Selecting the perfect hiking trail in Idaho presents quite a challenge, akin to girls picking their favorite member in a boy band during the 90s. The state teems with enchanting pathways, making it an absolute haven for nature enthusiasts. With its crystalline alpine lakes mirroring the clear blue skies, meadows adorned with wildflowers, towering trees that reach for the heavens, and breathtaking vistas, Idaho emerges as an unrivaled destination for a summer getaway.
Determining a preferred footpath within Idaho becomes a subjective endeavor if one were to conduct a survey. This subjectivity arises from the diverse landscapes found along different trails. Some trails boast majestic mountain backdrops, while others lead alongside meandering rivers, leaving hikers in awe of their awe-inspiring magnificence. Idaho offers many hiking trails that surpass the number of days a year, but here are the top eight recommendations.
While hiking trails offer memorable experiences throughout the year, summer is the prime season for exploring Idaho’s finest paths. During this time, mountain passes shed their snowy blankets, and the flourishing flora infuses vibrant colors into the surroundings. Summer’s extended daylight also enhances wildlife spotting opportunities, making observing the fascinating creatures that call Idaho home easier. Here are the top hiking spots in Idaho;
The footpath stretching 12 miles from Shoshone Falls to Canyon Rim offers an excellent option for beginners or those with limited experience. While there are some challenging sections along the way, you can hike only a portion if you prefer. Exploring this trail promises a rewarding experience, which explains its high ratings.
As visitors park their cars at the visitor’s center, they face the decision of which direction to take. Some begin their hike from Shoshone Falls, heading towards the town and embracing the flat and steep sections. On the other hand, others opt for the more accessible area near the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls.
Alice Lake, nestled within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, is a well-trodden path frequented by many visitors to the town. This recreation area is one of Idaho’s premier national parks, spanning an impressive 756,000 acres and boasting over 40 peaks above 10,000 feet.
Embarking on the trail from the picturesque mountain town of Stanley, the hike commences at the Tin Cup near Pettit Lake, situated 18 miles to the south. It’s worth noting that this particular trail ranks among the most challenging in all of Idaho, making it an ideal choice for experienced hikers seeking a formidable adventure.
The seven-mile journey to Alice Lake demands a considerable level of fitness and determination, especially for those with limited hiking experience, as it involves a substantial elevation gain of 1,800 feet. However, those who persist through the physical demands will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the awe-inspiring alpine paradise that awaits them.
Known as “Craters of the Moon” for its resemblance to the lunar landscape, this remarkable terrain has captivated visitors for centuries. Despite its existence for thousands of years, it wasn’t until 1924 that it received recognition as a national monument and preserve. Nestled in southern Idaho, traversing the dormant lava field offers a rare opportunity to tread upon a surface reminiscent of the moon’s rugged beauty.
The pathway intersects with various trails, and its trailhead serves as one of several stops along the enchanting seven-mile Loop Road. Embarking on the North Crater Trail, a three-mile journey with a few steep sections rewards hikers with breathtaking views of expansive lava fields.
This location could easily be mistaken for the renowned Alps in Europe. The footpath, which offers a moderately challenging trek, covers a distance of 7 miles for a roundtrip, although it can also be looped to form an eight-mile circuit, depending on the amount of time you have. To access the trailhead, you’ll need to travel 4 miles along a dirt road, where you’ll encounter detailed signs guiding you to Pioneer Cabin.
Remember to turn left at the trail junction, approximately 30 minutes from the summit. The footpath presents a diverse landscape with rolling hills and steep switchbacks, but the breathtaking view of the glacial mountain makes the hike well worth it.
Located in northern Idaho, this trail guides adventurers to the highest summit in the county. Ascending a staggering 3700 feet in elevation, Scotchman’s Peak presents a formidable challenge but rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic vistas that showcase Idaho’s finest treasures.
From the mesmerizing expanse of Lake Pend Oreille to the majestic mountains that stretch as far as the eye can see, this trail offers awe-inspiring views that include sightings of mountain goats. Despite certain obstacles, this trail has garnered interest among families, leading to occasional crowding. However, an early departure can grant you the tranquility you desire if you seek solitude.
Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail
Mineral Ridge, overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), can be found 10 miles east of Lake Coeur d’Alene. This site marks BLM’s inaugural recreational location in the state, with its establishment dating back to 1982.
Mineral Ridge offers a moderately easy hiking experience with a 600-foot elevation gain. The trail consists of a pleasant 3.3-mile paved loop, culminating in a breathtaking panoramic view of the magnificent Lake Coeur d’Alene for those who reach the summit. Visitors fortunate enough to embark on this hike between November and February may witness bald eagles feasting on spawning salmon.
Bruneau Dunes State Park
Situated in the southwestern region of Idaho, the most expansive dune in North America beckons. Its scenic wonders hold an irresistible charm for countless visitors to Idaho, offering various pathways that ascend the dunes and exhilarating sled rides for those seeking a thrill. Spanning a distance of 6 miles, the track ventures across the loftiest ridge, granting hikers an unparalleled experience on the Bruneau.
The remarkable journey through the dunes presents an unparalleled opportunity for those searching for something extraordinary in Idaho. It’s worth noting that the sand underfoot can become unbearably scorching during the summer months.
Central Ridge Trail
Ridge to Rivers is a non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship of more than 190 miles of trails, ensuring the management and accessibility of the beautiful Boise foothills. Among these scenic foothills, the crown jewel is the Central Ridge Trail, which meanders along the spine of this picturesque landscape. Situated conveniently behind the Boise VA Medical Center, the trailhead for the Central Ridge Trail is an ideal starting point for families seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Spanning 2 miles, this moderate footpath presents a gradual elevation gain of 500ft. It provides an exceptional opportunity to immerse oneself in the breathtaking panoramic vistas that unfold across the surrounding hills and landscapes. With its well-maintained trails and stunning views, the Central Ridge Trail is undoubtedly a top choice for families looking to create cherished memories amidst nature’s splendor.
Hiking in Idaho offers an unparalleled experience for outdoor enthusiasts. With its diverse and breathtaking landscapes, Idaho provides many hiking trails catering to all expertise levels. The state’s natural wonders are truly awe-inspiring, from the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the serene beauty of its lakes, rivers, and forests. Whether you seek solitude in the backcountry or prefer well-marked trails with stunning vistas, Idaho has it all. So, lace up your boots, embrace the rugged terrain, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Idaho’s pristine landscapes.