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One Tank Trip for Idaho Camping
Total mileage / average drive time:
135 miles – 2 hours, 24 minutes
There’s a lot more to Idaho than it’s being the place where the Russet potato, the world’s favorite spud, comes from. For instance, did you know that if all of Idaho’s mountains were flattened out, it would be about the size of Texas? Or that 20 million tourists visit Idaho every year to take advantage of its abundance of outdoor recreation? Or that its premiere ski area, Sun Valley, was
America’s very first bona fide first-class wintersports resort in North America? Piqued your interest? Perhaps it’s time to relegate the Idaho potato to the back row and plan a road trip to one of the West’s most fascinating and scenic states.
The city of Twin Falls is perched dramatically on the edge of the Snake River Canyon on the high plains of this beautiful state. It was only 100 years ago people began to populate this area and it has managed to retain much of its untouched beauty. You might remember Snake River Canyon as the place where Evel Knievel attempted a jump across the canyon in the 1970s. That may be a bit extreme, even for the most daring of outdoor enthusiasts, but there are plenty of other exciting activities in the area to keep one hopping. For spring and summer vacationers, Twin Falls is a popular destination if you want to get in some great fly fishing or hike through beautiful mountains or do a little mountain biking. For the winter months, Idaho is home to some of the best ski areas in the country, including Sun Valley 80 miles to the north and nearby Magic Mountain, both exceptional locations for full-on heart-pounding excitement with plenty of runs for every level of skier or boarder. One of the most popular destinations in the area is Shoshone Falls, found along the Snake River, taller than Niagara and every bit as majestic and beautiful.
36.7 miles – 43 minutes
Next stop on your Idaho sojourn is the town of Hagerman. Every once in a while during your travels, you’ll come across a place so unique and beautiful that you want to keep it to yourself. Hagerman is just such a place. The Hagerman Valley where the town of Hagerman is located was cut out by a flood thousands of years ago. The flood gouged out canyons and left enormous sand bars in its wake, giving this area a very unusual look that distinguishes it from the rest of the state. Once a favorite wintering spot of the local Native American tribes because of its mild winters with almost constant 58-degree temperatures, Hagerman has become a favorite of many retirees and sportsmen who venture this way for the exceptional fishing opportunities along the Snake River and the wide variety of other recreational sports available in the region. In the valley you’ll also discover many hot springs perfect for relaxing those tired muscles after a day of hiking, biking, fishing, or hunting. Since this area is also the largest producer of commercial trout in the world, you’ll find a wealth of hatcheries in the area that offer tours of their facilities — if you can pull yourself away from the Snake River!
98.3 miles – 1 hour, 41 minutes
From Hagerman it’s about a 100-mile drive northwest to Boise. The “City of Trees” is one of Idaho’s premiere destinations for all sorts of recreational goodies. The nearby Boise River and Bogus Basin Ski Resort offer hiking and mountain biking in the spring and summer months and some of the state’s best downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter. Everybody loves to mix it up during vacations and Boise has plenty of restaurants, cultural venues, and sights to help you do it up right. For a great history lesson of the area, stop by the Idaho Historical Museum. Started in 1907, it’s the state’s largest and most-visited museum, evolving from a simple collection of relics to a vast number of artifacts related to the state’s gold rush, fur trade, early pioneers, and Native American tribes. From the museum, you’ll want to head straight to the Idaho Botanical Gardens where you’ll find an impressive display of native plants and herbs, a Celtic labyrinth, a meditation garden, a rose garden, and many more gardens, each with its own theme. It’s the perfect place for some reflection or a relaxing afternoon stroll. From the gardens, continue on to the World Center of Birds of Prey where raptors are propagated for release into the wild. Housing about 200 falcons and condors for breeding, as well as many other breeds, the Center does important work in ensuring a brighter future for these incredible creatures. The many viewing rooms give you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to come face to face with several endangered species and to learn more about the plight facing them and what is being done to ensure their survival.
For those who have never been to Idaho, their first surprise is discovering that the state is a whole lot more than one endless potato farm. The other surprise is discovering just how much the state has to offer those of us who enjoy the rugged outdoors.
Check out the 2011 One Tank Trip For Idaho
Check out the 2010 One Tank Trip For Idaho
Woodall's Recommended Campgrounds in Idaho