The Gem State of Idaho is full of stunning natural wonders, jaw-dropping views, and exciting outdoor adventures. This makes it the perfect vacation spot for thrill-seekers and wanderers alike. You’ll obviously want to add all the best things to do in Idaho to your travel itinerary, but what if you’d much rather skip the crowds. In favor of something more unique and special? Whether you’re looking to take the path less traveled. Want to hike to a secluded natural waterslide, or you’re looking for an out-there museum that is actually fascinating, Tripio can take you there. Here are our picks for Idaho’s top 10 lesser-known travel gems to add to your bucket list! Top 10 Best Hidden Gems in Idaho, here we go!
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A popular area for bird watching and nature walks. Mesa Falls features close-up views of the falls from an easy-to-access overlook point. To get to the upper falls, you’ll walk along the railed stairways for about 12 minutes and you’ll make it to the lookout. Accessible any time of year, this 114-foot waterfall is a sight to behold, and you’ll almost always catch a rainbow in it if the light trickles in through the surrounding forest just right during the summer. Be sure to add this one to your custom top 10 if you love a good waterfall! Most Idaho travelers are guaranteed to add the state’s best-knows waterfall, Shoshone Falls, to their custom itinerary, but not many go out of their way to see this gem.
This museum should definitely be on your radar if you travel to Boise. The city is actually home to the largest community of Basque people in the US. They gradually immigrated here in the late 1800’s for work. Visit the museum and the boarding house next door to get a glimpse into Basque culture and history. The museum is free on the first Thursday of every month. As this museum is located in the Basque district of Boise, you’ll find the Basque Market just across the street. That’s if you want to round off your visit with a taste of paella, made fresh everyday at noon.
This partially paved scenic trail alongside Idaho’s Snake River is a great choice for bikers, joggers, or those just looking for a leisurely stroll through nature. Use the Tripio app to find the trail, which takes around 41 minutes to complete and is not heavily trafficked, especially in the fall. Time it right, and you might catch the sun setting over the river and lighting up the sky with color.
This impressive hike to the Lower Palisades Lake is truly a slice of heaven for the outdoors lover. Certainly a bucket list-worthy experience. In the summertime, wildflowers guide your journey on the well-marked path. Next to winding rivers where you can do some fishing along the way if you have your rod with you. If you make this trek in the fall or winter, it will still serve breathtaking views unique to the season as well as plenty of wildlife. Surrounded by mountains and nestled within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the beautiful lake is a refreshing reward for completing the moderately-trafficked hike through the backcountry. Find the trailhead with the Tripio app to get to the lake effortlessly.
This collector’s museum of relics and antiques from decades past is truly a labor of love. The friendly and passionate owners, Jim and Nida, amassed their collection throughout their lives and they now feature over 130 different unique collections that they can tell you all about. Their collections include everything from toys, pop culture items, firearms, dolls, arrowheads, memorabilia, and so much more. It’s worth making a stop here as you travel if you relish a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Be sure to check out their unique gift shop before you head out.
In this underground silver mine tour, follow a retired miner as he recounts personal stories. Demonstrates the powered mining machinery, and explains the different methods of mining that were used here. The mining camp itself is over 130 years old, and you can learn more about it on a guided trolley tour of the area. Mine tours are about an hour long and the trolley tours leave every half hour and are 15 minutes long. This is a must-do activity to add to your custom itinerary if you’re keen on learning about Idaho’s mining history in a unique and interactive way.
If you’ve ever wanted to cross hot air ballooning off your bucket list, you can in Driggs, Idaho! Elevated Ballooning is one of the top 10 best things to do in Idaho in terms of adventure. It offers sunrise balloon flights from May to September. The knowledgeable balloon operators who you coordinate your ride with are sticklers for safety and will always ensure the day you go out will be one where the weather is perfect. Once you book your flight, you’ll soon be floating through the clouds with incredible views of the Teton Mountains. At the end of your journey, you’ll get to eat a delicious brunch complete with a celebratory champagne toast. Talk about a vacation to remember!
Lion’s Head Creek Trail is located within Priest Lake State Park. It has beautifully lush forested areas to wander through. As far as hidden gems go, this is one of the top things to do in Idaho. While this hike is an easy 1.5-miler to get there, the 100-foot natural granite rockslides it leads to can be a bit more challenging. People of all ages love sliding down the slippery rock faces, and it’s common to use a trash bag (with foam inside for extra cushioning) underneath you to make your descent that much smoother.
This is a wonderfully secluded spot with amazing views that should be preserved as best we can. If you decide to picnic here during your vacation, please remember to pack out what trash you bring in. Add it to your custom top 10 in the Tripio app to start planning your trip!
Don’t let the unusual subject matter deter you from visiting. The Museum of Clean in Idaho is actually pretty interesting. The owner, Don Aslett, has accumulated many items and antiques of historical significance related to cleaning to add to his collection throughout his life. It serves as a visual representation reflecting his belief that cleanliness in all aspects of life is an important value to have. You’ll find lots of creative exhibits that show cleaning products throughout the years, the oldest vacuums, cleaning methods, and other interesting tidbits of information. Worth a stop if you’re looking to do something unique and out of the norm.
At the trail center, you can learn about the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail trek taken by 1850’s pioneers via the Living History tour. You’ll get the chance to take on the role of traveler as you hop in a covered wagon that simulates the bumpy trail adventure and details the life of a pioneer. Actors dressed in traditional attire will recount those pioneer stories in first-person. Tour the museum that displays historic items related to their lives, such as musical instruments, firearms, a quilt display, and much more. This is a gem of an experience worth adding to your Tripio itinerary that takes interactive learning to a whole new level!
Idaho sparked your interest? Check out: The Best Idaho Summer Adventure Bucket List
or maybe fancy venturing into The Ozarks: Top 10 Things To Do In The Ozarks
or having a wild weekend in Las Vegas: Your Guide To A Wild Weekend In Las Vegas
-Rachael Grow, Tripio Guru
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