Idaho is the 43rd state. It is known as the Gem State because almost every known gem has been found there. Also, it is one of only two places in the world where you can find star garnets. (The other is in India.) But Idaho is the only place you can find six-star garnets. The state horse is the appaloosa.
There are scenic byways listed for each section of Idaho. The Panhandle Historical Rivers Passage takes you along miles of soothing river scenery. The Elk River Backcountry Byway takes you past small ranches and through evergreen forests. The Western Heritage Historic Byway is about 30 miles long and takes you to the Snake River Canyon and Swan Falls Dam. 49 miles of City of Rock Backcountry Byway is where pioneers wrote their names in axle grease on the rocks. The names are still visible. Pioneer Historic Byway is 127 miles long. There you can see homes and churches listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In Targhee National Forest is the 29-mile Mesa Falls Historic Byway from which you can hear both the Lower and Upper Mesa Falls. The Lewis and Clark Backcountry Byway will let you see where Lewis and Clark unfurled the United States flag for the first time in the west. Each byway has convenient parking places to allow you to explore whenever the mood strikes. Or maybe just to stop and have a picnic.
There is a lot of water in Idaho.Therefore there are a lot of different water activities. At Coeur d'Alene Lake you can take a seaplane tour, a lake cruise, go kayaking, or rafting. The Salmon River is known as The River of No Return. Boating is popular and there is the excitement of whitewater rafting. You might decide to float down the Boise River on a raft or an inner tube. Lake Walcott State Park is ideal for boating. The turquoise-blue color of Bear Lake is caused by tiny soluble carbonates in the water. At sunrise and sunset the color changes to an array of reds, yellows, and pinks. It's ideal for sailing and water skiing. There are spectacular waterfalls all over the state. There are hot springs and cold springs for your soaking pleasure.
Hikers will be in hiker's heaven. There are hiking trails through the mountains, past rivers, and along wooded areas. There a hiker can see a diverse collection of wildlife. Idaho has elk, deer, wolves, bear, rabbits... Then there are the birds. Water birds, birds of prey, and pretty little songbirds. You will definitely need binoculars and a camera.
If camping is your thing, there are campgrounds everywhere. Some are in state or national parks and some are just there. Live it up.
Other things to do include rock climbing, volcano viewing, rock hounding, horseback riding, caving (stalagmites, stalactites, ice caves), mushrooming, and flower sighting. If you're really adventurous, BASE-jumping (look it up... scary) is very popular in Idaho. Maybe travel on the same trails that pioneers traveled to get to the west and settle there. As a matter of fact, some of their wagon ruts are still there. Idaho is where Lewis and Clark hooked up with Sacajawea who served as an interpreter for them. The Lewis and Clark Trail is marked and waiting for you. Perhaps you can search for those famous star garnets. Or maybe you'd just rather search for gold or silver. There are places in Idaho to do all of it.
There are always so many things I have to leave out when we learn about a state. I certainly hope that if you are planning to visit a state you use these posts to get you started. Then do a little digging on your own with the links I have below to find even more fun things to do. Then enjoy your adventure and tell me about it. You can teach me something too.
Official Idaho Web Site
Idaho Visitors Guide
Idaho State Parks
Idaho National Parks
Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Offbeat Tourist Attractions
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