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Soaring over the Snake River Birds of Prey NCA Survey pin Teepees at Idaho's Sacajawea Interpretive Center in Salmon Riding Idaho's rangelands Kayaking on Idaho's scenic rivers
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Western and Central Idaho Byways

City of Rocks - Forming a 49-mile necklace around the Albion Mountain Range, the City of Rocks Back Country Byway traces a rural landscape steeped in history and geological significance. Beginning in Albion on Idaho 77, the byway traverses the outskirts of the Pomerelle Ski Area and Lake Cleveland Recreation Area as it heads south. At the base of the byway’s necklace lies its jewel, the City of Rocks National Reserve, where more than 700 challenging climbs rival Yosemite National Park and make it a favorite spot among technical rock climbers worldwide... 

Hells Canyon - This scenic 22-mile road meanders along the east side of the huge rift that separates Idaho from neighboring Oregon. If you aren’t boating this popular tourist destination, driving this byway is the next best way to experience the sheer walls of these scenic, towering canyons...

Owyhee Uplands - Download the Guide | Map - Take a day drive along this 100-mile scenic byway through hay meadows, rolling hills, mountains and gnarled stands of juniper woodlands. Numerous mountain ranges frame the picturesque desert, with Idaho’s Owyhees rising to the north. From expanses of sagebrush and wildflowers, to rough, rock-walled rivers and streams, the Owyhee Uplands represent what many people believe the real West is all about... 

Payette River - Idaho’s famous whitewater is showcased along the 112-mile Payette River National Scenic Byway. As you meander along this byway within the Boise and Payette National Forest areas, you will hit a couple of Idaho’s most premier resort towns including Cascade and McCall...

Ponderosa Pine - This 131-mile scenic byway begins in Boise and heads north towards the historic mining town of Idaho City, curving through breathtaking views of the unspoiled Sawtooth Wilderness and the Salmon-Challis National Forest. As you continue, passing through Banner Summit, one of Idaho’s highest summits peaking at 7,056 feet, you end up in gorgeous Stanley, Idaho with a spectacular view of the Sawtooth Mountains... 

Salmon River - This 160-mile excursion will take you from the Lost Trail pass (elevation 6,995 feet), along the picturesque Salmon "River of No Return" River and through the Salmon-Challis National Forest.  Keep a close eye out for deer, elk and moose that graze these hills.  As you near the end of your journey, you will also want to watch for spectacular views of the Sawtooth Mountains...

Sawtooth - The Sawtooth Scenic Byway has the distinction of being the 100th National Forest Scenic Byway. Beginning in Shoshone, the southern leg of the byway features the new Black Magic Canyon geological attraction. The route then rolls north through fertile agricultural land to the resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. From there, the road carves its way through the Boulder Mountains to Galena Pass, showcasing the ridge of the Sawtooth Mountains...

Thousand Springs - From the Snake River Plain Aquifer, an abundance of natural springs gush from the steep canyon walls and cascade into the river below. In fact, the aquifer creeps through an area of several thousand square miles under southern Idaho’s porous volcanic rock before emerging from the springs in the cliffs of the Snake River Canyon. This pure, clean, oxygenated water maintains a constant temperature of 58 degrees F., ideal conditions for trout. The hatcheries located along the 30-mile stretch of the Snake River in the Hagerman Valley raise about 70 percent of the trout produced in the United States... 

Western Heritage - Step back into history while traveling this 30-mile route from Meridian, Idaho (Highway 69), passing through the National Conservation Area (NCA) Birds of Prey and ending at Swan Falls Dam. Plenty of photo opportunities are available in this area of solitude and beautiful vistas. Visitors who travel this route pass through the historic farming community of Kuna, which was once an Indian crossing and then a short-line railroad...

Wildlife Canyon - If you are interested in checking out a destination known for sensational year-round wildlife viewing of elk, mule deer, eagles, ospreys, cougars, bears and wolves, be sure to check out this 33-mile byway. This route travels along the Banks-Lowman Road and may be accessed through either of the cities and ends up back in Boise. The byway winds through impressive canyons and easily connects to the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and the Payette River Scenic Byway. For the outdoor enthusiast, plenty of recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, camping, and natural hot spring bathing abound along the way...

Scenic drive through the Birds of Prey NCA: The 56-mile Swan Falls loop begins at the Kuna Visitor Center (see Access Map), which is about 16 miles from Boise or Nampa, Idaho. and provides opportunities to view wildlife and scenic vistas, and to visit cultural sites in the NCA. Allow 3 to 4 hours to complete the route, depending on the length of stops.  

Oregon National Historic Trail | Printable Driving Tour Booklet - In the mid-1800s, thousands of pioneers followed the Oregon Trail 2,000 miles from Missouri to Oregon in search of a better life. This 135-mile section of the Oregon National Historic Trail presents wonderful recreational opportunities. Jump in your car to experience this area’s beautiful scenery or explore on foot to discover ample opportunities for camping, hiking, horseback riding, OHV riding and scenic/wildlife viewing.   

Watchable Wildlife - The scenic Owyhee Watchable Wildlife Loop is located in the Owyhee Field Office. While traveling along this route, visitors are likely to encounter mule deer and coyotes along Jordan Creek, as well as a variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians that rely on the riparian habitat to survive.


Snake River Canyon

Owyhee Uplands - Homestead


Rock Creek Canyon/Shoshone Basin - Rock Creek Canyon offers easy viewing of mule deer on their winter range, December-February. Paved road travels through a steep, rock-walled canyon along Rock Creek, where you might see mallards and teal.  The Magic Mountain area has several cross-country ski trails. Occasionally a porcupine, longtailed weasel, or Steller's or gray jay may be seen. On the way to the Shoshone Basin (May-October), look along Rock Creek for the yellow warbler, American goldfinch, brown-headed cowbird, belted kingfisher, and northern flicker. Near Electric Spring is a 25-acre marsh fenced to protect nesting waterfowl and wading birds. Look for the Forest Service interpretive signs and for geese and ducks on the nesting islands. Heading west from the marsh into the sagebrush flatlands of the Basin, pronghorn and sage- grouse are often visible. The forest has numerous campgrounds and hiking trails.

Directions: From Twin Falls, take US 30 for 9 miles east to Hansen. Turn south onto Rock Creek Road (there is a sign for the Magic Mountain Ski Area) for 10 miles to the mouth of Rock Creek Canyon. From May to October, continue on this road (which enters the Cassia Division of the Sawtooth National Forest) for 11 miles to the Magic Mountain Ski Area. Turn right onto Forest Road 500 for about 7.5 miles for marsh viewing. Continue west on Road 500. In 4 miles you will leave the National Forest, where the road turns to County Road G3. In another 12 miles you will be at the junction of US 93 near Hollister. Twin Falls is 25 miles north.

South Central Driving Tour - South Central Idaho is full of amazing historical, scenic, and cultural marvels. This driving tour is designed to take visitors to a region of Idaho known for its scenic abundance and to gain a little knowledge about Idaho’s history. This journey is a loop that begins and ends in Shoshone.