"The sound of a river cascading over the rocks.
by Flo Walters
The challenge of catching a hefty leaping rainbow trout in a high mountain lake.
Or, the aroma of bacon sizzling over an open campfire in the early morning - these are some of the lures of Idaho camping. Whether you want wilderness hikes or high mountain streams, calm lakes or desert exploration, Idaho has it all."
The great variety of fish, gamebirds and animals available in Idaho are unsurpassed in the Northwestern United States. Fishing is permitted in some waterways year around.
Idaho has more than 200 mountain peaks above 8,000-feet elevation, many over 12,000-feet, while canyons plunge as low as 700 feet. North America's deepest gorge is found here. Glacial ice, which once sculpted Idaho's high mountain peaks, formed mountain lakes which teem with trout waiting to test the skill of the angler.
With 16,000 miles of rivers and streams and hundreds of natural lakes, the most discerning fisherman will find his or her challenge here. In addition, Idaho is the most heavily forested of the Rocky Mountain States with 40 percent of its 53 million acres covered by trees.
Idaho offers a four-season vacationland. With a dry, warm climate during summer and fall, most vacationers find a comfortable season for exploring Idaho. Winter offers a full range of snow sports including hunting. Relatively mild winter temperatures add to the enjoyment of outdoor activities.
When the glaciers melted, they left behind a myriad of lakes, mountains and rivers in northern Idaho creating unsurpassed sightseeing wonders and recreational playgrounds. Roosevelt Grove of ancient cedars, located on the west side of Priest Lake is a virgin forest containing trees up to 12 feet across and 150 feet tall. A short trail leads from the grove to Granite Falls, where the water cascades over moss covered rocks.
Rock hounds will enjoy digging the beautiful Idaho star garnets at Emerald Creek, near Clarkia or touring the Sierra silver mine where you can experience the underground world of mining in the richest silver district on earth. Arrangements for tours can be made in Wallace.
Another attraction worth seeing is the famous Cataldo Mission, the oldest standing building in Idaho. It was built of local timber by Father Ravalle and the Coeur d'Alene Indians without using nails.
One of the main attractions of Lewis and Clark Country is the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Hells Canyon, on the Snake River, is the deepest gorge in North America. Its rim towers 9,300 feet above the river in some places. This awesome wonder can be viewed by boat or, with limited access, by roads. Check with the Recreation Area Headquarters at Hellsgate State Park Information Center in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Seven Devils, a short drive from Riggins, give a spectacular view of four states and the area's highest mountain range.
The Nez Perce National Historic Park and Museum, near Lewiston at Spalding, Idaho, preserves the history and culture of the mighty Nez Perce nation and of their great chief, Joseph. Cadets at West Point still study the military tactics used by Chief Joseph at the Battle of White Bird Hill.
Idaho City, one of Treasureland's (Treasure Valley) attractions, produced more gold than Alaska. While there, Boot Hill Cemetery is a must to visit. Another attraction, Silver City, was once a booming mining town, but now is a ghost town.
Float trips from Hammett to Melba offer a view of the Snake River Birds of Prey Area. This area contains the largest density nesting of eagles, hawks and prairie falcons in North America.
See the working laboratories of an endangered species program at the World Center for Birds of Prey at Boise. Tours of the Peregrine Fund's World Center are available.
In Magicland (Magic Valley), begin with the Thousand Springs in Hagerman Valley where the underground Snake River aquifer bursts forth from canyon walls into the mighty Snake. Shoshone Falls, near Twin Falls, offers a 212-foot drop. These falls are 52 feet higher than Niagara Falls. They are at their splendor in early spring.
Near Castleford, Idaho, balanced rock, a 40-foot high boulder rests on a base one by one-half by three feet.
Southeast of Burley, is the Silent City of Rocks, where columns of rock rise 60 stories high, creating the semblance of an ancient city. Inscriptions from pioneer days are still visible on the rocks.
The Shoshone Ice Cave, north of Shoshone, Idaho is a lava tube three blocks long, 90 feet beneath the surface. Ice formations are created by air currents flowing through the cave. Tours are available. Mammoth Cave stretches one mile deep into the desert floor.
Sun Valley, Idaho offers a year around vacation resort with fishing and hunting in abundance. In the winter, a world-famous ski hill is available there.
Mountain River Country, in the Northeastern portion of the state is the home of the Craters of the Moon National Monument, located near Arco, Idaho. Lava flows from now-inactive volcanoes have created a terrain from out of the past - or out of this world. Because of the resemblance to moonscape, this area was used for early astronaut training.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area near Stanley is Idaho's scenic outdoor recreation Mecca. Beautiful Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains are among its attractions. Another must is the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge on the Salmon River. Dating from 1870, the mining camps are now ghost towns.
On your way to or from Yellowstone National Park, see the Tetons from the Western side. These peaks rise into the 13,000-footrange.
Mt. Borah, Idaho's highest peak at 12,662-feet, is located north of Mackay, Idaho.
The Spencer Opal Mines are the only opal mines in North America where there are enough fire opals to mine commercially. Visitors are welcome at the mine to hunt for their own opal.
Pioneer Country, in the Southeastern portion of Idaho, offers Bear Lake, 20 miles long, eight miles wide and 200 feet deep. A noted fishing area.
Lava Hot Springs, believed by Indians to have a healing power, is a modern health spa today. Fishing, golfing and skiing are also available in this area.
The Fort Hall Indian Reservation, home of the Bannock-Shoshone Indians, offers Indian festivals and Indian Days well worth seeing.
Crystal Ice Caves, north of American Falls, hold a lake of pure ice with stalagmites rising 16 feet high. This cave is a part of the volcanic great rift.
From remote campsites in the high mountains to public campgrounds with all the amenities, Idaho offers camping and outdoor activities to suit the taste of all.
Reprinted (with updates) from Idaho Outdoor Digest, June, 1987
Idaho Fishing Reports
Idaho's Trophy Waters
Idaho's Lake Trout
Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The Nature Conservancy - Idaho
Idaho Fish and Game Regions
Commercial RV Campgrounds
Idaho National Forests
Idaho Parks and Recreation
Idaho Outdoors books from Amazon.com:
Paddling the Payette
Gem and Mineral Collector's Guide to Idaho
50 Hikes in Hells Canyon & Oregon's Wallowas
Adventures in Idaho's Sawtooth Country
Bill Mason's No Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing in Idaho
Classic Rock Climbs #15
Country Roads of Idaho
Exploring Idaho's Mountains
Golfing in Idaho
Big Game Hunter's Guide to Idaho
Copyright 2000 Spring Creek Communications