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Alice Lake im Blaine County, Idaho, Bild:

The US state of Idaho attracts nature and winter sports enthusiasts

Admittedly, Idaho may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about an upcoming vacation in the USA. The US state, located in the northwest of the country, has no internationally known metropolis. The capital of Idaho, the city of Boise, which has a population of only 235,000, has often never heard of European visitors before their trip to Idaho. For nature lovers who like it lonely, secluded and still largely untouched, Idaho is a true insider tip. Only 1.8 million inhabitants are spread over an area of 217,000 square kilometers. The state is therefore only sparsely populated. But there are spectacular natural monuments and eternal expanses to explore in Idaho. Part of the well-known Yellowstone National Park is also located in the U.S. state of Idaho.

Start your trip in the capital Boise

Boise, Idaho
View of Boise, Image: Charles Knowles / shutterstock

If you want to travel to Idaho, you usually arrive in the capital Boise, at least if you are a tourist traveling directly from Europe. Otherwise, Idaho can of course also be reached by rental car as part of a round trip through the USA via the well-developed network of highways, or via domestic flights that depart from major American cities. Before you go further into nature, it is worth stopping off in Boise for a few days and breathing in real US flair there. At the Idaho State Museum, visitors can learn all about the state’s history. Furthermore, Boise has several art museums and galleries to offer.

The Boise Art Museum focuses on Impressionist painting and modern art objects of all kinds. A haven of American street art is the Freak Alley Gallery, which is not an art museum in the true sense of the word. Rather, street art can be admired directly on the street. The best way to do this is to walk through the Freak Alley Gallery district and explore the elaborate spraying of the building. The Old Idaho Penitentiary Site is also interesting. This is the city’s historic prison, which is now open to visitors. During guided tours, you can learn details about the history of the building and American criminal law. If you arrive in winter, you can ski on the city’s local mountain at Shafer Buttle. The Bogus Basin ski area is only about two kilometers from the gates of the city. In the summer, the Boise Zoo and several beautifully landscaped parks beckon, such as the Idaho Botanical Garden and Julia Davis Park.

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Die Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon in Idaho
Craters of the Moon, Image: Aneta Waberska / shutterstock

A visit to the Craters of the Moon is not only an absolute must for every tourist in Idaho, but for many it is also the highlight that they will talk about long after their trip. The Craters of the Moon are a volcanic landscape characterized by lava flows that have long since solidified. Caves had formed in the still hot lava at that time, which now represent crater-shaped formations in which black sand can be found. Many of these lava caves can be explored as they are high enough to walk through easily. The area can be visited all year round. The visitor centre has information on hiking trails that run through the Craters of the Moon. In the summer months, many visitors like to stay overnight at the adjoining campsite. In winter, these are converted into cross-country ski trails. Then there are even guided snowshoe tours on the extensive area.

Idaho is all about water

Idaho is a very water-rich state. A popular attraction for all water enthusiasts is the Shoshone Falls, which are located in the area of Yellowstone National Park. The Shoshone Falls, which were named after the Shoshone Indian people who once lived here, are exorbitant waterfalls that can easily compete with the even more famous Niagara Falls. From a height of 65 meters, the water rushes down into the Snake River. In earlier times, numerous gold panners romped around here. In the neighboring canyons, gold was dug into the earth. Today, the area attracts mainly recreational athletes, because the Snake River is wonderful for kayaking and rafting.

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Around Redfish Lake, many hikers are grouped in addition to water lovers. Because the surrounding landscape area is one of the most sought-after hiking areas in all of Idaho. Especially backpackers who love the original are happy to be guests here, because the infrastructure around the lake can be described as rather simple. On the other hand, you will meet only a few people and will find the best conditions here to experience starry nights that are not impaired by civilizational light sources. Around the small town of McCall, hot springs are grouped in which you can bathe.

Winter sports in Idaho

Idaho is home to some of the most frequented ski resorts in the USA. The towns of Ketchum, Stanley and Sun Valley are the local winter sports destinations. The Bald Mountain ski area, named after the 2,789-metre-high mountain of the same name near Ketchum, has 75 slopes of all levels of difficulty. The Schweitzer Mountain Resort is only about 70 kilometers from the Canadian border in the north. A particularly large number of families and beginners can be found here, as the slope conditions are particularly designed for this group of visitors. Silver Mountain Resort offers skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer. Kelly Canyon Resort and Pomerelle Mountain Resort are home for snowboarders.