Must Stop Sights in Central Idaho: Road Trip Highlights
Sawtooth Mountain Range
Sawtooth Mountain Range
Thousand Springs State Park
Family Fun on Red Fish Lake
Whitewater Rafting at Cascade Raft
If you’re looking for a fun four or five day road trip departing from Boise, consider a tour of Central Idaho– complete with waterfalls, cliff jumpers, mountain hiking, horseback riding, lakeside dining and more.
Gas up your car and let’s hit the road!
What you’ll need for this road trip:
– Bathing suit
– Sense of adventure
– Hiking shoes
– Flip flops
– One nice outfit for a fancy dinner
– Sweatshirt or sweater for nights on the lake
– Cash (some of the road side diners don’t accept credit cards)
– Bug spray
– A hat (to wear when hiking)
First stop: Whitewater Rafting on the Payette River in Horseshoe Bend
About an hour from Boise, start your first adventure on the river. Stop by Cascade Raft and Kayak for a half day whitewater rafting tour that is sure to leave your heart pumping and your hair wet!
With your towel wrapped around your waist, get back into the car and drive towards McCall. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon on the lake, walk around the town, grab an ice cream cone from Ice Cream Alley or if you need a bigger snack, pick something up to go at My Father’s Place and bring it down to the beach.
Dinner and lodging: Shore Lodge in McCall
After the day in the water, take a hot shower before heading out for dinner at Lake Grill at Shore Lodge. Pick a late afternoon or early dinnertime and ask to be seated on the patio. With the breeze off the lake, this is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day.
Don’t get too sleepy though; as you still need to embark on a lake cruise with McCall Lake Cruises. This tour will take you around Payette Lake and while alcoholic drinks are served, this is a great cruise for the whole family.
Breakfast: The Pancake House
Before getting back in the car and heading towards Stanley, have breakfast at The Pancake House on the main strip. Locals and visitors alike love the traditional home cooked meals that you are order.
Cliff Jumping and kayaking at Red Fish Lake:
Make your reservation in advance for a cabin at Red Fish Lake. This is a spot you could spend an entire week, so choose your length based on how much time you have and how many water activities you want to do. Besides kayaking, swimming, sail boating and pontoon boats, you can also hike around the lake and into the nearby Sawtooth Mountains.
Sun Valley and Overlooks:
Continuing on, drive through the Galena Summit Overlook and into Sun Valley. If you’re hungry when you arrive consider The Kneadery, known for great breakfast options, or Rico’s Pizza if you’re looking for something a little more lunchtime appropriate. Once in Sun Valley, park the car and walk around the downtown area. You can rent a bike and bike towards the Sun Valley Lodge to swim in the Olympic sized pool or horseback ride around the nearby hills. (See more Hidden Gems in Sun Valley)
Hike Bald Mountain:
A few minutes down the road, you’ll come to Sun Valley Resort and Bald Mountain. Here, you’ll want to hike up towards the top to see incredible views of Sun Valley and explore the resort during summertime and without all that snow that it is known for. If you don’t think you can make the hike up, consider buying a one-way gondola ticket and hiking back down. You’ll notice many mountain bikers and other hikers on the paths too.
BASE Jumpers at Twin Falls
After some time in the car, get out at the visitors center at Twin Falls to see BASE jumpers off the Perrine Bridge. If you don’t see any, pack up the car with some snacks and drinks and head to Thousand Springs State Park. Here you can swim, tour an old farm house or see some unlike gorges and canyons unlike anywhere else in the state.
While there isn’t camping at most of the spots, you’ll be within an hour and a half of Boise for the drive home.
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