Idaho is full of miles of uncultivated land and incredible scenic routes that make their way throughout the beautiful backcountry of the state. An adventure's paradise, Idaho is home to at least 34+/- marked scenic byways that tour the natural landscapes and lead to popular destinations. Discover rugged mountains, millions of acres of wilderness, towering peaks, and crystal blue alpine lakes and rivers to explore at your own pace. Whether you enjoy an immersive wilderness experience or capturing Idaho's unspoiled beauty from afar, the scenery is sure to exceed expectations!
Idaho's natural beauty and unique geological features set it apart from any other state. To the north, you can find an incredible selection of alpine summits that dominate the Panhandle region, including favorites like the Bitterroot, Sawtooth, Seven Devils, Bighorn Crags, Lost River, and Coeur d'Alene Mountains. The mountainous terrain is complemented by glass-like lakes and attractive water features scattered throughout the area, including the Snake River.
Beginning at the northern Panhandle; The Snake River flows in a large s-shaped curve across Idaho, bringing sizable tributaries to the area that make it possible to produce hydroelectric power and reclaim vast plains of dry but fertile land. Idaho is also home to the deepest gorge in North America, Hells Canyon. The gorge drops from the peak of the Seven Devils almost 7,900 ft (2408 m) below to the waters of the Snake River, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Great views and unforgettable memories are just a drive away when you live in Idaho!
Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway
Check out the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway, which travels through one of the most popular summertime destinations and resort hubs in the Pacific Northwest. Surrounded by serene lakes, mountains, and ideal summer weather, the area attracts a host of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Home to a variety of wildlife, don't miss out on the opportunity to catch one of the majestic eagles take flight, a Shiras moose making its way through the marsh, tons of deer and elk, and numerous bird species.
The route begins at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Idaho 97, traveling south along the eastern shoreline of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The byway continues through the grassy hills and dense forests past the charming town of Harrison and ends at Idaho 3, where it connects to the White Pine Scenic Byway. Get ready for a leisurely drive as Idaho 97 is a two-lane, winding road with few passing lanes and impressive panoramic views. The route is about 35.8 miles and can take on average around 1.5 hours, depending on the season and stops.
Northern Central and Central Idaho are ideal destinations for outdoor enthusiasts searching to explore vast expanses of wilderness, miles of pristine rivers, deep canyons, and so much more! In central, north-central, and the Panhandle regions, tremendous expanses of national forests cover around two-fifths of the state, making up one of the largest areas of national forests in the nation. These magnificent wilderness areas shelter dense forest recreation areas, including the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Idaho Primitive Area, and the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area surrounds the massive Sawtooth Mountains, Salmon River Mountains, and Mount Borah.
Rushing rivers and many noteworthy lakes, including the Salmon River, Clearwater River, Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d'Alene, and Priest Lake, make the area excellent for fishing, a game preserve, and an all-around great vacation destination. Campers, anglers, and anyone with a love for the outdoors will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of things to do in the area. Make the most of your trip and consider a guided jet boat or rafting tour of Hells Canyon, the Salmon River, Snake, Lochsa, or Selway Rivers, known for some of the wildest and most scenic experiences in the state.
Sawtooth Scenic Byway
Take a road trip along the Sawtooth Scenic Byway and find overwhelming natural beauty and outdoorsman appeal. Rugged mountains, wilderness areas, and rolling farmland make up the vast majority of central Idaho. From the sloping peaks of the Rocky Mountains to sprawling desert terrain, the site is a profound location for once-in-a-lifetime photos and recreational opportunities galore.
The Sawtooth Scenic Byway leads northward from the Magic Valley through fertile agricultural land to the resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. It continues carving its way through the granite rocks and rugged woodlands of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, brimming with winding rivers, streams, and over 290+/- alpine lakes. This stunning route is about 115+/- miles in length and can take up to 3+/- hours.
With over 75+/- recognized mountain ranges, Idaho is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and natural wonders in the United States. The southwestern landscape is dominated by the Rocky Mountains and complimented by charming backcountry resorts and vacation towns, including Stanley, McCall, and Sun Valley, surrounded by the Boise and Sawtooth National Forests. Take a day trip to a recreationist's paradise and enjoy access to a bounty of alpine lakes and summer activity galore.
Southwest Idaho is also home to Boise, the state's capital, and offers an ideal blend of outdoor escapades, rich culture, and access to amenities. Find an endless list of things to do, ranging from right outside your backyard to an hour or so away. From first-class wineries, local craft breweries to the sandy slopes of Bruneau Dunes, Southwest Idaho is an essential destination to add to the list.
Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway
The Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway is a rich tapestry of local history, tradition, and sweeping outlooks that make up the fabric of the surrounding towns. Beautiful vineyards and wineries can be found scattered along the route. The byway is approximately 54+/- miles and can take up to 1 1/2+/- hours to travel.
Southeastern Idaho runs alongside the gorgeous waters of the Snake River Canyon and is home to the greater Magic Valley. This flourishing region boasts an ideal balance between rural country living and big-city amenities with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities year-round, from camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, birding, hiking to just about everything under the sun. Complemented by impressive all-encompassing views, find access to a plethora of seasonal activities and vacation destinations for a host of memorable adventures.
Whether you enjoy downtown life or hitting the trails, Idaho offers plenty of options to choose from for every occasion. Primarily made up of the Snake River Plain, the area is a source of incredible geological wonder from Craters of the Moon to Camas National Refuge, Shoshone Falls, St. Anthony Sand Dunes, and Yellowstone National Park, to name a few. Plan the ideal getaway and check off the bucket list all at once by B.A.S.E. jumping off the Perrine Bridge, ziplining through Snake River Canyon, or kayaking at Shoshone Falls, also known as the Niagara of the West.
Teton Scenic Byway
Eastern Idaho is home to one of the most scenic byways in the state, The Teton Scenic Byway. Find grand panoramic views of towering mountains and a variety of diverse wildlife. Wildflowers cover the valley regions in the spring, and nearby the Snake River allows for boating and fishing fun during the summer.
The Teton Scenic Byway runs along the western facing slopes of the spectacular Teton Mountain Range, heading north on Idaho Highway 31 for even more incredible views of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The route continues onto Idaho 33 and comes to an end, connecting to the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway in Ashton for scenes of two of the last undisturbed waterfalls. The 70+/- mile trip includes breathtaking outlooks, rivers, historic sites, and convenient access to the Grand Targhee Resort for a total journey estimated to be around 2.5+/- hours.