Idaho, despite its designation as the “Gem State,” is bathed in the stunning scenery and incredible natural vistas, giving it the title of “Gem State” from visitors to the United States. It’s hidden away in the Pacific Northwest, with rocky ravines and river gorges, lush forests, crumbling volcano craters, and stunning mountain ranges.
Surprisingly, national and state parks protect nearly a third of the gorgeous state, leaving swaths of undisturbed wilderness wherever you go there. While this protects the natural habitats of wolves, moose, and grizzly bears, it also means that there are many outdoor activities available, like camping, hiking, and animal watching. Idaho’s national parks and state parks are great destinations with a variety of different and spectacular settings.
While Yellowstone National Park is mostly located in Wyoming, it also has areas in Montana and Idaho. It is likely to thrill nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts with its abundance of riches, which include rocky landscapes, scenery, and environment.
It is the world’s first national park and was established in 1872 to conserve its extraordinary array of natural wonders. It is a volcanic area that has over half of the world’s geysers, as well as a plethora of hot springs and mud pots. Due to its magnitude, scale, and splendor, Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful are the most popular.
2: Craters of the Moon National Monument
It was established in 1924, protects a variety of lava-scarred landscapes that have an unearthly look. Its desolate, dismal, yet stunning terrain, formed millions of years ago following a cataclysmic volcanic eruption, may be found in Central Idaho, not far from Twin Falls.
Attractive cinder cones and craters rise from the rocky and wrecked terrain, with lava tube caverns and lava flows strewn about. It’s part of the Great Rift volcanic zone, with cracks and vents, and a few hardy flora and animals eking out a livelihood among its barren and damaged expanses. Also, read Crater Lake National Park.
3: Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is located just northwest of Twin Falls, near the tiny town of the same name. It is one of the most fascinating fossil sites in the United States. It features a variety of instructive and interactive exhibitions about the history of the region and all of its renowned finds, as well as many Hagerman horse fossils.
An incredible variety of fossils have been discovered at the Hagerman Horse Quarry, making it one of the most important and famous paleontological sites. These contain anything from fish and frogs to ground sloths, mastodons, and saber-toothed cats, and date back to the late Pliocene Epoch.
4: City of Rocks National Reserve
The magnificent City of Rocks National Reserve is located in the state’s south-central region, close to the Nevada and Utah borders. It’s a famous place for hikers and rock climbers, with gigantic boulders and spectacular formations, as well as epic panoramas and views.
Its craggy rocks, jagged peaks, and spindly spires were once a vital signpost for travelers and traders on the California Trail, and they make for a beautiful spectacle. It is named after a remarkable circle of grey granite rocks that are ringed together and has been protected as part of a park since 1957.
5: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
The amazing wilderness and stunning landscape of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, which straddles the state lines of Oregon and Idaho, is a must-see. It has been preserving the area’s historical, environmental, and archaeological richness since 1975.
The massive Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge, reaching a startling depth of 2,436 meters. It is lined with breathtaking peaks, with the famous Seven Devils range being the most impressive of the lot, carved out of the harsh environment by the rushing Snake River.
6: Shoshone Falls Park
The shimmering and dazzling Shoshone Falls, dubbed the “Niagara of the West,” are a stunning sight. The waterfall, which has been protected as part of a park since 1932, is located on the banks of the Snake River, just northeast of Twin Falls.
Its white wall of water stretches about 300 meters and reaches a height of 65 meters, making it far higher than the more famous falls with which it is sometimes compared. Shoshone Falls, with an observation platform looking out over the basalt canyon in which it lies, is lined by craggy rocks with mighty mesas looming in the background, making for some spectacular images.
7: Bruneau Dunes State Park
It is at the southwest corner of the state and features beautiful scenery with spectacular dunes near small, sparkling lakes. It is located just outside the little town of the same name, along Interstate 84, nearly halfway between Boise and Twin Falls.
While the park’s spectacular landscapes are worth seeing, it’s best recognized for having North America’s highest single-structured dune. It towers over the arid desert terrain around it, reaching a height of 140 meters. Also, read Great Sand Dunes National Park.
8: Thousand Springs State Park
Thousand Springs State Park is one of Idaho’s most beautiful state parks, consisting of seven calm and quiet parts spread over the state’s southwest corner. You can be hiking in a beautiful gorge one minute and horseback riding or animal watching the next since each unit offers a unique experience and is within easy driving distance of the others.
Thousand Springs was only established in 2005 when four state parks were united into one. It has a beautifully diverse topography, scenery, and natural environment. The cliffs of Box Canyon are home to a stunning waterfall with bald eagles soaring overhead, while the vast Malad Gorge offers fantastic hiking and breathtaking vistas.