The Essential Guide to Idaho
Idaho is made up of many different regions that are all pretty different when you get right down to it. This is how most places work but it can be hard to tell exactly what is what and where when you are simply referencing a map. You can check out cities and how big those cities really are, though, that does not really tell you anything about that place or what goes on in that city. You are not going to know if a certain place interests you or if there is something missing about it that would make it worse or better for you to live or visit. For that kind of information, you need to go to someone who knows what they are talking about or do some extensive research about Idaho. I can be the former for you, though, I do not have the time to tell you everything about Idaho that you might need to know. However, I can break down the basics and give you some information about the main regions of Idaho and what they are generally associated with along with a brief summary of some of the cool things you might be able to do or explore in that area.
The first and most populous region of Idaho is the Treasure Valley which makes up a significant portion of the southwestern part of the state. Within the Treasure Valley, you can find the Boise Metropolitan area which consists of Boise (Of course) and several other large cities that have sort of been smacked together into one big block of city. Boise being the capital of Idaho, this is a very important region in the state. Further, because it has the biggest cities in Idaho it has the largest concentration of population. There are large cities and towns across the rest of the state but none of them can really be compared to what there is to be found in Boise. Naturally, the Treasure Valley is sort of the business center of Idaho. Some of the largest companies in the state call the region home, specifically Boise, and the economic and political climate is somewhat different than everywhere else you might go. One of the most interesting things you can find to do in the Treasure Valley is a visit to the World Center for Birds of Prey. To sum up the center briefly, it is a facility made to breed different bird species and then releases them into the wild to prop up endangered animals out in the Idaho wilderness and in parts beyond. There are a ton of cool things to see and do in the Treasure Valley but nowhere else are you going to find anything like the World Center for Birds of Prey. Otherwise, Boise is just a good place to have a lot of fun.
East of the Treasure Valley is Magic Valley. You might be beginning to see a pattern in the Idaho region naming scheme. There are a lot of valleys. Magic Valley is home to several large and small towns but chief among them is probably Twin Falls and the whole region is where a lot of the farming in Idaho gets done. You are probably very familiar with Idaho’s reputation for farming and you both do not know the half of it and should be aware that farming is not all there is to Idaho. However, Magic Valley is full of farms and fields that are just waiting to become farms and there is going to be a lot of livestock to be seen on any drive through the area. Most of Southern Idaho is pretty flat and that along with some rich soil that is perfect for growing all kinds of things makes the area ideal for feeding the rest of the country. One of the defining features that dominate the Magic Valley is the Snake River. The Snake goes all over the place and passes relatively close to Boise but the Magic Valley is where a lot of the most interesting things happen on the river and civilization has really built up along the banks of the water. If you visit Magic Valley you definitely need to take a visit to Shoshone Falls near Twin Falls and discover the massive waterfall there that just pours and pours into the river with a sound like thunder. It honestly rivals Niagara Falls as much as any waterfall can.
If we keep going east on our trek across Idaho we come to Eastern Idaho. The interesting region names kind of dry up at this point but these three areas make up all of Southern Idaho, and while there are a large variety of different things going on in Northern Idaho, the population there begins to fall off and the cities are not as large. You should still consider giving Northern Idaho a visit because you can have a lot of fun up there and meet some incredible people, but we only have enough time today to get into Southern Idaho and the three major regions that make it up. Eastern Idaho is where things start to get really exciting in terms of national parks. It is very close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park even though neither is solidly in Idaho. Yellowstone bleeds across the border into Idaho but not by much. Eastern Idaho also has a bit of a cultural difference from the rest of the state. There are a large number of Mormons or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spread across Idaho but they are largely concentrated in Eastern Idaho. You can find them everywhere but some of their largest population centers are in this region. This means that their church has a similarly large impact on the area and you are going to frequently run into meeting houses and people who call themselves members.