Idaho boasts more than 19,000 miles of hiking trails that explore vast wilderness areas, which range from desert to sub-alpine landscapes and feature interesting geological features such as Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in the U.S., Shoshone Falls, a cascade taller than Niagara Falls, and foothills of the Rocky Mountains. With recommendations from Trails.com and VISIT IDAHO, we've highlighted five of some of the best hiking trails in the Gem State.
Wilderness Trail to Echo Crater
Of the seven designated hiking trails in the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, a massive lava field with numerous craters, caves and unique formations, the Wilderness Trail to Echo Crater is the longest (8 miles) and the only one to journey into the Craters of the Moon Wilderness. This hiking trail takes explorers to Buffalo Caves before ending at Echo Crater, where some choose to camp overnight for some solitude and epic star-gazing.
Ridge to Rivers Trail System
You can hike up to 190 miles on the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, which is a series of interconnected paths throughout the Boise Foothills. Seasonal treats along this hiking trail include spring wildflowers and fall foliage, and points of interest include Bogus Basin, Camels Back Park Area, and the Table Rock/Old Pen Area.
Grand Sawtooths Loop
The Grand Sawtooths Loop offers hikers the choice between several day trips or a 63-mile, week-long trek through the backcountry of the Sawtooth Mountain Range. Hikers get dozens of chances to take in beautiful views of glacial lakes, dense forests, meadows, and the peaks of surrounding mountains on the different trail segments.
Big Baldy-Indian Creek Loop
The 52-mile loop along Big Baldy Ridge and Indian Creek takes hikers though the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the biggest wilderness area in the lower 48. Despite extensive damage from recent fires, this remote hiking trail offers magnificent views of remaining old-growth forests, flower-filled meadows, and Buck Lake.
Blue Lake Trail
An easy 3-mile trail takes hikers down to circle Blue Lake, which is nestled in the Boise National Forest close to the summit of Snowbank Mountain and Granite Peak. The Blue Lake Trail meanders through pine forests and wildflower meadows to the rocky shore, where the clear waters of the alpine lake are safe for swimming and great for fishing.
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