3 Great Southern Idaho Attractions
One of the best perks of visiting or living in Southern Idaho is the seemingly countless destinations there are to visit. There’s no better time than now to start planning your next fun-filled adventures in Southern Idaho. Some of the most gorgeous and spectacular landscapes await and are ready for all to enjoy. Idaho surely doesn’t get the attention it deserves and is often overlooked when it comes to just how incredibly beautiful and absolutely remarkable many of its destinations genuinely are. Don’t take my word for it, be the judge and check it out for yourself. Southern Idaho is home to a wide variety of scenic destinations waiting to make for an ideal day-trip or weekend getaway. Discover locations closer to town or remote destinations that give the feel of being worlds away from everyday living.
The following destinations are what many would consider as 'remote' as there are little to no nearby amenities and generally would make for excellent full-day/+ trips. Furthermore, planning ahead and packing all the extras may help to make for a more enjoyable trip. My experience is that a fully-stocked picnic basket with lots of food, snacks, and water, water, water makes every adventure all the more pleasant. The Oh, how I wish I would’ve list, for me most often includes simple items, for instance, a folding chair or similar and an extra pair of top to bottom outdoor apparel comes in handy often. As always, a spare tire and the car repair kit are never a bad idea anytime a trip is planned. As a rule, I always tell someone where I’m going and when I’m expected back... with the consideration that there is never a guarantee for cell service or the phone charger I forgot to pack. Happy Travels!
Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park & Observatory
This incredible destination is home to some of the most astonishingly beautiful rolling sand dunes complemented by a small lake as well as an observatory. As Idaho is home to several dune locations, Bruneau Sand Dunes ranks as the highest dunes in the state, reaching a colossal height of 470 feet, entry fees apply. Also, find an onsite public observatory complete with evening tours and the opportunity for views of the night’s sky through a solar 25-inch Newtonian Reflector telescope, viewing fees apply. These tours are scheduled throughout the year, so be sure to check in with the parks and recreation department for the most recent updates to the calendar. Spend a day enjoying some of the plentiful activity opportunities, including fishing, boating (electric motors only), birding, as well as sandboarding, skiing, sledding, or your preferred method of enjoying the dunes. There are also several area trails ideal for a hike, bike, or equestrian use. Also, find a host of camping accommodations including serviced, standard, ADA campsites, and cabins (1 ADA) - additional overnight fees apply and services available will vary depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Plan ahead to help make for an overall enjoyable trip.
Travel Distance from Boise: Approx. 65 +/- miles
Travel Distance from Idaho Falls: Approx. 240 +/- miles
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
Not many destinations in the world are as grand as this geological treasure trove of ancient cinder cones, lava tubes, caves, cones, and sagebrush. The rugged desert terrain is captivating year-round as the splendid landscapes of Great Rift, Wapi and Kings Bowl lava fields within the Craters of the Moon formed incredible mountain ranges and are spotted with desert plant life and the occasional wildlife that calls this area home. Be sure to add the Robert Limbert visitors center to the destination list for additional information about this fascinating location. Planning ahead might include an overnight stay at one of the local campgrounds. The campgrounds are seasonal and are weather dependent, so be sure to check in with the National Park Service for opening dates throughout the year, campground sites vary from reservation only to first come first serve. Fees typically apply. Wilderness and backcountry camping is permitted in the Craters of the Moon Wilderness and the National Park Service & BLM Monument with proper outfitting.
Travel Distance from Boise: Approx. 175 +/- miles
Travel Distance from Idaho Falls: Approx. 130 +/- miles
Silver City - Old Mining Ghost Town (still inhabited)
This enchanting destination makes for an excellent day of adventure, combined with area exploration that is filled with history, historic structures, and countless relics. This old mining town is absolutely captivating as visitors make their way into town, passing the Idaho Hotel one of the most prominent structures in the area. There is often an old wooden bench out front of the hotel or seating occupied with residents and visitors alike taking a break and welcoming others to town as they make their way past. For some, this an awe-inspiring experience right off the get-go, as the buildings that still remain are, for the most part, are well preserved, especially with the consideration that some of these structures date well back into the 1800s. The trip alone to get to this destination amplifies how remote the location is and how independent the community remains, even to this day. As visitors make way throughout town, there is a great deal of signage to help make for a more delightful journey back in time.
With a little pre-planning and reservations, also find the opportunity for an overnight stay (overnight rates apply) in the local Idaho Hotel, which was built back in 1863. This area is extremely popular for OHV’s as the War Eagle and Silver City Trail (a.k.a. the Owhyee Loop) wraps around the region. Silver City is home to a slew of structures, about 70 of which are still standing.
Silver City would be considered a seasonal destination, due to the elevation the general area accumulates quite a bit of snow in the winter, and any travel to the area will depend largely on snow and or melt off conditions come warmer weather. Traveling to this wonderful city may prove to make for a bumpy journey as the dirt road wraps its way up through the mountains and into town. Depending on weather-related stresses to the dirt road for the year, the trip can vary from easy to moderately demanding on a vehicle. Rv’s ‘may’ find the trip incompatible. Take a trip back in time when cell service is out (likely), and outhouses are in (probable).
Travel Distance from Boise: Approx. 75 +/- miles
Travel Distance from Idaho Falls: Approx. 280 +/- miles