First Timers to Idaho

Old Oct 30th, 2019, 08:20 AM
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First Timers to Idaho

Looking for input about the most scenic areas to visit and best tourist areas for walking around. My husband and I try to drive a loop (back to airport city where we started), with no more than 2-4 hours a day in the car, but would consider more time if needed for a must see site. Otherwise, just hearing top scenic areas/towns would be great. Thank you for any input. We have been to Yellowstone and Tetons.
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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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When would you be visiting?
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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 09:22 AM
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Time of year really does matter.

Also, what do you , do like to do. If summer do you hike, bike, go boating? If winter, do you ski or snowboard?
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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 09:39 AM
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My favorite part of Idaho is the Sawtooth Mountains, anywhere between Ketchum and Stanley. We were there earlier this month and stayed at both Redfish Lake Lodge and in Ketchum. We were in Ketchum for their annual sheep festival. We also revisited Craters of the Moon which is nearby. Northern Idaho around Sandpoint is also scenic but I'm partial to central Idaho. Southern Idaho is mostly flat farmland but there are pockets of scenery like City of Rocks but it's a bit remote. How much time do you have? We've been once in the spring and three times in fall. We went a bit later in the fall this year to coincide with the festival and there was light snow and single digits at night in Stanley so keep that in mind.

Stanley


Redfish Lake


Redfish Lake Lodge cabins


Pettit Lake


Galena Summit

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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 09:55 AM
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Trailing of the Sheep was a lot of fun Trailing of the Sheep FestivalThis was our first time attending.

Sheep dog trials


Sunday morning before the parade


Sunday's parade


Craters of the Moon


City of Rocks
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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 10:30 AM
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Idaho is a huge state. You need to narrow this down a bit! Time of year for your visit? What do you like to do? It takes 4 hours to drive from Pocatello to Boise and more than double that to drive from Pocatello to Coeur dAlene. Look at a map or guidebook and come back with some specific questions
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Old Oct 30th, 2019, 09:52 PM
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Patty- is the Trailing of the Sheep a must do? My sister and I have discussed attending as we are of Basque decent and our dad and grandfather were sheepmen. Looks wonderful!
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 05:50 AM
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Thanks so much everyone for inquiries! Flights from Cincinnati to Idaho Falls are ALOT higher, so may fly into Boise or Spokane. We just went to Utah for the 4th time and that place sure spoils you regarding scenery! And there's certainly no scenery in Cincy that comes anywhere close to out West! We travel in September when visitors are lower (hoping weather is still 60's?/70ish?) but we are sure aware of elevation changes with temps. We do hike up to 2 miles at our age (66, 72), museums are fine. So sightseeing from a car is alot of our exploring, walking around at tourist areas too. Patty - the pics are great! Appreciate hearing from you all.
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 07:22 AM
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MichelleY - I think you'd love it! As someone who knows nothing about sheep ranching, it was fascinating. I'd go again. 2021 will be the 25th anniversary. There are many varied activities. We got there on Friday and went to a ranching Q&A. Friday afternoon there were 14 restaurants in downtown Ketchum serving lamb bites. Saturday morning we went to the dog trial and Folklife Fair in the afternoon. Both are in Hailey. There were Basque, Peruvian and Scottish performers at the fair that were also part of the parade on Sunday. Sunday morning we went just north of Ketchum to photograph the sheep that were part of the parade and then went back to town to watch the parade. There was also a closing party on Sunday in the town square with live music. It was a busy 3 days and there were a few things we would've liked to have done but just didn't have time to do it all.

TravelinVic - Boise would be good for south/central Idaho and Spokane for northern Idaho. Idaho Falls is closer to Yellowstone/Tetons. September should be beautiful. We've been in September and had 80 degree weather at elevation so you never know.
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 07:30 AM
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Yes, I can see where IF would be more expensive to fly in/out of since it is such a small airport. We lived there years ago. Even though Boise or Spokane are cheaper in cost, it might be worth it with the time savings for you. Just something to consider. We loved being so close to Yellowstone from IF, and took full advantage of it
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 10:42 AM
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I'd be inclined to include a couple of destinations in Oregon and Washington as part of a loop out of Spokane. Google the places on this map, for example - https://goo.gl/maps/imw6fyrPrq5i2dsw6 . By flying in and out of Spokane, you could include some time in the Washington/Idaho Palouse region (rolling hills covered in wheat, home of Appaloosa horses) both coming and going, and if interested, you could also include the stunning area around Joseph, Oregon in the Wallowa mountains, and - for a real treat if intereted - maybe visit Pendleton, Oregon during the Round-Up, one of the premier rodeo and Native American gatherings in the country. https://www.pendletonroundup.com/ It takes place in mid-September.

Photos (not mine) -

Palouse from Steptoe Butte



Bruneau Canyon, near Boise



Joseph, Oregon



Pendleton Round Up

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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 01:42 PM
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Have never flown into Boise, but we do like the Spokane airport. The Southwest flight that gets in there is late -11 or 12 at night - but the Ramada airport is just outside the doors and across a quiet road. In the morning, we just walk back across to the car rental. So, so easy.
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Old Nov 1st, 2019, 11:07 AM
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If you fly into Spokane you could drive into Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint, which are both gorgeous.
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Old Nov 1st, 2019, 11:14 AM
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so pretty
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Old Nov 1st, 2019, 01:03 PM
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LOVED seeing the photos of Stanley! I've been there each of the past 8 summers--just beautiful and so relaxing!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 05:49 AM
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A BIG thanks again for the info and pics to all! How big of an area is The Palouse with the beautiful rolling hills? i.e. one road or multiple? And with Palouse Falls being farther east, is it well worth the trip? Would love returning to further parts of Oregon but I think we'll have our hands full in Idaho!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 06:07 AM
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Found a website all about Palouse area: https://www.scenicwa.com/palouse-scenic-byway
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TravelinVic View Post
A BIG thanks again for the info and pics to all! How big of an area is The Palouse with the beautiful rolling hills? i.e. one road or multiple? And with Palouse Falls being farther east, is it well worth the trip? Would love returning to further parts of Oregon but I think we'll have our hands full in Idaho!
The Palouse extends into Idaho - https://idahoptv.org/outdoors/shows/...se/palouse.cfm

As for whether to include parts of Oregon or Washington, it would help if you indicated how many days you plan to visit. Palouse Falls (farther west, not east) is around an hour and a bit from, say, Moscow Idaho or Walla Walla, but if you skipped the falls in September it wouldn't be a huge loss; the amount of water flowing over the falls then will be pretty minimal.

Idaho is pretty big, and big parts of the state are difficult to access because of a lack of through roads, so you're going to have to make some choices. Do you want to include the southeast of the state - toward Yellowstone, or the northern panhandle (Coeur d'Alene to Sandpoint) as well as the Sawtooth region, the Palouse.... ? There's really only one highway (US 95) that travels north-south through the state; the other (faster) routes travel through Washington/Oregon or Montana, so including parts of those states in a road trip usually happens by default.

So lots of choices. How long do you have?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 01:15 PM
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Gardyloo - thanks again for the link with ALL the map locations. Just read Palouse area is 4,000 square miles - yikes! If we DID skip Palouse Falls State Park (so far will probably fly into Spokane), will we see enough of the rolling hills by driving to Steptoe State Park (can't find how long the roadway is in the park) and then down to the city of Palouse? Will then head east from Palouse. Lots to research so I'm very early in planning stages of where we head next and for how long. Palouse is my priority so any info about that would "make my day"! Still figuring out where to stay near town of Palouse as a possibility in case weather not good one day.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 11:18 PM
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We visited the Palouse area in September and really liked seeing the rolling hills and exploring the many backroads. I received excellent suggestions from my Fodors Friends here. There is also a lot of information available online for scenic driving tours of the Palouse. A beautiful amazing area.

I'd definitely suggest that you stay in Colfax, WA rather than the sleepy town of Palouse. Not even sure if there are any accommodations in Palouse. We stayed at a very adequate Best Western in Colfax for 4 nights and used that as our base to explore the area. There are not a lot of restaurant options if you happen to be there on a Sunday or Monday, so take out meals from the local supermarket served the purpose. There is a main street with several nice stores and the town seems to be updating itself.

Everyone suggests going to Steptoe Butte, but I'll say as an amature photographer, I was somewhat underwhelmed by it. Perhaps it's more photogenic with the spring greens and golds. It is best early in the morning--sunrise. The road to the top is very narrow, twisty and unguarded, so if that bothers you, be aware. I had originally planned to make several trips there, but once was enough as I found so many more interesting structures and views just driving the many back roads.

From there you could continue your trip east into Idaho.
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