Local Freshies worked in partnership with Visit Idaho to create this Travel Tip.
For those with a sense of adventure, a winter road trip to Idaho is a great option. It’s a chance to bring out your pioneer spirit and satisfy your wanderlust. If you come with no preconceived notions and an unbiased state of mind, you’ll experience hidden treasures unlike anywhere else in the world. From haunted mansions to world-class hot springs and a waterfall taller than Niagara, Idaho truly is a land of hidden treasures.
Pulling into Twin Falls may look like the horizon of Iowa or Nebraska, but this town has a few secrets up its sleeve. Only three miles from downtown Twin Falls, the Snake River Canyon is home to Shoshone Falls. This 212-foot fall is pronounced “Show-Shōn” and flows over a canyon rim 900 feet wide. Standing near the side of the falls on the overlook platform, the sound of the rushing water leaves an impression. Shoshone Falls Park is open year-round and you can even check out the water levels online before heading down into the park.
Albion and Beyond
Zipping out of Twin Falls down the interstate, you’ll quickly make your way to the town of Albion. It may be a small town, but it’s home to the Northwest’s largest indoor/outdoor haunted attraction. Right smack dab in the middle of town, this large complex was even featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Love the snow more than ghosts? Drive about 20 minutes up the road to Pomerelle Mountain Resort. Here you’ll find uncrowded slopes and over 500 inches of snow annually. That can only mean one thing: lots of powder to slash.
City of Rocks National Reserve
A BIG rock-climbing destination in the summer, the City of Rocks National Reserve becomes your own private wintry paradise when the seasons change. Not into cold weather camping? Not to worry. The heated and cozy Willow Glamping Yurt is a perfect place to stay in comfort and luxury. At night, you’ll be exposed to a sky filled with seemingly endless stars. When the sun comes up, you can venture right out the door and explore the surrounding high-desert landscape on cross-country skis, snowshoes or hiking boots, depending on the time of year.
Lava Hot Springs
The Fire & Ice Winterfest, held annually on the first weekend of February in Lava Hot Springs, might be the most fun you can have in winter. With so much to see and do, here are just a few highlights of the wondrous festival.
- Polar Bear Float – Contestants dress up in zany costumes and hop into the chilly Portneuf River to float their way from one side of town to the other.
- Torchlight Parade – A group of locals hike to the top of “L” Mountain. Then, depending on snow conditions, and while holding torches, the group runs or skis down the steep face right into town. A sight to behold.
- Fire Performance – On Saturday night, the Lava Flow Fire crew entertains you by dancing and twirling flaming objects to music right in front of you.
- Running of the Bulls – Closing out the event, a group of hardy souls in their swim trunks run the length of Main Street finishing up with a dip in the hot springs.
Besides a full weekend of festivities, be sure to set aside some time to take a soak in the Lava Hot Springs hot pools. Bubbling out of natural underground springs, the hot water is laden with minerals but sulfur-free and therefore has no smelly odor.
Idaho Falls’ historic downtown district is filled with amazing cuisine and authentic charm. It’s an unexpected hidden gem of food, art, glorious nature and quaint shops. The Snake Bite Restaurant has the deepest list of local beers in town, serves local meat, and even has its own version of the famous Idaho fry sauce that is beyond words. Excited to hit the slopes? Check out Kelly Canyon Ski Resort for some night skiing. Home to Olympian Jessika Jenson, nearly two-thirds of Kelly Canyon’s terrain is open until 9:30 pm.
While some may consider winter a time for cabin fever, Idaho makes a point to embrace the season. So, beat those winter-time blues, get away from the crowds and make that journey to Idaho.