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6 of the Most Beautiful Places to See in Idaho

Jamie Delos Reyes

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Welcome to Idaho, one of the most mountainous regions in America! Nicknamed the Gem State for having just about every known type of gemstone, Idaho also has no shortage of exciting activities to offer tourists. The Gem State has everything, from gorgeous waterfalls and lush forests to complex river networks and unique geological formations. Ready for an unforgettable vacation in the Gem of the Mountains? Pack your bags and visit some of the most beautiful places to see in Idaho!

1. Sun Valley

Sun Valley, Idaho
Photo Credits: Fodor’s Travel Guide |  Teddy Minford

Gem State’s premier ski and summer vacation resort is truly a sight to behold. Sun Valley is the birthplace of destination skiing. It has over 3,400 vertical ft and features more than 2,000 acres of diverse terrain. Whether you’re an inexperienced skier or a competitive snowboarder, you’ll surely find something special in this top destination.

The great thing about Sun Valley is that it’s a year-round attraction. While it is known for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and other winter activities, the resort also offers a wide selection of exciting pursuits in the summer. Tourists can explore the beautiful nature trails, play golf, go horseback riding, and fly fishing.

Visit Sun Valley in winter and expect stunning snow-blanketed landscapes. Stop by in the summer and look forward to lush forests, vibrant grasslands, and flower-covered meadows. It’s no wonder so many celebrities adore this popular Idaho resort. Some even own vacation homes in the area.

2. Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake, Idaho
Photo Credits: Art of Visuals

With its clear waters, sandy beaches, lush forests, and beautiful mountain backdrop, Redfish Lake is indeed one of the most beautiful places to see in Idaho.it is tucked five miles south of Stanley and located 6,550 ft. above sea level.

Redfish Lake is the place to be for exciting outdoor activities. Rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat and skim the picturesque lake. Take fishing equipment with you for spin casting and fly fishing. You can also take a swim in the refreshingly cool waters of the lake.

Up for an adventure in the woods? Pack your hiking gear and explore the various trails in the area and reach hidden gems like a waterfall. You can also go mountain climbing in Redfish Lake. The area boasts some of the most difficult granite walls in western America.

Love biking? Redfish Lake is home to some of the most beautiful biking trails in the Gem of the Mountain. Navigate the loops around Elk Mountain, Potato Mountain, and Fisher/William Mountain for a challenge. For a more leisurely trip, stick to the trails close to the lake. You can also take in the gorgeous on horseback.

Want a more relaxing vacation? Feel free to have picnics by the banks of the lake. Book a cabin or loft rental close to the lake to enjoy the cool breeze and scenic sights at your own comfort.

3. Thousand Springs State Park

Thousand Springs State Park, Idaho
Photo Credits: Visit Idaho

Take in the awe-inspiring sight of thousands of gallons of water surging down soaring volcanic cliff faces and more at the Thousand Springs State Park. It features some of the most fascinating geological formations and serene landscapes in the Gem of the Mountains.

A day isn’t enough to take in all the wonders of Thousands State Park, which is divided into seven areas. Visitors can visit the Niagara Springs, Crystal Springs, Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Natural Preserve, Ritter Island, Billingsley Creek, Kelton Trail, and Malad Gorge. Each offer tourists a unique and spectacular scenery.

Another great thing about Thousand Springs State Park is that leashed pets are allowed in most of its areas, so you don’t have to leave your canine companion at home when you visit this destination.

4. Hells Canyon Recreation Area

Hells Canyon Recreation Area, Idaho
Photo Credits: Backpacker | Leland Howard

Located on the Idaho and Oregon border, Hells Canyon Recreation Area is filled with breathtaking vistas and varied climate, terrain, and fauna. It encompasses Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America.

Have an adventure in the wilderness at Hells Canyon Recreation Area. The park’s trail system primarily follows the old access routes that ranchers used to rely on to guide livestock to watering holes and salting areas. Get ready to trek scenic ridges, benchlands, and slopes.

Aside from hiking, you can also camp out and enjoy Hells Canyon nightlife. If you’re lucky, you may spot elks, mule deers, mountain goats, and other wildlife during your excursion. Keep an eye out for log cabins and ancient pictographs left by miners, prospectors, and settlers are well. For a truly immersive experience, go fishing and rafting at one of the canyon’s springs and rivers.

With its gorgeous mountain peaks and spectacular sceneries, Hells Canyon Recreation Areas is indeed one of the most beautiful places to see in Idaho.

5. Shoshone Falls 

Shoshone Falls, Idaho
Photo Credits: Unsplash | Ryan Fish

As one of the most beautiful places to see in Idaho, Shoshone Falls will surely leave you breathless at first sight. Fondly called the Niagara of the West, it is a popular destination in the Gem State. It surpasses the height of Niagara Falls, standing at 212 ft. tall and 900-foot-wide, making it one of the biggest natural waterfalls in America. This spectacular sight is nestled at the edge of Twin Falls on the Snake River, as it winds through Basalt Canyon going to the Columbia River.

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this beautiful destination in the Gem of the Mountain. The simplest is to visit one of the strategically located overlooks by the top of the Shoshone Falls. For a more immersive experience, you can rent a kayak and paddle around the bottom of the breathtaking falls. Shoshone Falls also has hiking trails, picnic sections, swimming areas, and playgrounds.

6. Sandpoint

Sandpoint, Idaho
Photo Credits: One Savvy Wanderer

Have an unforgettable adventure at one of the lesser-known destinations of the Gem of the Mountains. Sandpoint is located in Lake Pend Oreille, nestled between three snow-speckled mountain ranges. Since not a lot of tourists are aware of this hidden gem, crowds are never a problem. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by hiking or biking through scenic mountain trails. Spend a day at the Lake Pend Oreille and sail, paddle, wakeboard, and waterski on the pristine waters. Festivals, theatre shows, art and film events, breweries, wineries, and state parks also abound.

What are you waiting for? Get your hiking traveling shoes on and explore the most beautiful places to see in Idaho!

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