Idaho’s rugged, diverse beauty is accessible from all sides, making a road trip one of the best ways to explore the state. To make your experience on four wheels as simple and pleasant as possible, this road trip welcomes you in the southeastern corner of the state from nearby Salt Lake City and snakes you all the way north into Idaho’s panhandle. Drop the top and prepare for high mountain deserts; deep, jagged canyons; dense, lush forests and lots of cool, fresh mountain water — and plenty of adventure — along this most scenic of routes.

Twin Falls

Getting There

From Salt Lake City, take Interstate 84 northwest to Twin Falls, where your Idaho road-trip adventure begins.

See & Do

Perched across the awe-inducing Snake River Canyon lies the I.B. Perrine Bridge — your scenic gateway to Twin Falls. As you cross, watch for BASE (Building, Antenna, Span or Earth) jumpers. These thrill-seekers come from all over the world to load up with a parachute, leap from the bridge and free-fall before pulling their chute and floating to the canyon floor. If you’re ready for some more jaw-dropping views, head to Shoshone Falls (“the Niagara of the West”), which cascade 212 feet into the Snake River. Snap a selfie on the overlook and then hit Dierkes Lake Recreation Area for hiking trails, rock climbing and water activities. When hunger hits, grab a seat on the patio at Elevation 486, where the impressive dishes are matched only by the spectacular view.

Nearby & Noteworthy

Boise

Getting There

From Twin Falls, take I-84 west.

See & Do

Idaho’s capital city tops all types of lists for livability due to its vibrant arts and culture scene, outdoor recreation opportunities, and flourishing culinary options. Stretch your legs on the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, where you’ll find more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails offering views of the city below. For a more leisurely stroll, rent a Boise GreenBike to explore the Boise Greenbelt, which winds through downtown and multiple parks along the Boise River. Stop off at the Capital City Public Market or The Boise Farmers Market for fresh, local foods and arts, crafts and more. Grab a bite at one of Boise’s palate-pleasing dining options or a raise a glass of Idaho craft beer or Idaho wine at one of several local breweries and wineries. If you’re staying the night, book tickets to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival (tip: you’ll want to book in advance as performances can sell out quickly) for an unforgettable night of theater under the stars.

Nearby & Noteworthy

McCall

Getting There

From Boise, take Highway 55 north.

See & Do

Wrapped around the southern banks of Payette Lake, McCall is a charming mountain town packed with outdoor adventure for any age or level. Spend a day at the lake, where you can rent everything from paddleboards and kayaks to jet boats and pontoons or book a lake cruise. Hike or bike the variety of trails Ponderosa State Park or get your downhill thrills at Brundage Mountain Resort and then catch the sunset with a spectacular lake view at Osprey Cliff Overlook. When it’s time to cool down from all your activity, head straight to Ice Cream Alley.

Nearby & Noteworthy

Cambridge & Hells Canyon

Getting There

From McCall, take Highway 55 north through New Meadows and onto Highway 95 south.

See & Do

The small town of Cambridge offers access to big adventure in the nearby Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Stunning Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge (ever deeper than the Grand Canyon) and a staggering 10 miles wide at some points. Book a half- or full-day jet boat tour or a single- or multi-day whitewater rafting excursion (or a combo trip). Don’t miss an opportunity to take a breathtaking hike or fish for salmon and steelhead. Pro tip: The splendor of Hells Canyon lies 24 miles west from Cambridge, so be sure to load up on gas, ice and snacks as you come through town.

Nearby & Noteworthy

Lewiston

Getting There

From Cambridge, take Highway 95 north through New Meadows.

See & Do

Lewiston is home to Idaho’s newest wine region (Lewis-Clark Valley AVA), where you’ll find 10 wineries producing award-winning wines. Book a wine tour to experience the area’s best sips and learn the history’s rich viticultural history and then indulge in the distinctive dishes at Mystic Café. A launching point to the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Lewiston is an ideal base camp for tours on the Snake River that introduce you to wildlife, historical sites, and more.

Nearby & Noteworthy

Moscow

Getting There

From Lewiston, take Highway 95 north.

See & Do

Surrounded by miles upon miles of rolling hills and fertile farmland, the charming college town of Moscow is an oasis of art, food and drink with enough hiking and biking to balance it all out. Play a round at the University of Idaho Golf Course or stroll through the garden displays at the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Learn the significance of the horse to the Nez Perce at  the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center. Take a hike in Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve or bike the Latah Trail. Enjoy an eclectic mix of sandwiches and soups at Kitchen Counter and then top it off with a pint at Hunga Dunga Brewing Co. or a glass of wine at Colter’s Creek Tasting Room.

 

Nearby & Noteworthy

Coeur d’Alene

Getting There

From Moscow, take Highway 95 north.

See & Do

This stop in Idaho’s panhandle area features plenty of chances to get on or in some pristine Idaho mountain water. Spend the day at City Park & Beach on Lake Coeur d’Alene (kore-duh-LANE) — home to sandy beaches, barbecue pits, volleyball and basketball courts and more. After all that fun in the sun, treat your taste buds to some comfort food at Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese. Tame the fiercest of hunger pangs with the seasonal Huckleberry Heaven sandwich and then head to McEuen Park for an evening of music at Life After 5. Start your next morning off by fueling up with a Cajun-inspired breakfast at Ten/6. Then it’s off to soar above and among the trees with fantastic views of Lake Coeur d’Alene on a zip line canopy tour. If you have any energy left, plan an evening hike on Tubbs Hill to catch the sunset on a lakeside trail or enjoy a sunset dinner cruise.

Nearby & Noteworthy

Sandpoint

Getting There

From Coeur d’Alene, take Highway 95 north.

See & Do

Sandpoint hugs the shore of Idaho’s largest and deepest body of water, Lake Pend Oreille (pond oh-RAY), where you’ll find one of the best sunrise spots at City Beach as well as paddleboard, kayak and jet ski rentals. Huddled among the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitter Root Mountain Ranges, Sandpoint is surrounded by hiking and biking trails for all levels. For a one-stop-shop of ultimate adventure, purchase the Ultimate Fun Pass at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, which gives you a full day of all-you-can trampolining, zip lining, rock climbing and scenic chairlift riding. If you’re cruising into town in August, the Festival at Sandpoint is a must-do. When replenishing fuel stores is critical, Sandpoint delivers. Load up on locally sourced pub fare and a cold one at Baxter’s on Cedar or settle into a martini or classic cocktail served up with unrivaled fare and a waterfront view at the splendid Trinity at City Beach.

Nearby & Noteworthy

For more trip ideas, check out the Idaho Roadsider and when you’re ready to hit the road, be sure to download the Idaho 511 app for real-time traffic updates.