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Holiday calories? Get outta here.

New adventures to conquer? Check.

Never tried it before? No problem.

Meet snowshoeing, Idaho style.


Snowshoeing is the perfect way to explore Idaho’s amazing trail systems and back country opportunities. The equipment is hassle-free and enables everyone, old and young, to walk and climb with ease. Abundant groomed Nordic trails are available throughout the state and are just waiting for you to come make your mark.

Near the historic mining town of Idaho City, the Whoop-Um-Up Nordic Trail, part of Idaho State Parks’ Park N’ Ski program, offers excellent off-trail snowshoeing opportunities. The trailhead is located 17 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. You’ll also find  more trails located at Jug Mountain Ranch, just  south of McCall, off the Payette Scenic Byway.

Harriman State Park lies in the heart of a 16,000-acre wildlife reserve in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 20 miles north of Ashton in eastern Idaho. There are 22 miles of trails in the park with yurts and other lodging facilities available for rent. Harriman is also a wintering ground for the majestic trumpeter swan and many other water birds and animals.

snowshoeing ice

The Selkirk Mountains surrounding Priest Lake in northern Idaho are a virtual paradise for winter-sports enthusiasts and include five areas around Priest Lake State Park. Trail systems have intriguing names like Reeder Indian Rock Translator Trail and Wood Rat Luby Trail. A variety of lodging options are available along Priest Lake’s 72 miles of shoreline in the shadow of the Selkirk Mountains.

Trip tip: There are 17 Park N’ Ski locations throughout Idaho. Park N’ Ski permits are required November 15 – April 30. An annual pass is $25 while a three-day permit is $7.50.

Snowshoeing in Sun Valley
Snowshoeing in Sun Valley

Galena Lodge, northwest of Sun Valley, serves as base camp for the North Valley Trails System. You can rent all your snowshoe gear at the Lodge and even rent a guide who will help steer your through a two hour tour. The Sun Valley Resort Nordic and Snowshoe Center trails meander through stunning terrain providing families a fun, unique and inexpensive winter sport experience.  Rentals are available and at 6000 feet, the trail system maintains consistent conditions so breathing is easy!

Trip Tip: Not all of the snowshoe trails allow dogs. Be sure to check before you take your furry friend out for winter adventure.

Snowshoeing in Idaho

Finally, you can snowshoe through the unique lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument near Arco. The rangers offer winter ecology workshops on the rugged landscape where deep snow covers the once fiery lava. The day begins with a 30 minute classroom session followed by several hours of moderately strenuous snowshoeing looking for tracks and climbing a volcano. Where else can you summit the top of a volcano in the winter?

Trip Tip: Snowshoe walks take place in January and February. No prior snowshoe experience is needed.

Trip Tip: Choose your clothing carefully. Avoid wearing cotton socks in the snowy environment. Instead, the snowshoe pros say to pick out a hiking and/or wool/silk combo sock to help with your adventures. When it comes to clothes, layers are the best. And don’t forget to bring water!

Don’t forget to share your snowshoe adventures with @VisitIdaho.

Feature photo credit: Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation 

Published on January 19, 2016