley is no exception. Located in Custer County of Idaho, Stanley is the ideal place for a quiet retreat. At the base of Sawtooth Mountains is the serene Stanley Lake.
Regardless of the season, there is plenty to capture in lovely Stanley. From the incredible sunset vistas, hot springs to the summer greenery, and beautiful fall foliage, the tranquillity of Stanley Lake is a heaven for nature lovers.