Heading into Idaho was a natural choice for our road trip, seeing as we had just spent the last four days in British Columbia hanging around the border. However, after the first three days here we quickly decided that our entry point in the US needed to be seen as more of a destination. If you've never been to Idaho, you need to add it to your list; its a hiking mecca and if you're into Hot Springs, you're never going to want to leave!
A Weekend at Evan's Lake
I love using the AllTrails app to help me find hiking trails in new destinations - and this is a perfect example of why. I will be honest. I picked this hike based loosely on two things: it had a lake, and its elevation gain was peanuts compared to what we do in British Columbia.
But no amount of comments or photos could have prepared me for how serene and peaceful this campground was. Yes, I could see it being a party mecca in the summer (and the beer cans we picked up confirmed this) and yes, there is an abundance of hornets. However, in the two days we stayed here there was only one casualty, Jonnys calve.
Idaho/ Montana State Line & Square Lake
Jerry Johnston Hot Springs & Scenic Highway 12
If you're a Hot Springs lover, you already knew that Idaho has so many you'd need a year just to experience them all to the fullest. I, however didn't realize this till almost a week after arriving- doh! The first one we went too in Idaho happened to be one of the best I've ever visited, which did seem to ease the pain of missing a few, I must admit. Jerry Johnston Hot Springs has not one, not two, but THREE natural hot springs with various pools surrounding them. Pair this experience with the most beautiful riverside drive (on a newly paved highway!) and you're in road trip heaven!
Drive Hwy 55 S from McCall to Boise
Word of advice, just because Google says you'll be camping by a lake - does not mean you'll be camping by a lake.
During this leg of the trip, the beauty went from rolling hills and snaking rivers to dry desert-like landscapes back to tree-lined canyons. It offered so many pull outs, picnic spots and swimming holes (if only I was brave enough to bare it in early October!)
Discovering Downtown Boise
This city is, in my opinion, a hidden gem. I loved the liveliness it had from the minute we stepped downtown, and the amount of brewries and cideries it has will please even the pickiest of drinkers - which, I am not. It reminds me of Portland, Oregon but in all the best ways. We only spent 24-hours here, and while I would say we covered it pretty well: Freak Alley Gallery, 8th Street Dining and Camel Back Park, there is certainly more to see and do here.
Sawtooth National Forest, Stanley Idaho
I am a mountain junkie. There, I said it.
So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was when we drove through flat lands and ended up at the base of the Sawtooth's. They are unlike any other range I've seen before. They are jagged, mean-looking, inviting and beautiful all at the same time - and they are the best secret keepers I've ever come across. After flirting with a thunderstorm the first night, we pushed our sunshine luck and did an overnight backcountry hike to Sawtooth Lake. We had the entire place to ourselves, and while the rain did return, it made the journey come full circle seeing the brilliance and the brutality these mountains unleash when you least expect it.
Driving to Craters of the Moon from Stanley, Idaho
After seeing some amazing photos, I decided we needed to go check out these "Niagara of the West" Falls. I had high hopes having grown up near the infamous Niagara Falls, so you can imagine my surprise when we arrive and its nothing more than a dry rock face. While it was very beautiful, and I'm glad we went - I should have realized that Fall is not the time to be visiting a body of water - not after the dry summer we've had in the West!
Back Roads in Southern Idaho
There were a few times over our two weeks where we had expected to just show up at a place to camp for the night, but nothing could have prepared us for its shear beauty. Having those little shocks are what makes traveling so fun to me. It's so exciting to see how just a pin on a map can come alive in a matter of a few hours, or in our case, several miles of driving.