Day Trips from the Treasure Valley in Winter


Idaho is one of the states that experiences some of the highest average snowfall in the Northwest United States. Because of this, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in some fun activities all across the state. However, there are only some activities that are a day’s trip from the Treasure Valley. This list will give you a few ideas!

Skiing at Sun Valley- Sun Valley is located about a three-hour drive from Boise and is a popular site for anything recreational. In the winter, it is most known for its skiing resort. You can take leisure run down any of the ski slopes that have been a huge part in celebrity vacations since the resort opened around 1936. It was also the first resort to open with one of the world’s very first chairlifts which was recently commemorated with the completion of a substantial renovation for its 80th anniversary of operation. If you don’t like skiing, there are also plenty of places to shop, and there is a bowling alley that just opened up! Another feature is an all year ice rink that is used for skating or watching concerts. If you want more adventures, you can also go to the neighboring town of Ketchum.

Snowmobiling up to Burgdorf Hot Springs- Snowmobiling is also a popular winter sport throughout Idaho thanks to the fact that there are snowmobiling opportunities almost everywhere. However, since hopping to hot springs is another beloved Idaho hobby, it is easy to combine the two to have an even better winter experience. After a while of being on a snowmobile, it is fair to say that you would want a long soak in one of the natural hot tubs and sleep in a warm bed before hopping back on your machine. Burgdorf Hot Springs, which is only accessible by snowmobile in the colder months, is a hot spring that is just outside of the city of McCall, which is only a couple hours from Boise. It offers fifteen cabins with stoves for food and light refreshments for those who wish to stay for a night. However, you need to bring your own sheets if you plan on staying.

McCall Winter Carnival- It would be a mistake to leave this festival off of the list since it is one of the biggest winter events in Idaho that always takes place in the last weekend of January. It was once a part of the Payette Lake Winter Games, the first one being held in the 1960’s and has been happening every year ever since. During the week of the carnival, McCall springs to life, and the streets are covered with amazing ice sculptures to take pictures of and plenty of games and activities to participate in! Other events during the carnival are the downtown Mardi Gras parade, snow tubing, a Dutch oven cookoff, snow golfing, and probably one of the biggest firework displays in the state. At night, there is live music at the Salmon River Brewery, and plenty of quirky events (for example, the Most Unusual Beard competition) to take part in. No matter what, you are sure to have a fun time!

Cross-country skiing in Idaho City- Idaho City is only a 45-minute drive from the Boise area and is a great place to visit any time of the year. If you’re ready to have a more rustic adventure in the great outdoors, this is a less motorized way of getting around. Cross-country skiing while visiting any of Idaho’s backcountry yurts is probably that most fun activity on this list. Yurts are portable tents from Central Asian nomads, and they come in many sizes and shapes all across Idaho. However, in Idaho City, there are only six yurts that are reservable through the Idaho State Parks and Recreation. The yurts are also a great way to provide access to fresh powder for skiers, enjoy a hot home-cooked meal, or kick back with a game of cards. Just be sure to reserve them in advance, since they are super popular!

Go ice fishing on one of Idaho’s lakes- Some great lakes for ice fishing that are only a couple hours away from the Treasure Valley are Bear Lake and Lake Cascade. Bear Lake offers five species of fish that can be found nowhere else on Earth (these include the Bear Lake whitefish, Bonneville cisco, Bonneville whitefish, Bear Lake cutthroat trout, and the Bear Lake sculpin). Lake Cascade offers a guided experience through the Southern Idaho Fishing Excursions company. If you are wanting to go ice fishing, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game recommends that there be an absolute minimum of four inches of ice if you are going solo, or anywhere between six to ten inches if you are with a large group. All you need is a pole, lures, an auger, some warm clothes, and a cup of hot cocoa to have a great experience.

Hiking Tubbs Hill near Coeur d’Alene- Even during the winter, Idaho is known for having a temperate climate which allows visitors and residents alike to hike, mountain bike, and even kayak through the winter months. Some parts of the state get a little more extreme during the winter. Tubbs Hill, a popular park in Coeur d’Alene, is one of those places. The park has over 120 acres of land and consists of looped trails ideal for walking and hiking. The hiking itself can be tough during the winter, so it is best to plan accordingly. The park is also about seven hours from Boise, so it best to leave early in the morning if you want to make it back in time for dinner!

Wintertime is definitely a great time of the year to visit Idaho, and, hopefully, this list has given you plenty of options to choose from! If you want any more ideas for fun activities, just ask the locals where you can experience the best day trips. They are always willing to help visitors have a fun time in their homeland. So, come and visit Idaho during your holiday vacation! You won’t regret it.


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