Best Adventurous Getaways in Idaho
Idaho has the most federally designated wilderness areas in the lower 48 states, and over 70% of the state is public land. The highest point in the state is Mt Borah (at 12,600’ elevation) and the lowest point is the confluence of two of the largest rivers in the west, the Snake and Salmon Rivers (700′ elevation). Within those 12,000 feet of elevation existsone of the most most diverse ecological and geographical profiles in the country. Here are our suggestions of the best adventure activities and Idaho getaways that the Gem State has to offer.
Idaho is known as “The Whitewater State” and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is the crown jewel of wild and scenic white water river rafting trips in Idaho. The Middle Fork flows over 100 miles through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The gin-clear water makes its way through Class II – IV rapids as it carves through the famous Impassable Canyon. Salmon River rafting is truly an experience that should not be missed while in Idaho.
Idaho is famous for its fly waters. Fly fishing the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, located in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness, is an unbelievable experience for catching West Slope Cutthroat. The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and the South Fork of the Boise River are also included in our guide to the best 3 fly fishing rivers in Idaho.
Mountain Biking Under the Grand Teton
If you’re looking to get away from crowds and explore some mountain biking trails beneath one of the most gorgeous mountains on earth – the Grand Teton – consider a visit to Driggs, Idaho. The largest network of trails are located in the Big Hole and Horseshoe Canyon trailheads on the west side of the Teton Valley, and at Grand Targhee Resort right in front of The Grand Teton. Take advantage of the free mountain bike shuttle! For a mellower trail experience, you can spend the day on the Yellowstone/Grand Teton Rail Trail. The Rail Trail is a 30 mile restored gravel and dirt bike route on the original Oregon Pacific Railroad. It winds its way through farmlands and forests with a view of the Teton Mountains. At the end of the day, bed down and feast at the unique Teton Teepee Lodge.
Take a Scenic Flight for Breakfast at a Wilderness Lodge
Throughout the millions of acres of Idaho’s wilderness areas remain small privately owned ranches. Most of these ranches are only accessed by small backcountry planes (or by multi day raft or horse trips) that can land on short, remote dirt airstrips. A few backcountry air taxi services offer a morning scenic flight to a wilderness ranch or lodge where you can enjoy a hearty breakfast before returning again by air. Scenic flights in Idaho are likely to blow your mind with views of some of the most rugged and remote snow capped wilderness mountain ranges in the country. Flights typically leave from Boise, Stanley, McCall, Salmon or Challis.
Catered and Guided Yurt Trip – Summer or Winter
Yurt culture is a big part of mountain life for central Idaho locals and tourists. Stanley and Sun Valley Trekking and Sawtooth Mountain Guides operate yurts in the Pioneer, Smoky, and Sawtooth Mountains. Yurts are available for hiking in summer or backcountry skiing in the winter, and you can hire professional guiding and instruction for both seasons. Reserve a yurt and add-on a guide and gourmet experience deep in the mountains of Idaho where you can enjoy multiple days surrounded by alpine lakes and snow-capped peaks.
The Sawtooth Mountains
The Sawtooth Mountains are perhaps the most famous and popular destination for adventurers in Idaho. The most popular and scenic access point to the Sawtooths is Redfish Lake. Stay at the Redfish Lake Lodge for a comfortable and gourmet experience in the heart of the Sawtooth Valley. For day hikes and backpacking adventures, start your trip into the $12 boat shuttle to the trailhead across the lake. For an unforgettable adventure, go on a multi-day pack trip with Mystic Saddle Ranch deep into the majestic Sawtooth Mountains.
Magruder Corridor…4WD vehicle
The Magruder Corridor is a 100 miles dirt road that winds through the wild heart of central Idaho. The name of the road is in memory of the haunting history of Lloyd Magruder, who was brutally murdered by outlaws in the 1860s along the trail. The corridor connects Elk City, Idaho with Darby, MT and crosses over Nez Perce Pass on the high spine of the Bitterroot Mountains. This dirt road is the only separator between two of the largest wilderness areas in America: The Frank Church-River of No Return (2.3 million acres), and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness (1.3 million acres). Rent ATVs or throw your camping gear in the car for a backroad experience like nowhere else in the lower 48 states.
Tandem Base Jumping
If you’ve made it this far, and all of these adventure activities seem too slow-paced for your taste, consider taking to the air! You can take a tandem paragliding flight with Fly Sun Valley at Sun Valley Ski Area or a tandem base jump off the Perrine Bridge, the 8th highest bridge in the United States.