Outdoor Adventures in the Gem State

Idaho is a beautiful place. Scenic mountains and gorgeous valleys await all travellers. Finding the best vacation spots can make the weekend much more exciting and give a nice break from the everyday grind. Whether you are a snowboarding guru, an avid hiker, or a fantastic fisherman, exploring Idaho is the best way to hone your hobbies.

Starting out in southern eastern Idaho, Arco is home to the stunning landscape of lava rock hills and caves. Craters of the Moon is one destination that just cannot be missed! This little gem covers 500,000 acres of land and is a gorgeous show of what nature can do. If your journeys take you to this monument, there are some tips you ought to consider in order to make the most of your trip. Many people visit in the summertime where there are few places to take refuge from the glaring sun. While this experience can still create a wonderful memory, one expert on this lovely destination suggests visiting during different times of the year. Many places are beautiful in different ways depending upon the season- Craters of the Moon is no different. This summer through fall is a great show of art and sculptures on the rocks, while winter brings the opportunity to snowshoe across the beautiful flows. In addition, try to visit during the morning and evening hours when the sun is not as hot and the lighting falls more artistically across the dark landscape. Cave exploration is certainly another fun activity to try out during your visit, so bring your spelunking gear. The park is open in some spots to campers on a first come, first served basis. This fall the campgrounds are undergoing renovation to widen the roads and some camping spots for motorhomes and pop-up trailers. Next year may be the perfect time for you to pitch your tent in of one of Idaho’s hidden gems.

Moving west, though not too far of a drive, Shoshone Ice Caves make a beautiful show of what the earth can do with lava structures. While Craters of the Moon is an exciting show of lava tubes, nearby Shoshone caves hold an entirely different experience. The Ice Caves are home to a giant glacier which is an amazing feat due to its location under the hot sun in the middle of a desert of hardened lava. Year round, the refrigeration cycle of the cave (which is remarkably similar to current food refrigerators) works to keep the temperature under 35 degrees. The caves are well lit to allow guests to see the formations and have structures built in to make touring the caves more manageable. Tours are available daily and on holidays and guides offer their expertise to show off this awesome natural creation.

In the middle of the gem state sits a marvelous little town called Stanley. Redfish Lake Lodge is located just outside of Stanley where a glacial lake was formed between five mountains. The pristine water shimmers in the sunlight and can be seen from the main Lodge’s porch, while hikers can request to be ferried across the lake to find their own slice of paradise. Many hiking trails can be found in this area as well as wild raspberries and all sorts of fantastic wildlife. The rivers weaving throughout the grounds house Kokanee salmon and other sorts of underwater creatures making this destination the perfect place to relax and fish. Guests can rent cabins or camp in certain marked locations. While you are there, be sure to try the sweet potato fries from the outdoor gazebo as you enjoy folk band performances on the front lawn.

Boise houses many outdoor activities, but if you love to stroll through beautiful, floral landscapes then the Idaho Botanical Gardens are for you. The Botanical Gardens have some of the most beautiful blooms in the area. There are always exciting events that you can attend, from taking classes to learn about which plants to use in cooking to summer concerts with hip bands. During the winter, snow covers the ground and blankets the garden beds for their winter nap. Trees and bushes are wrapped in lights creating a twinkling, shining experience that is a must-see tradition. Hot cider and chocolate can be purchased and often choirs and musicians can be heard singing various holiday tunes to add to the cheery ambiance. Regardless of the time of year, the Botanical Gardens can be a wonderful outdoor experience.

Finally, for those who love to ski and snowboard, Idaho has plenty of options. Tamarack Resort was built just past McCall near Lake Cascade and offers plenty of activities and places to stay year round, but perhaps is most well known for its splendid snow sports. Equipment is available for purchase or rental on location, so no need to fret if you don’t own your own. Lessons are also available from beginner to advanced, and children can also take lessons on weekends as long as they are over the age of four. Pack your bags and rent out a cabin in the area. Staying for a few nights will not only give you an opportunity to do more skiing, but it will give you a chance to snowshoe around the area and see what a beautiful place these mountains can be when covered in winter white.

Fall and winter hold some great activities for folks meaning to get outdoors. From fall foliage to lava tubes, winter wonderlands to blooming musical experiences, Idaho has a little bit of something for everyone. Visit different areas around Idaho and you’ll surely find that it’s a state full of eclectic opportunities. Take a step beyond your front yard and explore for yourself- you never know what adventure you’ll find next!

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