The best outdoor activities in Idaho

Stef Zisovska

Idaho is one of the less exploited states when we talk about outdoor activities and adventures. Many people think there is nothing fun to do here, but they are usually the ones who have never been here. On the other hand, there are others who know Idaho’s hidden potential, and all the interesting things you can do here as an outdoorsy person.

Though Idaho is not on the top of the list for the biggest number of National Parks – unlike its western neighbors – almost 60% of the state land is under federal government protection, and it’s available for public use.


The wildlife in Idaho is represented by elk, deer, moose, grizzly bears, cougars, and wolves. Idaho’s rivers are under protection, but there are plenty of activities you can do here, one being to enjoy the rapids. A lot of people maybe don’t know, but Idaho is a perfect spot for white water rafting.

If you want to enjoy a wilderness that’s not full of hiking newbies, then start planning your trip to this amazing state with its high mountain peaks, rushing whitewater, expansive western forests, and places where you can get deep into the backcountry and feel like it all belongs to you.

Ride a Hovercraft

A Formula 1 racing hovercraft – Author: Thomas Philipp – CC BY-SA 3.0

Riding a hovercraft is a once in a lifetime experience. If you like to stay active while traveling, then a hovercraft ride is one of the best things you can do in Idaho. It’s fun, safe, and lets you explore the environment from a unique way. Don’t miss it!

Tour the Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bear Lake, Grays Lake, Camas, Minidoka, and the Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area are part of the marshland habitats that offer a tremendous choice of wildlife observation points. Bird lovers, this one is for you! In case you want to observe a different form of wildlife, visit Deer Flat in Boise or Kootenai Wildlife Refuge in Northern Idaho.

Whitewater rafting through Hells Canyon

Snake River winding through Hells Canyon – Author: X-Weinzar – CC BY-SA 2.5

If you are an adrenaline addict, and you love water sports then don’t think twice about rafting through Hells Canyon. This unique experience is only for people who are ready to jump into an extreme adventure. Besides Hells Canyon, you can raft the Middle Fork of Salmon River, too.

Paddling on Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake and the Grand Mogul in the Sawtooth Range of Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho – Author: Karthikc123 -CC BY-SA 3.0

Redfish Lake sits south of Stanley, Idaho. Paddling across the lake offers stunning views of the nearby mountains, and gives access to many hiking trails in the area. There’s always the opportunity to fish in the lake’s waters or swim in on a hot summer day. You can rent a kayak in Redfish Lake Lodge and Marina.

Climbing and camping at City of Rocks

City of Rocks National Reserve

City of Rocks is a perfect spot for anyone who likes climbing, bouldering, and mountaineering. You can camp at the base of the granite boulders and climb them directly from your campground. The place offers outstanding views and it’s a perfect climbing spot.

Crater exploration at the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Cinder crags from North Crater on the North Crater Flow – Author: Daniel Mayer – CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are a volcano fan, there here’s where you can explore lava tubes, ancient craters, and feel the remoteness of this strange piece of land.

Take a wine tour

Take a wine tour

For those of you who are not so crazy about long hikes and climbing, a wine tour is a great alternative way of enjoying Idaho. The Sunnyslope Wine Trail in Southern Idaho will make you feel at home, surrounded by Nature, good company, and tasty wine. Wine tasting can be great fun and very sociable, so if you’re not the sort who likes to spend days wandering in the wilderness, give it a shot.

So, Idaho offers a little bit of everything for all tastes. Anything from rapids and lakes, to granite boulders and wildlife observation, to great wine tasting tours can be found in the beautiful landscapes of Idaho.

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