Idaho is one of the best kept travel secrets in America. The 14th largest state is also one of the least densely populated. This means that there is plenty of pristine forests and rugged landscapes to explore. There are almost endless mountain ranges, forests, rivers, lakes and canyons. Idaho has the second largest protected wilderness area in the lower 48 with over 2 million acres in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. No matter what your outdoor preference is, Idaho has something exciting to offer.
Pony Meadows in located in the Payette National Forest and offers 60 easy miles of ATV trails that lead to Bear Lake. The area is family friendly and can be accessed through McCall on highway 55. Here visitors can see plenty of wild animals, but keep in mind there may be moose, wolves and bears. Jump Creek in Sands Basin is west of Nampa near the Oregon border. There are over 50 miles of trails that are perfect for hiking, horseback riding and off roading. There are many challenging ATV trails here to test performance. Remember to keep your eyes open for the herd of wild mustangs and possible rattlesnakes and for poison ivy.
Cascade-Smith’s Ferry Area is conveniently located 60 miles north of Boise. There are a total of 400 miles of trails with 250 of which are groomed. The Winter Wonderland Trail will take visitors up almost 8,000 feet and offers spectacular scenic views. Priest Lake in northern Idaho is only 30 miles south of the Canadian border. Campers can choose from over 150 campsites and enjoy boating, hiking and snowmobiling. Priest Lake has more than 400 miles of snowmobile trails. The Rexburg-Driggs Area Snowmobile Trails offers 280 miles of groomed trails and ten thousand acres of off-trail riding between the communities of Rexburg, Tetonia, and Driggs. As always, be sure to follow riding safety rules and bring basic snowmobile parts/accessories.
Boating and Pontooning
Lake Cascade is located in southwestern Idaho in Boise National Forest. This popular boating and fishing lake offers almost 50 square miles of fun. The lake teems with trout, perch, bass, catfish and salmon that can be fished all year round. There are family friendly recreational areas with playgrounds and numerous access point. The nearby towns of Cascade and Donnelly offer plenty of motels, restaurants and other areas of interest.
The Salmon River begins in central Idaho and meanders to the south different national forests. These include the Payette, Nez Perce. Salmon and Sawtooth National Forests. This means that there are many access points where visitors can enjoy rafting, canoeing, boating and kayaking. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, is one of the best catch and release fly fisheries in America.
Payette Lake near McCall guarantees an excellent pontooning experience. McCall is one of the premier all season destinations in Idaho. Every year many visitors often come here to enjoy family reunions, water activities and hike the easily accessible trails in nearby Boise National Forest and Payette National Forest. The annual Winter Carnival is one event that you don’t want to miss in late January to early February.
Regardless of where you go in Idaho, there are many wonderful outdoor places and activities to enjoy. Idaho guarantees enjoyable and exciting off road, snowmobile and boating experiences. Research and plan your next Idaho trip here: http://www.visitidaho.org.
This guest contribution comes from Houseboat Magazine. They offer information on new boating products, boats, as well as houseboat rental guides.