Here are six of the most out of the way, off the beaten path, hidden gems that you can find on your next trip to Idaho.
- The Boise Black Cliffs
If you’ve never heard of them, the Boise Black Cliffs are a wall of natural volcanic basalt columns that shoot out of the ground to form the iconic black cliffs. These cliffs stand only about 12 miles outside Boise, and are accessible just off the highway. Its awe inspiring looks, and its views of the Boise RIver, plus the fact that the basalt’s numerous hand and foot holds makes it an idyllic place for climbers to practice their sport. Just because it’s a perfect spot for climbers doesn’t mean that you can’t go just to enjoy a small hike to see the imposing views of, and from, this lava rock artifact of a more primordial time.
- The Blue Heart Springs
If you’re in the area for the Boise Black Cliffs you might want to try the Blue Heart Springs. Two hours away in Hagerman Valley lies the springs. Named after the strikingly blue water, and one of the naturally formed springs which happened to form into the shape of a heart. These jaw dropping water features are open to the public for free, and welcome people swimming, boating, and fishing. It’s a perfect place to take the whole family with stunning lakes, springs, ponds, and pools all connected together through a network of streams, and rivers. If you like boating, there is boating. If you like swimming, there is swimming, and if you like water. Well then there sure is water.
- Elmer’s Fountain
Elmer’s Fountain is an art installation/water fountain that is located only about a four minute drive outside of Mullan Idaho. The titular silver miner, and the man who built it was named Elmer Almquist, who designed an ingenious system out of old mining parts to make an endlessly spraying set of fountains that are gravity fed from Gold Lake. It runs all year as well so when it drops below zero the fountain quickly starts to form beautiful hanging drapes of frosted ice for you to enjoy at your leisure.
- Rocky Canyon Hot Springs
If you’re more into something a little warmer than Blue Heart Springs then may I introduce you to Rocky Canyon Hot Springs. The Rocky Canyon Hot Springs are a terraced system of pools all fed by a hot spring that runs out of the face of the hill. One large advantage of these pools is that they cool as you go down so if you don’t like the temperature of one of the pools you can just get up and move to a different one. Because of this, and since it’s surrounded by the charming nature of Boise National Forest, you’re not going to find a more alluring place to have a soak in all of Idaho. Being nice and secluded, these springs are surrounded by a wall of boulders, and a moat made by the river which is one of the reasons that it’s a clothing optional spring.
- Balanced Rock
Situated in Arches National Park is a lovely place for a picnic, a walk, a photography expedition, or even just a sightseeing tour. This place is Balanced Rock. Balanced Rock is a massive 48 foot tall natural stone structure weighing in at 40 tonnes it is held up by a base that is a tiny 3 feet by 17 inches creating the illusion that this massive object is balancing like a top. It makes a great backdrop to a picnic as the stunning Salmon Falls Creek and Canyon are very close.
- Hells Canyon
Ah Hells Canyon, splendid, grand, graceful, and interestingly enough, also the deepest river gorge in all of North America. It is tucked away in the far northern reaches of Idaho, and sports some truly amazing views. Hells Canyon isn’t just one canyon. It is instead a system of canyons that spread across the area. It is accessible to the extreme as well since it is open to kayaking, and jet boat tours, hiking, canoeing, and even skiing in the winter time! It has many exquisite lookout points with cool names, and even cooler views such as Heaven’s Gate Overlook, The Buckhorn Overlook, and The Hat Point Overlook.
All in all, Idaho is such an amazing place with so many interesting sights to see, hidden or otherwise. So come on down! See the sights, smell the smells, and make sure to have a good time.